It’s been roughly four years since it made its international debut, but the Evo X (Evo Ten, if you don’t understand Roman numerals) has finally landed on our shores. Mercedes-Benz, the previous custodian of the Mitsubishi in South Africa, couldn’t make a good business case to bring the performance saloon here, but the Imperial Group has kept its promise to expand the number Tri-Star badged models on the local market.
Performance saloon fans can get their hands on the latest generation Lancer Evolution… soon. According to Mitsubishi the first order of 20 cars has already been sold out, which is not a bad feat considering the newcomer’s eye-watering pricetag of R699 900. Yep, at close to R700k the Evo X is R110 000 more expensive than its old foe, the Subaru WRX STi.
Based on the standard Lancer saloon the Evo model boasts plenty of styling addenda to set it apart from its cooking-variety siblings. There is Mitsubishi’s familiar drop down nose section, which, if you look closely, hides an air-to-air intercooler. The xenon headlamps, which are active, are model-specific. Several air vents, of which the largest feeds fresh cool air to the turbocharger, adorn the bonnet. Along the flanks are 18-inch lightweight BBS alloys wrapped in low profile 245 section rubber and at the rear there is the de rigueur tea-tray boot spoiler.
The interior sports body hugging Recaro race seats trimmed in leather, along with a hide-covered steering wheel. When purists look down they will most likely be disappointed to see the automatic shifter… Yes, the Evo X is available locally only in two-pedal variety; but more on that in a moment. There is enough space in the cabin for four average-sized adults and plentiful luggage capacity as well. Music lovers will appreciate the 650 Watt Rockford Fosgate audio system in particular.
Under that vented bonnet lies an all-new 2,0-litre force-fed motor that produces maximum power of 217 kW and peak torque of 366 N.m at 3 500 r/min with the help of dual variable valve timing. The new powerplant, dubbed 4B11, uses all aluminium construction to reduce mass. The exhaust ports have been moved to the rear of the engine head and the exhaust manifold exits along the firewall instead of underneath the motor. As a result, the powerplant could be installed 10 mm lower in the engine bay for a lower overall centre of gravity.
Power is delivered to all corners via a multitude of differentials front centre and rear, all controlled by a virtual dictionary of acronyms to keep the car pointed in the right direction: S-AWC, AYC, ASC and Sports ABS with EBD. For complete explanations of how these systems work see the attached press release.
As I mentioned earlier, the transmission is of the automatic variety – in this case a twin-clutch set-up referred to as TC-SST (twin-clutch super sports transmission). The unit is smooth operating and does allow driver selected shifts via the magnesium paddles on the steering column. If you are keen on the odd traffic light dice there is even a launch control function (click the video tab above to see it in action). At the launch event spokespersons for the brand commented that Mitsubishi will consider bringing in manual gearbox cars under special consideration.
Mitsubishi SA claims that the Evo X with TC-SST will dispatch the zero-to-100 km/h dash in 5,6 seconds. Flat out it will reportedly top 242 km/h.
At the local launch event we were exposed to the car in extreme driving conditions. Mitsubishi SA arranged Zwartkops Air Force Base for the media corps to cut loose. Over the course of three tarmac “rally stages”, replete with experienced navigators to help us stay on course (but we got lost anyway), we could experience the Evo X at full tilt. The event was great fun and we got to experience the electronic systems working their magic to keep the drivers pointing in the right direction, at least most of the time.
The most impressive aspect of the Evo was the stopping power provided by the 350 mm Brembo discs at each corner. The dusty airfield didn’t provide ideal levels of grip so any commentary in that regard is not going to be relevant to real road conditions.
It was also difficult to ascertain what was going on underneath the car in terms of the comfort levels through the suspension, so I guess we’ll just have to wait for a road test unit before commenting on the finer details of the Evo X’s on-road behaviour.
Model: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X
Engine: 2,0-litre turbocharged, inline four
Power: 217 kW at 6 5000 r/min
Torque: 366 N.m at 3 500 r/min
0-100 km/h: 6,3 seconds
Fuel consumption: 10,4 L/100 km
CO2: 240 g/km
Top speed: 242 km/h
Price: R699 900
Service plan: 3 years
Service intervals: every 7 500 km