Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Lancer Evolution VII

All good things come to an end sooner or later. So has the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution series. This is not to say that the latest addition to the series, the Evolution VII, is a bad car but rather that it lost most part of its inherent nature. Previous models were mere excuses to get the FIA homologation in GroupA. Even so more than 150,000 Lancer Evolutions (I through to VI including the 6.5 Tommi Mäkinen edition) were sold from 1992 to 2001.
An amazing success given the awkwardness of these cars when used as everyday transport. Most examples were sold in the Asia Pacific region and very few made their way to other countries, most mainly in Europe while none was sold in North America (Emission Control Regulations again). Mitsubishi are now planning to produce more than 30000 examples of the Evolution VII!

The latest Mitsubishi representative in the World Rally Championship is now a WRC Class car rather than a GroupA Classone. The move from one class of competition car to the other frees the manufacturer's hands from having to produce the 2500 required homologation cars that must carry the racing car's arsenal even if it is unused/disconnected. So how does that affect the commercial version? Well the influence of the change in homologation class can be both felt and measured in the Evolution VII. For the latter one might note that performance figures are worse than they were in the previous version. Half a second is lost in 0-100km/h times (now 5.6 seconds) and a whole 1.4 seconds in the 1000m from a standing start (now 25,8 seconds). The new figures bring the Evolution VII out of the super-car territory. What has affected performance? The answer is twofold:
  • A significant rise in the car's weight, more than 50kg were added compared to the previous version
  • The Mitsubishi engineers targeted more the adherence to stringent Emission Control figures and driveability than sheer performance when designing the latest engine version and its electronic management
When adding to the facts above that the car's overall dimensions and, consequently, its inertia and aerodynamic figures have been raised one can easily realize why the Evolution VII is not the absolute point to point car anymore. It still is a very fast and capable car but when compared, side by side, to the Evolution VI and its predecessors the changes, both dynamic and static are shocking. You can access the complete car's specification here.
The new Lancer is based on the Mitsubishi Cedia family sedan rather than on the Lancer series. This fact alone has taken away most of its aggressiveness. Some parts of its body (bonnet and front arches) are still made out of aluminum as are most of its suspension components, carried over from the previous version for their majority. This however does not manage to bring the overall weight down to more reasonable levels.

Lancer Evolution VII
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