April 01, 2005

●Lancer Evolution 9 GT

Spent last week driving the new Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. I decided to go for the GT model which does away with the AYC which I really did not like on the Evo 8 MR I drove last year. The GT uses a mechanical 1.5 way LSD at the rear which feels far more natural when pushing hard than the AYC fitted to the GSR cars. One other main advantage to the GT is the fast and precise 5 speed gearbox, which I prefer to the notchy 6 speeder of the GSR.
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I was expecting the car to feel different to the 8 MR mainly due to the adoption of Mitsubishi's variable valve timing (MIVEC) for the inlet cam, but out on the road its very hard to feel gains in torque (407 Nm for the GT) compared to older cars. One thing I did notice is that the delivery remains very flat until about 5500rpm and then trails off quite noticeably. Boost pickup is slightly improved thanks to the adoption of a new turbine design which features a titanium turbine wheel and a magnesium compressor wheel for better response. The MIVEC does also aid fuel consumption. Best I managed was 9.1km/L on motorway driving.
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But these cars are all about handling and this Evo 9 GT sure does tackle corners like there is no tomorrow. My test was blessed by continuos torrential rain but this was no biggie for the Evo which offered amazing levels of grip and traction out of corners. The rear LSD does wonders for mid corner adjustability as well as giving you the option to set up the car for corners far more precisely and naturally than AYC equipped cars.
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Second and third gear does allow you to play with a bit of oversteer in the wet, just keep your foot down and the car straightens its self out under power only requiring a few degrees of counter steer. The Yokohama tyres are simply superb! Why more manufacturers don't use such tyres for hardcore sports models is beyond me!
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Overall a great car especially if you factor in the price (¥3,318,000) but don't expect great quality of interior materials nor mechanical refinement. This particular car I drove suffered from a very annoying sticky throttle...the worst I have experienced. When lifting off the accelerator the engine would hang on to revs (in some cases even increase rpm momentarily). You then have to wait a second to engage the next gear until rpm drops to avoid a shut from the drivetrain. Its a known problem in the Evo world (effecting the 7, 8 & now 9) and some have put it down to injector lag. Whatever it is Mitsubishi should fix it!!!

Posted by dino at April 1, 2005 12:50 PM
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