Andrew Richmond, Director of Oxley Insurance Brokers was lucky enough to test drive the Mitsubishi Evolution X thanks to our friends at John Oxley Motors of Port Macquarie. A quick trip to North Brother Mountain gave Andrew just a sample of what the Evo is capable of.
For those of you who are motoring enthusiasts, this car needs very little introduction at all. The word Evolution is to Mitsubishi what Godzilla is to Nissan, what STI means to Subaru and what the ‘M’ stands for in the high performance range of 3, 5 and 6 series BMWs. You already have high expectations from Mitsubishi with each new ‘Evo’ they release.
For everyone else, you may be fooled into thinking that this car is a P platers ongoing masterpiece, with the aggressive front splitter, bonnet scoops, side skirts and that larger than life rear wing. Get up close and you’ll quickly discover that this is actually the real deal, what the imitations attempt to mirror.
You simply can’t imitate the bulging front and rear guards to fit the wider track of the wheels, the way the body kit sits flush with the panels and the way the body of this car sits poised over the wheels.
Courtesy of father/son team, John and Shane McGuigan of John Oxley Motors, today we have the ‘Evolution’ model, as opposed to the higher spec ‘Evolution MR’ model that comes with additional fun bits such as 2 piece Brembo front brake discs, a set of Bilstein shock absorbers, Eibach springs and TC-SST with paddle shifters. There is also more bling bling, a lighter set of BBS aluminium wheels, leather interior + more speakers connecting to a ‘premium’ sound system.
> Inside the EVO
Within the interior of the Lancer I was impressed with what Mitsubishi have called their ‘Next Gen Interior’. As an occasional driver of the previous Evo Lancers I was often impressed with the brutal performance, but disappointed with what I’ll call the ‘Old Gen interior’, as the finish and quality of the interior’s plastics used in the dash board and door trim were below spec for a car of its value.
Straight away you notice the wrap around Recaro seats that the driver and front passenger are spoiled with. Their rear and side support are great, but I could imagine a slight ‘numb bum’ after a trip to Sydney. The thick leather steering wheel has more buttons and levers than a Formula 1 race car. Control everything from stereo, integrated phone and cruise control. A matching gearshift knob, shiny, sporty pedals under your feet and easy to read dials and function screen. Behind the wheel sits formula 1 style silver paddle shifters for when you really need to hang on and change gears quickly.
> On the road
This is like a street going version of Mitsubishi’s World Rally Car … or for you and me, as close as we’re ever going to get. If you are just driving around town, the Evo is comfortable to be shifted to drive and driven like any other car on the road.
But wait … there’s much, much more. Press the mode button to sport, shift the gear lever over to manual, warn your passengers, and this beast takes off like a scalded cat. The power is derived from a 2.0L MIVEC intercooled (with manual water spray) engine coupled with a 6 speed manual transmission pumping out 217kw @ 6,500rpm. As expected, it is extremely responsive, but perhaps a little calmer, more finely polished than its predecessors. Its engine sounds fantastic, as the turbo goes on boost with almost manufactured motor sport notes being delivered from the twin exhaust at the rear.
It’s all well and good to have a performance car, but can it get to the ground, and more importantly, how well will it stop?
Well, with Mitsubishi’s Super All Wheel Control System you won’t get out of shape too easily. The S-AWC system is made up of 4 independent systems working together and operated via the vehicle’s ECI to give you handling that defies belief. The Active Centre Differential works in three modes … tarmac, gravel and snow to enable quicker control and response for changes in road surfaces. The Active Stability Control automatically recognises understeer and oversteer and applies brakes to the appropriate wheels, and the Super Active Yaw Control distributes torque between the rear wheels.
Testing the Evo going down North Brother Mountain (where good brakes are essential), I found that the vehicle pulled up firmly and in a straight line. Fitted with Brembo brakes, the front sports 350 mm ventilated discs with
330 mm (discs) at the rear, heat is dispersed quickly to reduce braking fade.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend Evo X to my mother in law or your tuck shop mum with the 3 kids. This is a four door (tight) 5 seater sports machine for those of you who like their motoring and can be enjoyed for every day use on the road … which for your comfort is very important. With a price tag (as driven) of approximately $72,000, for most it definitely isn’t a weekender, so you could buy the latest Evo on offer with confidence that it has ‘evolved’ and is a more rounded vehicle today, without losing what makes it a legend.
Keep it safe on our roads … Andrew Richmond