The eighth generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo road racer has been given a belated introduction to South Africa. Priced at R395 000, the limited-edition Evo competes directly with the Subaru Impreza WRX STi!

The eighth generation of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo road racer has been given a belated introduction to South Africa. Priced at R395 000, the limited-edition Evo competes directly with its fellow road monstrosity, the Subaru Impreza WRX STi. Let the games begin!

On oversees markets, purpose-built rally-inspired saloons and hatches such as the Impreza WRX and WRX STi, Ford Escort RS and Focus RS and Lancer Evo (abbreviation for Evolution) have sparked a cult following among rally fanatics, speed freaks and the Playstation generation. Fortunately for South African aficionados, the Scooby now has a playmate - the Lancer Evo VIII.

Launched in the Northern Cape this week, the Evo has permanent four-wheel drive and is powered by an improved version of Mitsubishi's 2-litre in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve d-o-h-c, twin scroll turbocharged and inter-cooled, ECI-MULTI 4G63 engine, which is said to develop 195 kW at 6 500 r/min and 355Nm at 3 500 r/min.

The manufacturer claims the Evo VIII will bolt from zero to 100km/h in 6,36s, dispatch a standing kilometre in 26,4s and reach a top speed of close to 250 km/h.

A three-nozzle intercooler jet system sprays water from a 12-litre reservoir on to the front of the intercooler to help cool the compressed air and provide more power under hard acceleration. The driver of an Evo can also operate the jet system manually.

Furthermore, the powerplant is mated with a close-ratio manual gearbox with triple-cone synchronisers on 1st and 2nd gears and a double-cone synchroniser on reverse gear. The Evo is equipped with a helical limited slip differential and active centre differential (ACD) - with tarmac, gravel and snow modes - which regulates slipping in a 50 / 50 torque split centre differential from free to lock-up, for improved traction performance and steering response through corners.

The Super Active Yaw Control (Super AYC), located between the rear wheels, uses a new planetary gear differential to double the amount of torque it can transfer between the rear wheels. AYC operates to increase or decrease body yaw, without detracting from front tyre traction, using a torque-transfer differential to create a differential in the right and left rear wheels.

According to Mitsubishi, Super AYC's ability to transfer more torque between the rear wheels further reduces understeer, while the larger yaw moments increases the Evolution VIII´s cornering limits. Factory skid pad testing of constant radius cornering performance under gentle acceleration has shown that Super AYC extends the VIII's cornering limit by 10 per cent.

Super AYC also acts as a limited slip differential by increasing inside wheel traction in high speed cornering situations, thereby preventing the wheel slip that can occur with AYC, due to its smaller torque transfer capacity.

Stopping power is provided by Brembo 320mm ventilated discs with four-piston aluminium callipers at the front and 300mm discs with 2-piston callipers at the rear. Sport ABS, which uses a steering wheel angle sensor to detect steering input, with EBD, is standard.

The car has a beefed-up all aluminium MacPherson strut front suspension and rear multi-link setup with stabilizer bar and rides on Enkei 6-spoke 17" alloy wheels and Bridgestone 235/45R17 tyres.

And what about those looks? The Evo VIII cannot ever be mistaken for its 1,6 GLX sibling. It has a split grille with a dihedral central element and a large chromed 3-dimensional three-diamond logo that extends into the bonnet. The rest of the body has been fine-tuned for aerodynamic efficiency and better cooling.

A huge recessed air intake for the intercooler, new front driving lights, an eleborate carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CFRP) rear spoiler and new rear light clusters are also distinctive features of the car's exterior styling. Inside, the cabin is equipped with body-hugging Recaro sports seats, a Momo steering wheel, fully automatic air conditioning and carbon-fibre look inserts.

A warranty of two years/100 000km is included in the sticker price.

Original article from Car