Despite Mitsubishi’s difficulties from the very beginning in making much if any headway financially in the U.S., the Tri-Diamond has held fast with their committment to make a go of it in America. Likewise, Mitsubishi’s approach for the last several years to their performance models is equally consistent and exemplified in the latest example in the Evo line; the Lancer Evolution MR.
Following delays to the advanced tuning of the MR, the Mitsu dynamo has been in showrooms since June and by almost universal accounts is an incredibe vehicle. One way you can gauge a car’s fun-factor is how much time a reviewer spends talking about cupholders and electronic gizmos inside. With the MR interior appointments are essentially irrelevant and a mere footnote to the way it handles and moves. In almost all ways aesthetic, the car varies only slightly, but distinctly, from the lower Lancer model. Outside the Evo has a big, dark trapezoidal grille, three hood scoops and a big wing and Evolution badge on the back.
Inside, the Evo gets leather and suede Recaro bucket seats that are DEFINITELY a must given the cars cornering abilities and differs from the Lancer’s back seats, which do not fold down because the battery and washer fluid have been moved to behind them to make room for the most significant difference in the two cars; the engine.
The 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged and inter-cooled engine produces 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque which in relation to the car’s displacement is phenomenal and is mated to a slick six-speed twin-clutch Sportronic shift transmission.
While 0-60 times are achieved in the 5.2 seconds range and the car can reach over 160 mph, the car’s real forte is in it’s handling and braking capabilities. According to testers, pulling in and out of slides is a piece of cake in the all-wheel-drive Evo, only requiring a steely resolve to continue pushing the gas and not jumping on the brakes; the car’s capacity to get itself pointed in the right direction will do the rest.
Not that practicality is a huge consideration for those interested in this car, but despite a limited trunk and fold-down rear seats, it can seat 4 in relative comfort making it not a completely frivolous vehicle. But assuming you will be driving it with a moderate amount of aggression it does suck down gas (17 mpg combined) and eat tires at an accelerated pace. And it is pricey, starting at $38,940 and approaching 50 grand with all the bells and whistles. However, I will note that in terms of performance the Evo MR delivers a better and more affordable overall driving experience than the similar offerings from BMW and Mercedes.