The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution doesn’t have such a name just because it sounds cool. In reality, the name tells the perfect story of how the iconic vehicle came to be. The Lancer Evo showed up after that Mitsubishis The rally team was forced to downsize their competition car due to new regulations and they did so by fitting the components of their Class A Galant rally car into the Lancer’s smaller chassis. This resulted in a literal evolved version of the original Lancer, hence the new name Lancer Evolution.
The Class A rules also meant that Mitsubishi had to produce 2,500 street car versions of the Lancer Evo to sell to the public, and that’s how it all started. The Evo would live through a 24-year production run on its way to becoming one of the most iconic JDMs of all time.
After 10 generations and iconic appearances in films such as Fast and Furious, the Lancer Evolution finally ended production in 2016, but the older models are still highly sought after and make for tremendous fun and rewarding projects. That’s why the Evo is the best Mitsubishi sports car of all time.
The Lancer Evo has a great engine
The engine Mitsubishi chose to power the Evo from the outset was a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four producing 244 hp, known as the 4G63T, and it would continue to live in all but the final generation of the Lancer Evolution. The legendary engine features a dual overhead cam setup and produces plenty of thrust, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The most alluring aspect of the 4G63T engine is how inviting it is for mods and tuning, which can easily be seen as it puts out close to 1000hp. The engine has undergone numerous revisions and improvements over the years, but the fundamentals have remained the same throughout, and each release is more than worthy.
Mitsubishi tuned the chassis of the Evo perfectly
Aside from a fantastic powertrain, each iteration of the Lancer Evolution also featured immense chassis capabilities, starting with racing chassis and standard four-wheel drive on all generations. Just as the engine received improvements over the years, the Evo’s chassis received exactly the same treatment. For the 4th generation or Lancer Evo IV, Mitsubishi added Active YAW Control (AYC) to the vehicle’s transmission, which allowed the ECU to determine how much power should be sent to each individual wheel depending on the circumstances. Not only did this upgrade make the road Evo better, it also helped Mitsubishi’s rally team win back-to-back titles. Later, the Lancer Evolution VII received a further upgraded transmission with an active center differential coupled to the AYC, meaning it could send power exclusively to the rear wheels when needed to aid in drifting.
The Mitsubishi Racing Lancer Evo FQ variants are crazy
Alongside the release of the Lancer Evolution VIII, Mitsubishi introduced several special editions that offered enhanced capabilities, and the iconic MR FQ variants were the most important among them. They had bigger turbos and revised internals, resulting in a great end product that rivaled some of the toughest supercars of the day and took the Evo name to a whole other level no one would have thought possible.
The craziest FQ variant came in the form of the Evo X MR FQ-440, made specifically for the UK market to celebrate Mitsubishi’s 4 decades of UK operations. The FQ 440 produced 440 horsepower and 412 pound-feet of torque thanks to an ECU remapping, upgraded fuel injectors, and improved intercooling. Only 40 FQ-440s were ever made.
In summary, the Lancer Evolution is not only Mitsubishi’s most iconic car of all time, it’s also one of the most coveted JDMs ever. It’s the definition of a driver’s car, and regardless of model year or generation, or even if you’re reading this, the Evo will no doubt continue to bring joy to the lucky few who have the chance to own one.