The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution’s nicknames began with Lancer Evo, became LanEvo and finished up as plain Evo. This contraction to a memorable three-letter sobriquet is a tribute to the formidable reputation this legendary car has acquired since its launch in 1992. In that time the Evo has lived up to its name and evolved through ten generations, each marked by a sequential Roman numeral.
The Evo I set the tone. This unremarkable four-door saloon was a devil in disguise, created to compete in the World Rally Championship. It had a 2 litre turbocharged engine and an all-wheel drive system, sharing a body with the Mitsubishi Lancer to satisfy homologation rules. There was a road version and a stripped-down club racer. The similar Evo II ran from 1994 to 1995. These early cars were available in Japan only.
In 1995 Evo 111 saw styling changes, like a new front end that made the car look altogether more businesslike, and in 1996 the Lancer was completely restyled, taking the Evo IV with it. The RS competition car was devoid of frills, whilst the GSR was a seriously powerful road car —both notable for huge round fog lamps. In 1997 the Evo V was modified to reflect a change in World Rally Championship rules.
The Evo VI (1999-2001) saw restyling and an RS2 model added to the RS and GSR cars. There were also special editions like the RS Sprint and the Tommi Makinen edition that celebrated his four WRC Drivers’ Championships. The Evo VII was based on the Lancer Cedia platform, whilst the Evo VIII of 2003 was a supremely sophisticated performance car. By the time the Evo IX (2005) and X (2007) arrived, the rallying heritage was a distant memory leaving a legacy of awesome performance road cars that are infinitely rewarding to drive.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1,998 cc Straight Four Turbo
Evo V GSR — top speed of 147 mph (237 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.7 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Just as Rolls-Royce never gave brake horsepower figures for its cars, so Mitsubishi went coy about the Evo’s power output with the Evo IV’s debut— it wasn’t the done thing in Japan to advertise that any car put out more than 275 bhp, so Evos have comfortably exceeded the officially published bhp figures for years.