When Mitsubishi Motors said they were reinventing the EVO nameplate for an all-electric SUV, many fans of the old Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution weren’t very happy. After all, the Lancer EVO was a rally car, and the last Mitsubishi Lancer EVO was sold on eBay, September 2017. A little later, Mitsubishi Motors debuted the Mitsubishi e-Evolution at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2017. They called it a “high-performance” SUV, and had plans to also make it semi-autonomous with all new futuristic designs inside and out. Then, in early 2018, Mitsubishi announced the revival of the Mitsubishi Lancer as a crossover. Signs are pointing to this new Lancer becoming the e-Evolution concept to resurrect the nameplate. Again, fans aren’t happy, but let’s take a look at what the Lancer EVO was once capable of, and how its abilities can translate into a crossover today.
Here’s a video of Jeremy Clarkson from BBC’s TopGear showing off the Lancer EVO eighth-generation, and ultimately racing a Lamborghini Murciélago. The results were surprising.
The Lancer EVO-8 was a turbocharged, four-wheel drive rally car that could accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds. Although powered by a small, 2.0-liter engine, the engineers at Mitsubishi Motors could crank out over 400 horsepower from the small engine, and clocked in a top speed of 175 mph. If that sounds impressive, it’s nothing compared to the handling and driver control of the Lancer EVO-8.
Just look at that video. Clarkson is able to maneuver the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO-8 with a single finger. Even with the tight turns he’s taking on the track, the Mitsubishi EVO is able to re-align itself and keep its grip on the asphalt. That’s thanks to Mitsubishi Motors electronic all-wheel drive and traction control system. Today, their all-wheel drive system is known as “All-Wheel Control” and “Super All-Wheel Control” for the advanced version. One can bet such a system will come standard on the upcoming Lancer crossover, like Mitsubishi did for the Eclipse Cross lineup (optional on base ES 1.5T trim).
It’s easy to forget Mitsubishi was once a large rally car automaker. Mitsubishi Motors has been in the automarket for 100 years, and their Galant Vr-4 made a name for itself when it won the WRC1000 and RAC Rallies in 1989. Today, people still love the Lancer EVO and are constantly modifying the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X to race at the track. Speaking of which, if curious about how the race against the Lamborghini Murciélago went, here’s the setup.
Jeremy Clarkson is driving in the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO-8. British Touring Car Champion James Kay is driving the Lamborghini. Not only does the EVO-8 keep up with the supercar, but Kay is forced to spin-out trying to shake the EVO-8 off its tail. Now that’s one for the scrapbook.
If the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO-8 was able to match a Lamborghini Murciélago in speed, and can offer all the flavor of a rally car, then who’s to say this “high-performance crossover” can’t do the same? It’s a new day in the auto market, and automakers surprise us every now and then. Plus, with the Renault-Nissan Alliance giving Mitsubishi Motors some support, there’s an even greater chance that Mitsubishi Motors can make new use of its old roots.
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