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MOTHER OF INVENTION

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Aug 6, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

EVO WAYS When the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution first came to town, the import tuner community gave it a reception reserved for Hollywood celebrities. In fact, the "EVO" was already well-known among car enthusiasts, having won the coveted World Rally Championship. Cup. Even pre-teen video junkies were familiar with the car, as it was and is a vehicle of choice in the popular arcade game "The Need For Speed." When LA Car first got a hold of the EVO in Generation VIII form, we got more "thumbs up" from drive-by teenagers than any car in recent memory. Certainly, it's not the prettiest-looking car around, but it does have a look that's unmistakable.

The 2006 Lancer Evolution is the latest in a series of high-performance compact sedans from Mitsubishi. It was originally introduced to satisfy FIA Group A rally specifications that called for a production model. Beginning in 1992, the company offered it only in the Japanese and European markets. A continuous stream of rave reviews from automotive media and Subaru's U.S. introduction of the World Rally Championship-inspired Integra WRX, however, pressured Mitsubishi Motors North America to introduce the Lancer Evolution to U.S. drivers in 2003. NO. 9 For 2006, Mitsubishi introduces the Lancer Evolution IX with more power, enhanced comfort and better performance. As before, the Evolution IX is available in stock trim, as well as in the bare-bones RS trim and the crème de la crème MR edition.

UNDER THE HOOD The 2006 Lancer Evolution features a standard two-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4 intercooled turbocharged engine, which is enhanced this year with variable valve technology (VVT). This technological advancement, combined with enhancements to the vehicle's turbocharger, produces higher torque and better response for improved engine performance across the Lancer Evolution IX's full rpm range. The improved powerplant reaches 286 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 289 foot-pounds of torque at 3,500 rpm. All three Evolution models feature a rally-tuned fully independent suspension; the MR utilizes Bilstein" monotube shock absorbers. Full-time all-wheel drive with an active center differential (ACD) provides improved steering response and better traction. Three ACD modes are provided - tarmac, gravel and snow - to enable quicker controlled response for changes in road conditions. The Lancer Evolution also features front- and rear-limited slip differentials, and four-wheel ventilated Brembro disc brakes to help control the beast.

EXTERIOR The Lancer Evolution IX features a number of exterior enhancements to further improve the aerodynamics and cooling performance of the vehicle. A new front fascia houses an oversize mesh grille and front center bumper air inlets to improve engine-cooling efficiency. In addition, all unnecessary openings on the undersurface of the bumper have been closed to reduce air resistance. The rear wing assembly features a carbon fiber hollow spoiler that lowers the center of gravity of the Lancer Evolution IX. The Lancer Evolution rides on all-new 17x8-inch ENKEI" lightweight cast aluminum alloy wheels, while the MR rolls on 17x8-inch BBS forged aluminum rims. All three models feature 235/45/17 Yokohama(TM) ADVAN(R) high-grip tires. The vehicle's aggressive appearance is further updated with new extended smoked front and rear lamp bezels.

MISTER EVO The MR takes everything available on the Lancer Evolution IX and adds one-piece forged aluminum BBS® wheels to save a little more rotational weight. A close-ratio six-speed gearbox keeps you in the fattest part of the powerband. The Vortex Generator fins funnel on the MR to the rear wing and then give the wing a wickerbill extension to increase the level of downforce it generates. Bilstein® shocks are used to push lateral-acceleration (g-force) numbers higher. Last, but not least, an aluminum roof reduces center of gravity for even better cornering performance. INTERIOR Complementing the performance and exterior enhancements, standard Recaro bucket seats feature Alcantara upholstery that keeps occupants comfortable even on long journeys, while generous side bolsters feature real leather accents and help hold passengers securely in place during spirited driving. The new seat configuration also makes it easier to slip in and out of the vehicle, while adding a touch of understated luxury.

The driver is strapped in front of a racing-inspired new dark titanium color, three-spoke, height-adjustable Momo" steering wheel. Aluminum accelerator, brake and clutch pedals on the IX and MR models provide additional cues to the Lancer Evolution IX's high-performance roots. Rich, carbon fiber-style instrument, center and shift panels further illustrate this is not your typical compact sedan - designed as much for rally-racing as everyday driving. The Lancer Evolution is equipped with a 140-watt Mitsubishi CD audio system with six speakers. Audiophiles will enjoy the 315-watt Premium Mitsubishi/Infinity(R) CD audio system featuring seven speakers, including a subwoofer, available as an option on the Evolution IX. - Roy Nakano

SIDEBAR COMMENTS As A Member Of The Targeted 20-Something Car Enthusiast Demographic I know that my peers are the ones responsible for driving insurance premiums for cars like the EVO into the stratosphere. The EVO is often more costly to insure than even a 911 Turbo, largely due to the rate at which their owners shunt them off cliffs, into guardrails and through living rooms. So with the warnings of the LA Car editor still ringing in my ears, I headed off to the twistiest roads I could find in The OC, with the intention of discovering what a ill-mannered beast this car is for myself. What did I find? This car is one of the safest, most predictable cars to hustle through the twisties that I have yet experienced. In 8/10ths driving, the EVO drifts through the sweepers with little body roll, but is ready to flick its tail out with a firm push on the throttle. Low speed turns give understeer, again easily corrected with your right foot in a very progressive manner. The steering is pin-point accurate and the brakes haul the EVO down from huge speed turn after turn with no fade. I was, however, unwilling to push the EVO any harder on public roads, a little hang-up my EVO-driving peers don't seem to have. - Rory Jurnecka

A 2 Fast 2 Furious EVO for a 2 Slow 2 Delirious Driver . I am a bit wild with excitement when I learn of the chance to realize a fantasy of driving a red hot movie car initially showcased several years ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show to promote Too Fast Too Furious. This evolutionary version of the Lancer has even more attitude in the sequel Tokyo Drift. I know the car is killer when it also gets a thumbs up from my friend's teenage son and daughter who don't pull any punches riding in the back seat. They aren't old enough to drive yet, but are car savvy from movie pop culture and the ultra enthusiast environs of the LA Car lair. The 'Evo' is like a thoroughbred born to run. It can't wait to get out on the track and perform with its manual 6-speed stick. I slowed my speed several times on the freeway not realizing how fast I was going. Making the turn was not a problem as the EVO tracked the corners with minimal speed loss and sway. The contoured racing seat hugs the body like the warm embrace of a significant other. The EVO is not the quietest ride or the best turning radius. The standard sound system needs an upgrade to match the car's look and feel. The back seat can accommodate three people, but is most comfortable with just two. But let's face it, the EVO is not the family car. The target demographic is the car enthusiast, youth, and driver in midlife crisis with a fantasy for hot cars and disposable income to afford the same. - Derrick Lim

SUMMARY JUDGMENT No need to change your EVO ways, Mitsubishi. For LA Car's complete review of the 2005 Mitsubishi Evolution MR, click here. For more information on Mitsubishi products, go to www.mitsubishicars.com.

SPECIFICATIONS Vehicle: 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution MR Base price: $35,189; As tested: $35,989 Engine type: 2.0 liters, DOHC 16-valve, four-in-line, with intercooled twin-scroll turbocharger and variable valve technology Horsepower: 286 bhp @ 6,500 rpm Torque: 289 pounds-feet at 3,500 rpm Transmission: 6-speed manual Drive configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway) Manual: 18 mpg / 24 mpg

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