Mitsubishi Sports Cars from the Past – The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Mitsubishi Motors has claimed to place all of its focus onto electric vehicles (EVs) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) as a part of its plans to lead the new business strategy for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, Alliance 2030. Said to be a new C-D segment car from Mitsubishi Motors, there was once talk about bringing back the Lancer Evolution as a crossover, called the Mitsubishi e-Evolution concept. At one point, the revival of the Lancer EVO seemed possible with the release of the Mitsubishi Starion 4WD concept art that never saw production and the reestablishment of the Ralliart subsidiary of Mitsubishi Motors. Could a crossover really do the once legendary sports car any justice?
The first Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was released in 1992, built off of the original Lancer and tweaked by Ralliart. Even the first generation is a gem sought after by die-hard Mitsubishi rally fans, but this first model would give birth to ten generations in total, ending with the Lancer EVO X in 2016. Every model generation upgraded and built upon the other to make the Lancer stronger, faster, and now and then, a model would rise to the top. Between 1996 – 1999, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI won the World Rally Championship (WRC) every year. Driven by rally driver Tommi Maikinen, a Lancer Evolution VI Tommi Makinen Edition set a new auction record in Europe, sold for £100,100 – or a little less than $121,000.
What really shook things up was the EVO VIII. The eighth generation of the Lancer EVO is one many fans know as the model that changed the name forever. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine capable of generating over 400 horsepower, the VIII made great use of Mitsubishi Motors’ all-wheel control (AWC), another form of all-wheel drive (AWD) that put the EVO III on par with the Lamborghini Murciélago. This was demonstrated by Jeremy Clarkson of TopGear who raced the EVO III and gave a great look at its rally car potential. Able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 175 mph, the EVO III was responsive and provided the driver with optimal control of the vehicle. Pushing the model further was the EVO X.
Possibly one of the most underrated sports cars from Mitsubishi Motors is the Lancer Evolution X. Able to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, cover a quarter-mile in 14.7 seconds at 109 mph, and able to hit a top speed of 160 mph, the EVO X is popular among the rally racecar crowd. Tuner-friendly, many DIY racers can cut down a couple of seconds and add to the horsepower of the EVO X if done correctly and safely. A lot of the credit can be given to the final edition of the EVO X, able to generate 303 horsepower, with Mitsubishi Motors advanced AWD tech behind the wheels, the tenth generation could give the competition a run for their money. The EVO III may have shaken things up, but the Lancer EVO X is one of the best sports cars consumers can still find for under $40,000. Family car or race car, it’s a solid buy.
A Crossover Lancer?
When the Mitsubishi Eclipse returned as a crossover, the fans were quick to rebel. Even so, the model was quick to gain popularity and is going on to become the new face of the automaker with the upcoming Eclipse Cross PHEV. Could Mitsubishi Motors do the same for the Evolution nameplate with a high-performance electric crossover? It sounds impossible. Looking back at the Lancer Evolution, we’re not sure if the crossover formula could do it justice, but the auto industry was never expected to become lush with electric vehicles, and yet, here we are.
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