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The Legend of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Few names resonate with motoring and motorsport enthusiasts as profoundly as Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution series. While no longer in production, the model is sometimes for sale pre-owned.

Evolution I (First Generation)

It all began with the inaugural Evolution I, introduced in October 1992 until January 1994. This pioneering model laid the groundwork for what would become a legendary series. It boasted a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and an AWD drivetrain inherited from the Galant VR-4. The Evolution I, sold as GSR and RS models, introduced enthusiasts to Mitsubishi’s legendary performance car.

Evolution II (Second Generation)

Building on the success of Evolution I, the Evolution II was in production from January 1994 to February 1995. A major upgrade hit the road at the end of 1993 that brought improved handling characteristics thanks to minor adjustments to the wheelbase and lightening of some parts. There was also a power increase that saw the engine produce 256 PS (188kW), giving the Evolution even more poke.

Evolution III (Third Generation)

The Evolution III was uncovered by 1995 and marked a shift in styling that would underpin future models. It has a wilder appearance with large rear wing and bigger vents - both for aesthetic and cooling reasons. Engine enhancements led to a higher compression ratio and new turbocharger design, resulting in an impressive power output which finally eclipsed 200kW.

Evolution IV (Fourth Generation)

Not long after the Evo III the Evolution IV was introduced. This was a major update with completely new styling based on the latest Lancer at the time with more angular elements and also a change to the chassis. The engine and transaxle were roted for better weight balance and again, power increased, this time to 206kW. While there was an RS version, the GSR version introduced Mitsubishi’s famous Active Yaw Control, quickly becoming a sought-after model among enthusiasts.

Evolution V (Fifth Generation)

Continuing the tradition of upgrades, the Evolution V brought significant upgrades in both performance and aesthetics. The GSR version featured an upgraded interior, flared body kit, and a wider track. Maintaining a power output of 206kW, the Evolution V became a stalwart model in the Evolution’s lifecycle.

Evolution VI (Sixth Generation)

The Evolution VI came by 1999 and with it a larger intercooler. This allowed for better cooling performance of the engine which remained unchanged at an output of 206kW, giving it better durability for extended performance running, such as motorsport.

It was with the Evo VI that the Evolution VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition was launched, becoming one of the most famous Evolution editions ever to grace roads (and gravel). It had special features such as 17-inch white Enkei wheels, Momo steering wheel, and a titanium turbocharger which spooled up faster, reducing turbo lag.

Evolution VII (Seventh Generation)

Basing its design on the larger Lancer Cedia platform, the Evolution VII brought about a shift in dynamics. The introduction of an active center differential and a more effective limited-slip differential improved handling. The model was heavier than before, but torque increased to 383Nm while power remained at 206kW.

Evolution VIII (Eighth Generation)

With the Evolution VIII, Mitsubishi embraced versatility by introducing multiple trims, each catering to different preferences. Featuring 17-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, and Bilstein shocks, this generation marked a departure from convention. There were many special editions, although the Evolution again kept power at 206kW, although torque was increased to 400Nm. There were now also many aftermarket tuning houses offering upgrades that push power from the engine above 300kW and near 500Nm.

Evolution IX (Ninth Generation)

Introduced in March 2005, the Evolution IX boasted a 2.0-litre 4G63 Inline-four engine with MIVEC technology, and thus the Evolution IX offered a power increase to 214kW. There were different models for different markets, including the RS badge designed for rally and racing, and the MR retaining high-end features from the Evolution VIII MR. At this time, a wagon version of the Evolution IX

Evolution X (10th Generation)

The Evolution X, introduced in October 2007 and produced until May 2016, used the 4B11T turbocharged engine producing 217kW of power and 407Nm of torque. The Evolution X showcased advanced features such as S-AWC (Super All Wheel Control) for advanced torque distribution. The Concept-X and Prototype-X paved the way for the Evolution X, available in various versions, including Evolution MR and GSR.

Confirmation of the End

In 2014, rumours began suggesting the production of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution would conclude after the 2015 model year.

Mitsubishi then issued a press release stating "Mitsubishi Motors does not have any plans to design a successor with the current concept, as a high-performance four-wheel-drive gasoline-powered sedan. Mitsubishi Motors will explore the possibilities of high-performance models that incorporate electric vehicle technology.”