AUTOLUST | 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition
No car — no matter how worshiped by automotive enthusiasts — can remain in production forever in the constantly evolving world of the automakers. Throughout 2015, gearheads around the world will be saying farewell to one such beloved retiree.
The 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition will mark the end for one of history’s great driver’s cars and a performance machine treasured amongst custom tuners and any driver looking to show some stylish with their on-road aggression.
As the marketplace changes, car builders (especially the smaller players with more limited resources like Mitsubishi) must evaluate what consumers want and what’s most likely to sell. In this sad and often bloodless age of miserable hybrids and self-ennobling obsessions with fuel economy over driving pleasure, there’s less room for machines intended solely for excellent performance.
Known to car lovers only as the Evo throughout its history, the Lander Evolution was always a prime Japanese performance car in each of its 10 incarnations. Tagged by some experts as the first, true four-door sports car, the Evo will receive a sendoff by Mitsubishi with a limited-production final model. The company will build only 1,600 numbered Final Edition models.
As it should be, the Final Edition will be the most powerful and technologically advanced Evo ever built. The power plant is a 303 horsepower, turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter MIVEC DOHC 16-valve inline 4 cylinder engine.
The engine is based on the design that drove Finnish racing legend Tommi Mäkinen to four straight titles in the World Rally Championship (WRC). That circuit is where the Evo rose to legendary status, and this final version honors that history.
The engine is forged from a reinforced cast-aluminum block and an aluminum cylinder head and fitted with the latest Mitsubishi Motors MIVEC variable valve-timing system.
The engine naturally sounds out the Lancer Evolution’s signature, sharp, staccato exhaust note through free-flowing dual exhaust outlets. Unless many modern performance cars, that dual exhaust is in legitimate use and not mere props to add flare to the car.
The stainless steel exhaust manifold and turbocharger sit at the rear of the transversely mounted engine and close to the firewall, improving weight distribution.
As a proper driver’s car, Lancer Evolution Final Edition turns its back on automatic gear box for the feeble and comes standard with a short-throw, five-speed manual transmission.
Add all that together and the official fuel economy numbers (according to Mitsubishi) add up to 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.
In keeping the Evo’s identity as a supremely tight and responsive machine, the Final Edition uses the new Mitsubishi Super All-Wheel Control and High-Tech All-Wheel-Drive. To stop that drivetrain, the Evo adds lightweight, two-piece Brembo brake rotors in front, with Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs at its four corners.
The Evo’s Super All-Wheel Control system offers handling setting choices including Tarmac, Gravel and Snow. The latter setting providing maximum tractability and performance in poor weather/road conditions and/or on low-grip surfaces.
The S-AWC system found in Mitsubishi Motors’ four-door sports car includes numerous high-tech components/systems to deliver such a remarkable level of traction and agility: Active Yaw Control (AYC), Active Center Differential (ACD), Active Stability Control (ASC) and Sport Anti-lock Braking (ABS).
To commemorate this Final Edition, there are several visual flares marking this car as the last of its kind. Every new Evo offers a Final Edition Badge Black painted aluminum roof, gloss black center bumper and hood air outlet, dark chrome painted Enkei alloy wheels, dark chrome front grille surround and (deep breath) auto on/off bi-xenon High Intensity Discharge headlights with leveling control
Inside, the driver sees black pillars, sun visors, assist handles and headliner. A gloss black center console box unveils the production serial number plaque (marked US0001 to US1600). There’s red stitch accents on the sports seats, steering wheel, shift knob, console lid, floor mats and e-brake handle. And, there’s a special Final Edition animation on the meter displays.
The end of the Evo is especially sad to car lovers because the car always had an attitude. The other cars that could move the way a Lancer Evolution motored were often sophisticated and inched more toward the luxury end of the spectrum. The Evo was always a little punky and defiant. The world needs a little more punky defiance these days to stop it from falling into a black hole of safe space boredom.
You can get an up close look at the Lancer Evolution Final Edition in the “in memoriam” gallery below.