The Lancer Evo has been around since 1992, born as Mitsubishi’s new World Rally Championship challenger, the Lancer Evolution has evolved over a period of 23 years into one of Japan’s most famous sports cars. With Tommi Makinen behind the wheel, it captured four consecutive WRC driver’s titles between 1996 and 1999, and one constructor’s championship in 1998.
However it wasn’t until the eighth-gen Evo VIII was introduced in 2003 that this rally ready compact sedan was made available to customers in the U.S. But when the 10th-generation Lancer Evo X was unleashed in 2007, rumors soon started circulating that this one may be the last. Then in early 2011, a senior R&D engineer confirmed the X would indeed be the last Evo — the end of an era.
Now, four years down the track, Mitsubishi is finally launching the final Evo X – the Evolution X Final Edition will be built in a limited run of 1600 units. Each one has a numbered plaque to signify the end to this venerable contestant in the four-door sports car market.
When Mitsubishi built this car, it broke the mold. It had come as close to turbocharged 4WD enlightenment as the product planners and budgets had allowed. So to go out on a high note, its engineers decided simply to take the Evo X and give it more top-end performance and upgrade the suspension for a more compliant ride.
Compared to a standard Lancer the Evo has a big rear wing, flared arches to accommodate the wider wheels, lower-profile wheels, ventilation behind the front wheels, bonnet scoops and a few other details. Overall, it is certainly not a bad look, particularly in trademark Evo white.
The car is enhanced with “final edition” badging along with dark chrome Enkei alloy wheels, glossy black center bumper, dark chrome hood air outlet and front grille surround and black-painted aluminum roof. It comes in just four colors: pearl white, rally red, mercury gray and octane blue.
Another numbered “final edition” plaque sits on the central console, other interior upgrades include a black headliner, pillars, sun visors and assist handles. Red stitching accents make the seats, steering wheel, shift knob, console lid, floor mats and e-brake handle pop.
Ideally, the Lancer Evolution was made for places you can let this wild beast run free like the race track, sweeping wooded roads and remote mountain byways. The heart of the “final edition” is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that gets 303 hp (at 6,500 rpm) and 305 lb. ft. torque (at 4,000 rpm). Of course, being an EVO, the “final edition” model is spec-ed out for the tightest suspension anywhere via Mitsu’s “super all-wheel control system,” which includes Brembo front brake rotors, Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs.
Everyone at our test drive left the Final Edition with a large grin on their faces. The Evo X was always enjoyable to drive but the Final Edition steps up a notch. The subtle but effective updates see the Final Edition take it to the next level, thanks to more top-end grunt, more chassis compliance and better interior quality.
Compared to any other sporty compact the Mitsubishi Lancer brings an unmatched thrill to everyday driving. She will surely be missed for those who want to race and not just drive.
Lastly we wanted to add that Mitsubishi announced that the very first Lancer Evolution X Final Edition – 0001 of 1,600 produced for the U.S. market – was auctioned on eBay for $46,200. All proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Pacific South Coast Chapter. Good work Mitsubishi!