For all of you who haven't seen the movie "The Fast and The Furious", or any of its sequels, let me sum it up for you. These movies are hormone-soaked Hollywood depictions of the underground world of import street racing and the culture associated with it. Surely, at this point you are asking yourself why I'm sharing this with you. Well, out of this Tinsletown drivel sprang a top-of-mind awareness about a whole car culture of which many of us were not aware. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is among the cars depicted in this movie, as well as one of the top dogs in the import tuner world. While it has been in production overseas for quite some time, this rally inspired Japanese hotrod was first introduced this side of the pond in 2003. This year's model is the first Evo offered since the Lancer was redesigned last year.
Nobody has ever accused the Evo of being slow, perhaps harsh, boy racer-ish, and unrefined, but never slow. This year’s model sticks to the tried-and-true formula of a small displacement four-cylinder engine mated to a Costco-sized turbocharger. This combo will propel the little sedan to 60 mph in just under five seconds. That’s right Mustang and Camaro fans, if you aren’t careful, you could get an eyeful of import taillights at the drag strip. However, the 2008 Evo feels a hair slower than the last generation; courtesy of a few extra lbs. it’s carrying.
Let me share a formula with you. Combine one part AWD with one part Brembo brakes and one part kamikaze suspension and you get one heckuva fast corner-carver. While the Evolution will flat boogie anywhere you ask it to go, what’s far more impressive about the new generation is that it maintains its impressive track credentials but has learned to be far more tolerable on city streets. My last tester nearly rattled my fillings loose.
Call me old and out of touch, but the biggest improvement in this year’s new Evo is that its interior is far more livable than the outgoing generation. While the side-bolstering in the Recaro seats is the same and the steering is just as precise, it looks like it came from an auto manufacturer instead of tuner company assembly. I’m sure many 16-year-olds would call me a fuddy duddy. But you know what?! I’m of the opinion that a $36,000 car shouldn’t look like a hodgepodge out of a catalog. Good job Mitsubishi!
Boy racer is all grown up!