Thu, 02 Oct 2003

Lancer Evolution VIII maintains its sporty character

Primastuti Handayani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

When Mitsubishi announced last December that it would take a sabbatical year, in a bid to become a stronger contender for next year's World Rally Championships, people already started to speculate over the specifications the Japanese carmaker would create for next season's Lancer.

With Frenchman Gilles Panizzi signing a contract to race under the flag of Mitsubishi, the team is confident to lead the 2004 championships.

During last month's Frankfurt Motor Show, Mitsubishi introduced its Lancer Evolution VIII, a perfection of previous models and established through 11 years of evolution.

The newest Lancer -- Mitsubishi's symbol in the world of rally -- maintains its image as a sporty, edgy and contemporary racing car.

The car was unveiled for the first time in the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2003 and it became the first Lancer Evolution ever sold in the United States. Surprisingly, the car was sold out in its debut. It was then launched in Japan on Jan. 31, 2003.

What distinguishes the Evo VIII from its predecessors is the new interpretation of Mitsubishi Motors visual identity, as designed by Olivier Boulay.

Using the same basic elements, the design team has created a sharp and mature face.

It also has better aerodynamics and a stronger body, not to mention its optimized suspension.

The car also offers an optional rear high spoiler, fully made of carbon fiber composites -- a world first for a four-door production sedan.

One cannot speak about the Lancer without focusing on its engine, as the car is famed for its high speed. The Lancer Evolution VIII is powered by an improved version of the two-liter in line, four cylinder, 16 valve, DOHC, twin scroll turbocharger and intercooled 4G63 engine.

The engine helps the car to result a maximum output of 265 horsepower at 6,000 revs per minute (rpm) and 355 Newtonmeter at 3,500 rpm.

Such big power allows the car to catapult from standstill to 100 kph in 6.1 seconds, with a maximum speed of 245 kph.

Since its introduction, Mitsubishi has equipped its Lancer with an All-Wheel Control system, comprising of the Active Center Differential (ACD), the Active Yaw Control (AYC) and Sports ABS (Anti-Brake system) for safety and efficiency.

The Sports ABS uses a steering wheel angle sensor to detect steering inputs. The computer uses this information to regulate braking force at each wheel independently and improve behavior under braking.

The system also incorporates Mitsubishi's EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution system).

Debuting with the Evolution VIII, the new Super AYC will bring further and significant improvements to performance.

It uses a planetary gear differential in place of the bevel gear type in the previous AYC, to double the amount of torque it can transfer between the rear wheels. This enables Super AYC to boost both cornering and traction performance.

With such superb specifications, of course the Mitsubishi team hopes to repeat its success in the World Rally Championships.