- Supercar acceleration.
- Unbelievable grip.
- Mind-blowing price for the performance.
- Seats four of your friends.
- Tasteful factory body kit.
- Almost Toyota-like build quality--almost.
- Racing seats could get uncomfortable on long drives.
- US-spec models lose some horses compared to Japanese models.
- Sky-high insurance premiums.
- Certain to catch the eye of both cops and criminals.
Press Coverage :
The latest edition to the Lancer Evolution model line, designed to compete against far more expensive sports cars, easily lives up to its Mitsubishi motorsports pedigree. By combining brute power and graceful agility, the Lancer Evolution IX is sure to raise the adrenaline of driving enthusiasts at every turn.
Charged with taking the Lancer Evolution driving experience to the next level, Mitsubishi engineers complemented the vehicle's unmatched riding and handling characteristics - refined on the world's most demanding test tracks - with even more power and torque for 2006.
The 2006 Lancer Evolution is the 12th model in a series of Mitsubishi Motors' award-winning, Evolution high-performance compact sedans. It was originally introduced to satisfy FIA Group A rally specifications that called for a production model. Beginning in 1992, Mitsubishi Motors exclusively offered it in the Japanese and European markets, with no plans to bring it to the United States.
A continuous groundswell of rave reviews from automotive media and ardent performance addicts worldwide, however, pressured Mitsubishi Motors North America to introduce the Lancer Evolution to U.S. drivers in 2003.
Since then, the vehicle has lived up to the hype. Mirroring the success of the Mitsubishi rally racing program, the racing-inspired Lancer Evolution has received numerous industry accolades.
Not content to rest on its success, Mitsubishi Motors created the Lancer Evolution IX with more power, in-your-face styling, enhanced comfort and better performance to lure even the most discerning driving enthusiasts.
The Lancer Evolution IX is available in stock trim, as well as RS and MR editions. Owners can further customize their vehicles to meet individual tastes through a comprehensive range of factory- and dealer-installed options. Accessories also are available for those who want to customize their vehicle even more to resemble their rally racing brethren.
The 2006 Lancer Evo 9 features a standard two-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4 intercooled turbocharged engine, which is enhanced this year with variable valve technology (VVT). This Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) system utilizes a VVT sprocket to optimize valve timing relative to the engine condition. This technological advancement, combined with enhancements to the vehicle's turbocharger, produces higher torque and better response for improved engine performance across the Lancer Evolution IX's full rpm range. The improved powerplant reaches 286 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 289 foot-pounds of torque at a very low 3,500 rpm.
New gear ratios on the models' standard five-speed manual transmission take full advantage of the increased torque to improve the vehicle's already blistering acceleration. This transmission is derived from the Mitsubishi close-ratio competition gearbox but has a modified top gear ratio for improved high-speed cruising. The Lancer Evolution MR features a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission.
All three Evolution models feature a rally-tuned fully independent suspension; the MR utilizes Bilstein" monotube shock absorbers. Full-time all-wheel drive with an active center differential (ACD) provides improved steering response and better traction. Three ACD modes are provided - tarmac, gravel and snow - to enable quicker controlled response for changes in road conditions. The Lancer Evolution also features front- and rear-limited slip differentials, and four-wheel ventilated BREMBO(TM) disc brakes to help control the beast.
True to its racing heritage, the Lancer Evolution IX also features a number of exterior enhancements to further improve the aerodynamics and cooling performance of the vehicle. A new front fascia houses an oversize mesh grille and front center bumper air inlets to improve engine-cooling efficiency.
In addition, all unnecessary openings on the undersurface of the bumper have been closed to reduce air resistance. The rear wing assembly features a carbon fiber hollow spoiler that lowers the center of gravity of the Lancer Evolution IX.
A new air dam extension and rear-wing wicker bill also are available as dealer options. These advanced aerodynamic devices improve the high-speed handling and stability of the Lancer Evolution IX by increasing downforce, reducing front and rear wheel lift and enhancing the front-rear aerodynamic balance of the vehicle.
The Lancer Evolution rides on all-new 17x8-inch ENKEI" lightweight cast aluminum alloy wheels, while the MR rolls on 17x8-inch BBS forged aluminum rims. All three models feature 235/45/17 Yokohama(TM) ADVAN(R) high-grip tires. The vehicle's aggressive appearance is further updated with new extended smoked front and rear lamp bezels.
Complementing the performance and exterior enhancements, Mitsubishi Motors engineers also updated the Lancer Evolution IX interior to further assure drivers they are riding in a very special automobile.
Standard Recaro(TM) bucket seats feature Alcantara upholstery that keeps occupants comfortable even on long journeys, while generous side bolsters feature real leather accents and help hold passengers securely in place during spirited driving. The new seat configuration also makes it easier to slip in and out of the vehicle, while adding a touch of understated luxury.
The driver is strapped in front of a racing-inspired new dark titanium color, three-spoke, height-adjustable Momo" steering wheel. Aluminum accelerator, brake and clutch pedals on the IX and MR models provide additional cues to the Lancer Evolution IX's high-performance roots. Rich, carbon fiber-style instrument, center and shift panels further illustrate this is not your typical compact sedan - designed as much for rally-racing as everyday driving.
The Lancer Evolution is equipped with a 140-watt Mitsubishi CD audio system with six speakers. Audiophiles will enjoy the 315-watt Premium Mitsubishi/Infinity(R) CD audio system featuring seven speakers, including a subwoofer, available as an option on the Evolution IX.
The standard Lancer Evolution RS accessory package provides additional styling and performance accents, including a manual transmission shift knob and turbo boost gauge kit (boost, voltage and oil pressure gauges). An exclusive accessory package also is standard for the Lancer Evolution MR, including an aluminum shift knob, carbon fiber and aluminum brake grip, color-keyed vortex generator, wheel locks and turbo gauge kit.
As part of Mitsubishi Motors' "Best-Backed Car" program, all models are backed by a comprehensive new vehicle limited warranty that covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper for five-years/60,000 miles. In addition, the powertrain is covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile limited warranty, while body panels have a seven-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion/perforation limited warranty. The "Best-Backed Car" program also includes 24-hour emergency roadside assistance with free towing to the nearest authorized Mitsubishi Motors retailer for warranty-related repairs for five years/unlimited miles.
At about 2500 rpm the turbocharger comes to life, providing another quick burst before you have to grab the next gear. The test equipment verified our behind-the-wheel experience. The new IX outran the VIII to 60 mph, recording a run of 4.4 seconds. The IX might have posted a better time had it not been for the launch-control component (first seen in the Evo VIII MR) that limits revs to 5000 rpm at launch.
The handling setup of the Evo IX is basically the same as the VIII's. Our test car was an Evo IX MR, whose suspension consists of MacPherson struts with inverted Bilstein shock absorbers up front and a multilink setup in the rear (the base Evo IX won't get the Bilsteins).
On Mitsubishi's handling course, the Evo IX felt more like a club racer than a 4-door people hauler. It turned in with crispness, the steering exhibiting flawless precision and quickness. Body roll was minimal, and it understeered only through the tight stuff. There were times in left/right transitions when the rear end came a bit loose, but a touch of countersteer solved the problem.
U.S.-bound Evos won't get AYC (Active Yaw Control), which has been on Lancer Evolution models in Japan, but we do get ACD (Active Center Differential) that adjusts the torque split between the front and rear tires, depending on grip and driving style.
Road and Track
To make use of the engine's flatter torque curve, the five-speed in the RS and straight IX has been given tighter ratios. The six-speed in the MR is unchanged, as are the suspension, brakes and all-wheel-drive system on all three models.
Sadly, so is the 5,500-rpm rev limiter in first gear, which is active only if the car isn't moving. Mitsubishi says this is to protect the front pinion shaft in American market cars, which are 100 pounds heavier to meet U.S. crash standards and fitted with stickier tires than European or Japanese market Evos.
Although the engine and transmission mods may improve acceleration times, the real benefits are better around-town drivability and more yank accelerating out of slow second-gear corners. On the proving grounds road course, which included two hairpins, a 110-mph straightaway and a jump, the IX felt a bit quicker pulling out of the hairpins than the MR.
Only real Evoheads will notice this stuff, but the Momo steering wheel now has dark titanium spokes instead of silver, the seats are covered in suedelike Alcantara with leather side bolsters and the IX and MR, but not the RS, get aluminum pedals and a carbon-fiber-style instrument panel.
2004-2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
1,997 cc / 271-276 hp / 273-286 lb-ft / 3263-3285 lbs / 0-60 mph 4.5 sec.