The Mitsubishi Evo, or Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, debuted in October, 1992, and is now on its tenth official model, the Mitsubishi Evo X, which arrived at dealers for the 2008 model year. Mitsubishi Evo production was put on hiatus for 2009 but the Evo returned to production in 2010, with a new luxurious MR Touring trim level joining the existing GSR and MR trims.
The high-performance Mitsubishi Evo sedan features a two-liter, turbo-charged engine with all-wheel drive, which is only fitting given that the Mitsubishi Evo was originally developed to compete in the World Rally Championship (WRC) racing series.
Here's a quick rundown of all eleven Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution models:
- Mitsubishi Evo I - Sold between 1992 and 1993, with a top speed of 228 km/hour
- Mitsubishi Evo II - Sold between December 1993 and 1995, with 252 horsepower
- Mitsubishi Evo III - Sold between August 1995 and 1996, with power increased to 270 base horsepower
- Mitsubishi Evo IV - Sold between August 1996 and 1997, with 276 horsepower in the GSR and the RS
- Mitsubishi Evo V - Sold between January 1998 and 1999, developed with new "World Rally Car" class in mind
- Mitsubishi Evo VI - Sold between January 1999 and 2001, with the RS Sprint topping out at 330 horsepower
- Mitsubishi Evo VII - Sold between March 2001 and 2003, with "fuzzy logic" for 5-speed automatic gearbox
- Mitsubishi Evo VIII - Sold between January 2003 and 2005, the first Lancer Evolution to be sold in the U.S.
- Mitsubishi Evo IX - Sold between March 2005 and 2007, with power output increased to 286 base hp
- Mitsubishi Evo X - Sold since Oct. 2007, featuring new sequential semi-automatic 6-speed SST transmission
- Mitsubishi Evo XI - A diesel hybrid vehicle expected to be released in 2013 and built on the same platform as Mitsubishi's PX-MiEV hybrid concept
The Mitsubishi Evo X is the high-end car in the Lancer lineup (which also includes the standard Mitsubishi Lancer and the Lancer Sportback) and competes in the sports sedan category with the likes of the Subaru WRX STI, Pontiac G8 GXP, BMW 335i, and Ford Taurus SHO — and to a lesser degree the Mitsubishi Eclipse.
The cult-like following for the Mitsubishi Evo has engendered an expansive market for Evo tuning products. Evo tuning provides endless options for customizing the Mitsubishi Evo, and sites and forums for aftermarket upgrades and accessories for the Mitsubishi Evo X and previous generation Mitsubishi Evo cars abound on the internet as well as in print magazines.
The upcoming Mitsubishi Evo XI will make its debut in 2013 but was nearly scrapped as tightening emissions regulations left the Evo's continued existence on shaky ground. Mitsubishi's Evo XI R&D team has been working on developing a diesel hybrid Evo that will combine clean-diesel technology and an electric motor to help keep the Mitsubishi Evo XI's CO2 emissions below 200 grams per kilometer while not tarnishing the Evo's high performance reputation (to the tune of a sub-five second 60 miles per hour time).
The big question though is whether loyal fans of the Mitsubishi Evo will be on board with the manufacturer's choice of blending the Evo's iconic performance with a new green footprint.
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