- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 3, 2003

If you’re a race driver, or even simply a driving enthusiast and your desire is to go faster and compete harder, experiencing fulfillment behind the wheel, then the Lancer Evolution may ring your bell.

It’s a car that is certainly capable of life’s more mundane tasks such as shuttling youngsters, hauling groceries and commuting, but that’s not its real mission.

The entire family of highly developed, high-performance compact Lancer Evolution sedans’ single purpose for existence is to dominate competition as Group A and Group N rally cars.

In the performance field, it is a true thoroughbred designed to stir the soul.

Power for this rally-ready hot-rod sedan comes from an inline 2.0-liter, DOHC four-cylinder, turbocharged, intercooled engine that pumps out a generous and impressive 271 ponies and 273 foot-pounds of torque to all four wheels, all the time.

Gear changes are accomplished via a five-speed manual box. Zero-to-60 mph clicks off in a scant five seconds while sounding much like a giant wasp on testosterone.

Mitsubishi’s Lancer Evolution generates a positively racy image with its sloped nose, integrated front air dam of the three-scoop persuasion, functional inset hood scoop, side skirts, lowered rear fascia and optional carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic high rear-wing spoiler.

Other things that are special about the Lancer Evolution are:

• A MOMO three-spoke, leather-covered steering wheel.

• Genuine Recaro front bucket seats.

• Brembo brakes fore and aft.

• Six-spoke ENKEI lightweight aluminum alloy wheels shod with special Yokohama ADVAN AO46 17-inch high-performance tires.

Pricing for this limited production “rally ride starts” at $28,987 which can grow to $30,217 if you add the only two available options: the carbon-fiber spoiler ($480) and the power sunroof ($750).

The test Evolution was sprayed Rally Red outside and sported tones of Argent, titanium, gray and blue inside.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a compact five-passenger, four-door sedan that will warm the heart and broaden the smile of any dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast.

The shriek of the turbocharger and the serious “thrum” of the exhaust note are more than likely enough to quicken one’s pulse, but if that doesn’t do it, the rapid acceleration, nimble handling and short-throw gear changes should seal the deal.

The Lancer Evolution is more than simply an outstanding “bang-for-the-buck” vehicle; it has all the makings of a serious contender on the road, the rally circuit, or on the track.

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