2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2007
  • Next-generation model based on all-new Lancer platform

  • Seating for 5

  • Standard all-wheel drive (AWD)

  • 295-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

  • New 6-speed automated manual transmission

  • Prices starting in low $30,000s range

  • Driver-selectable traction modes return

  • Sales to start early 2008


Mitsubishi has offered this performance version of its Lancer compact 4-door sedan in Japan since the early 1990s. Born of World Rally Championship competition and called the Lancer Evolution (Evo for short), the car didn't make it to the United States until the 2003 model year. The first version of the Evo to come to the U.S. was known by enthusiasts as the Evo VIII, as it was in its eighth generation. Thanks to engine upgrades and styling updates, the car was known as the Evo IX for the 2006 model year.

Mitsubishi completely redesigned the Lancer sedan for the 2007 model year, dropping the Evo from the line. A new Evo, the tenth generation, will be offered on the new Lancer platform for the 2008 model year starting in early 2008.

At 177 inches long, the new Evo is 3.5 inches shorter than the last model. However, its 104.3-inch wheelbase is one inch longer and the car is 2.5 inches wider and almost 3.5 inches taller. On the outside, the Evo differs from standard Lancers with its functional hood scoop, engine heat outlets, unique boxed fenders, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

As in the past, AWD is standard, as is a 5-speed manual transmission. A new 6-speed twin-clutch sequential manual transmission is available. Mitsubishi says the engine is all new and makes 295 hp, up slightly from the previous model.

Model LineupThe 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is available in two models: base GSR and the higher performance MR. Standard features on the GSR include a 6-speaker, 140-watt AM/FM/CD stereo; automatic climate control; cruise control; fog lights; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; power locks and windows; Recaro bucket seats; remote keyless entry; rear spoiler; tilt steering column; and 18-inch Enkei wheels on P245/40R18 Yokohama Advan tires. A Sight, Sound and Spoiler package upgrades the GSR with high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, a larger rear spoiler, a 650-watt Rockford-Fosgate 650-watt sound system with 10-inch subwoofer, a 6-disc CD changer, and Sirius satellite radio with a 6-month subscription.

MR models add Mitsubishi's Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST) with steering wheel paddles, steering wheel audio controls, BBS forged alloy wheels, Bilstein shocks, Eibach springs, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone link, HID headlamps, and the larger rear wing. Available in an MR Technology package are the Rockford-Fosgate sound system, Sirius satellite radio, a 30-gigabyte hard-drive radio with a 7.5-inch touch screen and a navigation system, and Mitsubishi's Fast Key, which has a proximity sensor so owners can open the vehicle without touching the remote. The hard-drive radio holds music files and navigation system map information.


Mitsubishi says the base Lancer's Global C-platform unibody structure is stiffer than that of the last-generation Evo, and it is reinforced for use with the Evo. To save weight, the roof, hood, front fenders and both bumpers are made of aluminum. To improve weight distribution, Mitsubishi has located the battery and windshield washer fluid tank in the trunk area.

Mitsubishi's all-new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, known internally as 4B11, makes 295 hp at 6500 rpm and 300 lb.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm. It replaces the 2003-2006 Lancer Evolution's 271-286-hp 2.0-liter turbo engine. The new DOHC, 16-valve intercooled engine uses a cast aluminum block and has MIVEC variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust (the previous engine had only MIVEC for the intake). Mitsubishi says a revised turbocharger yields 20 percent quicker response at low engine speeds.

The engine sends its power through either a 5-speed manual transmission or Mitsubishi's new Twin Clutch Sportronic Shift Transmission (TC-SST), which can be shifted via steering wheel paddles or the gearshift. This 6-speed automated manual works like the Audi/Volkswagen S-tronic: One clutch holds the current gear while the other readies the next.

Also standard are a front limited-slip differential and AWD, which Mitsubishi calls the Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) dynamic handling system.

Like past Evos, the driver can choose from three traction modes: Tarmac, Gravel and Snow. The front suspension utilizes inverted struts and the rear is an independent multi-link unit. Mitsubishi limits unsprung weight with the use of forged aluminum suspension components.

The brake rotors are cross-drilled for ventilation all around. The fronts are 13.8 inches in diameter and the rears are 13.0 inches. The brake rotors on MR models are 2-piece assemblies for better heat dissipation.


The new Evo has considerably more safety features than the previous model. Standard are dual-stage front air bags with front passenger occupant sensors, head-protecting curtain side air bags that cover both seating rows, front seat-mounted torso-protecting side-impact air bags and a driver's knee air bag. A tire-pressure monitor, traction control, electronic stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution are standard.


Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control dynamic handling system regulates torque at each wheel by controlling the Active Center Differential (ACD), the rear differential's Active Yaw Control, the electronic stability control, and the ABS. In normal driving conditions, the system is biased toward front-wheel drive, but the ACD can send up to 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels.

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