History of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution-EVO Model Line


The Mitsubishi car company produced a line of vehicles called the Lancer. This model line became known as the Evolution line of vehicles and is a high performance four door sedan passenger vehicle. To date there are ten different generations of the EVO line. Although the Evolution line was predominantly made for use in only Japan markets, a large demand in the “grey import” market saw the vehicle being offered through dealer networks on the United Kingdom and other European markets in 1998. The entire Evolution line is powered by a two litre turbo charged engine and come equipped with four wheel drive.

The first generation of the Lancer Evolution was produced from 1992 through 1994 and was initially built to compete in the world rally championship. This version was sole in 2 different trim levels, the GSR and the RS, the RS was a stripped down racking version which omitted many of the luxuries of today’s vehicles in favour of reducing the overall weight of the car. Common things omitted were the power windows, power seats, anti lock brakes and the rear wiper. The Rs also came with steel wheels as standard as this helped bring the overall weight of the vehicle down to 70kg less than the GSR version. This first generation sold five thousand units between 1992 and 1993.

The second generation of the Evolution line, the EVO II was built in 1994 and 1995. Mitsubishi included many suspension and handling improvements in this model including adjustments to the wheelbase, bodywork tweaks, a bigger spoiler and larger anti sway bars to make the vehicle hold the road better. Still available in both trim levels and both still powered by the same four cylinders turbo charged engine.

The end of 1995 saw the production of the third generation of the Evolution model, the EVO III, this model ran until 1996. This version saw a new more aggressive body style, a new front nose which allowed improved air supply into the radiator, intercooler and brake vents. A revised body kit was created with a larger rear spoiler, side skirts and rear bumper mouldings all in order to reduce lift.

1996 saw the introduction of the fourth generation in the Evolution line, the EVO IV, this was produced until 1998. The EVO IV saw radical changes throughout. The engine and transaxle was rotated 180 degrees in order to balance weight better and eliminate torque steer. Still available in the two main trim levels of the GSR and RS, the RS was produced as a race competition vehicle equipped with a limited slip front differential and a friction type limited slip differential at the rear. The RS was also available with either 16 or 17 inch OZ light alloy racing wheels, wind up windows and extra strengthening braces to reinforce the chassis. Also of note, the RS had thinner glass and body panels to keep weight to a minimum. Both the GSR and RS still shared the same engine and the addition of a new twin scroll turbo charger which increased the engines power output to 276hp.

The fifth generation of the Evolution line was the EVO V, this was produced from 1998-1999. The EVO V saw many improvements including the upgrade to higher quality recaro front seats, flared arches on the body kit and a new aluminium rear spoiler which had an adjustable angle to alter rear down force to the road, new brembo brakes were fitted to enhance braking. The turbo charger was once again improved to increase torque and power throughout the power band.

The sixth generation of the Evolution line was the EVO VI, this version was produced from 1999-2001 and the alterations for this model were focused on cooling the engine and adding to the durability. A larger intercooler was added, a larger oil cooler was also used titanium aluminide wheels were available on the RS version which was a first for a production vehicle. Bodywork was tweaked yet again and two large fog lamps were fitted into the front bumper.

The seventh generation of the Evolution line was produced from 2001 through 2003. The EVO VII was based on a larger Lancer Cedia platform in order to conform to the WRC racing rules. This meant the car was heavier but Mitsubishi made various changes to the chassis to make up for it. The EVO VII was also the first time any of the EVO line was also offered with an automatic gearbox option.

The eighth generation of the Evolution line was the EVO VIII, this was produced from 2003-2005. Revisions for this model included new revised brembo brakes, 17 inch enkei wheels and bilstein shocks to help keep traction on the ground. The addition of a carbon fibre rear spoiler chrome housing tail lights and headlights refined the look of the vehicle.

The ninth generation of the Evolution line is the EVO IX, this was produced from 2005 through 2007.most of the vehicle remained the same as the previous generation adding in a closer gear ratio for the 5 speed gearbox, a redesigned front spoiler unit to increase air flow over the intercooler, and a once again revised turbo charger unit.

The tenth generation of the Evolution is the EVO X, this generation was produced from 2007 to present. The latest incarnation of the EVO line comes equipped with a Bluetooth hands free telephone system, a CD tuner with a 30 GB hard drive, DVD satellite navigation, central locking and automatic headlamps.

Overall with the Evolution line, Mitsubishi has accomplished its goal of offering a performance based vehicle at an affordable price range that is fun and responsive to drive and also comfortable for longer journeys.