Track Test Evo X with Uncut Video

Track Testing: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR

BlackTrax Test & Tune #6

Thunderhill Raceway Park

On paper, the Evo GSR straight out from the factory gets from 0 to 60mph in 4.9s, reaches quarter mile in 13.6s, pulls 0.95g in lateral acceleration, and stops in 160 feet from 70mph. These figures are generated on a set of OEM 245/40R18 Yokohama ADVAN A13C ultra high performance summer tires that were designed exclusively for Evo’s Super-All-Wheel Control (S-AWD), suspension and brake systems. Impressive numbers for a piece of track-worthy and daily commutable machinery.

Without a doubt our butt dyno agrees with its straight line performance coming from a 2.0L turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine that pumps out 291hp @ 6,500 RPM and 300 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM.

With a rather large Mitsubishi Heavy Industries turbocharger that peaks at 21 psi stock, expectedly, there is noticeable turbo-lag as it takes time for the 2,000 cubic centimeter motor to generate enough CFM to spool up the 56mm turbine. As the 68mm compressor wheel spins up, the engine seems to wake up above 3,000 rpm, and power tapers off above 6,000 rpm. Engine response do seem a bit sluggish. It takes a long time for the rev to climb. Feels like the something is in tow or the gear ratio is too long.

We always appreciate any roll-your-own gear boxes. The 5-spd here has that ’90s shifting in marble feel. The stiff mechanical actuation indicates the beefiness of the tranny casing. Considering 300 lb-ft, AWD, and anticipating aftermarket power upgrade, the stress seen by the tranny is no joke. The clutch pedal is heavy with a engagement point much higher than our liking. The go and stop pedals are too far apart to fully enjoy heel-and-toe downshifting.

However, performance envelop is not only in straight lines. From our neck muscle strain, the tester is quite a bit off from the published lateral acceleration. Our helmet just doesn’t feel as heavy as what 1g would feel like.

Further investigation indicates the OEM ADVAN A13C tires have been replaced by a set of Bridgestone Potenze RE970 ultra high performance all-season tires. A grade lower than the OEM set. These tires are worn as well. Both front tires exhibits featuring edge wear.

Seems like the A13C have larger and beefier outboard shoulder blocks to allow the tires to take on the beating of the MacPherson front suspension and front-wheel-drive power propulsion like behavior in the Evo. These tires aren’t doing the tester justice.

The GS platform underpinning the Evo is no lightweight to begin with. It was jointly developed by Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler. This platform is not only utilized by Lancer but Outlander and Jeep Patriot crossovers as well.

Evo’s 3,560 lbs curb weight even with the help of aluminum front fenders, hood, roof panel, and engine is no Elise. Its weight easily overwhelms the worn Bridgestones in the corners. Driving the Evo through the corners like a RWD car with a tiny bit of throttle to keep the car planted would cause the front end of Evo push wide follow by considerable amount of understeer. The Evo just feels front heavy.

We realized a rapid throttle liftoff and trail braking would help the Evo corner a tighter line. Coming from a short wheelbase RWD car, this rapid liftoff is a big no-no in our book, and sometimes the car may not end up facing the right direction. This rapid liftoff and trail braking technique is similar to driving a FWD car.

The beauty in Evo’s AWD system however as soon as the car reaches mid-corner with the steering wheel pointed at the direction you want to go. Full throttle can be applied. You can sense all four-tire grabs the ground at different rates. The car merely goes to where the front wheels are pointed plain and simple.

This famous point-and-go character is made possible by Evo’s S-AWC system working behind the scene keeping the car on the line. The S-AWC consists of Active Center Differential (ACD), and Active Yaw Control (AYC). ACD is involved in sending appropriate amount of torque between the front and rear wheels. Torque distribution ranges from 50:50 to up to 80 to either end. AYC in conjunction with the brake-based Active Stability Control (ASC) is in charge of sending power to individual rear wheels. A purely mechanical helical gear-type limited-slip differential is fitted in the front.

It feels unorthodox at first but once the confidence is up, we believe applying heavier trail braking to further rotate the rear end then exercise its torque and S-AWC to pull it out. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how out of whack the rear end is, the gas pedal straightens things up and makes the driver look like a hero at the end.

Base on this, it is true that an Evo can dive deeper into a corner, as long as the understeer is not part of the equation, and since power is sent to the wheels with good traction an Evo can come out of a corner with a much greater speed.

No doubt there are plenty of Evos participant in time attack trials.

On a personal note, Evos are great machines that offer plenty of performance with the AWD technologies to make it fool proof. Being fool proof could be limiting one’s ability to polish proper driving techniques. It is like riding a bicycle with the training wheels on all the time. Bicyclists need to get some road rash to learn why they got road rash.

Modifications are plentiful and significant gains can be achieved inexpensively. However, other than the S-AWC, what makes an Evo unique? I don’t really know. The engine note is just like any other GEMA (Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance) engine that are also powering Hyundai, and Chrysler commuters. The exhaust does not rumble as the sexy boxer engines in, Evo’s rivalry, Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

Bob Lutz once said, “Automotive preferences are determined at the deepest psychological levels – driven by fear, insecurity, or even political protest.” In short, there is no right or wrong in choosing a car that fits your needs. There are always mixed opinions.

We do appreciate the unique handling characteristics of the Evo X, and would love to continue tracking it to fully explore this baby Godzilla’s ultra high limit. End