I’ve finally had a chance to slide my fat behind into the driver’s seat of Mitsubishi’s much awaited Evo X. Unfortunately, time only allowed a very short blast through mid day Toronto traffic, but it was enough to make a bit of a comparison with the Subaru STi following a similar short trip in that monster machine.
Our ride today was a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR, with the 5 speed manual. The car is a pre production model that is destined for the mandatory crushing that PT units receive after they’ve been flogged repeatedly by anyone who has the opportunity. This particular car has seen media road tests, track days and heavy road use. The clutch is releasing fairly high in the travel due to many, many drivers launching it hard. Still, the drivetrain hooks up and leaves no question as to the potential of the beast.
The first thing you notice when getting behind the wheel is the track ready Recaro seats. The side and thigh bolsters are substantial and promise to hold one tightly in place during high speed cornering. They might be a little extreme for some drivers, as they are quite narrow and one must be careful not to injure one’s sack while lifting legs over the lower bolster. As a fat guy, I found the seats just right, but I’m sure someone somewhere will not find them comfy.
Once behind the wheel, firing up the 291 horsepower 2.0 liter 4 banger, one may not notice that this is a fire breathing monster. The Evo X is sadly quiet and cries out for a decent pipe. Hammer down though, the Evo X takes off like a scared cat, darting left and right scrambling for traction. With the techno stuff set to tarmac, it still seems like there is enough power at the front wheels to create torque steer. The Evo feels much more light footed and nimble than the more mature feeling STi, while the turbo feels like it spools up quicker. Where the Sti has the poise of a 1000 meter runner, the Evo feels like a 100 meter sprinter. Our drives in both cars were too short to get actual numbers, so my feelings are completely seat of the pants.
So, which rally bred monster would make the best daily driver? Well, like anything else it depends on the driver. The Subaru is easier to enter and exit and has a more aggressive exhaust note and has a more mature grand touring feel, while the Mitsubishi is less comfortable and has a boy racer feel to it. If one is planning to attack the track every weekend, the Evo feels like the more willing participant. With a nice aftermarket exhaust, it will even sound like it.