Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced that it will launch the Lancer Evolution VIII sports sedan in Japan on January 31. Features include a high-performance 2-liter intercooler-turbocharged engine, a 6-speed close-ratio gearbox and MMC’s advanced all-wheel traction control system. Available in three trim levels, the Evolution VIII GSR is priced at JPY3,298,000, the RS 5-speed manual transmission model JPY2,740,000 and RS 6-speed gearbox model JPY3,160,000. MMC is targeting total sales of 5,000 units.
The Lancer Evolution VIII marks the eighth step up the evolutionary ladder in the 10 years since the series made its Japan debut in October 1992. Providing a base model for a wide range of motorsport events, Evolution VIII continues the tradition of delivering quicker competition performance with each new model in the series. Evolution VIII also brings a significant improvement in perceived driving quality, offering a kid-glove fit between man and machine that inspires greater confidence over all speed bands and surfaces.
Major changes over Evolution VII include:
· A 6-speed close-ratio gearbox that maximally extracts the engine’s class-topping maxima of 280PS (206kW, unchanged) and 40.0kg-m (392Nm, an increase of 1.0kg-m).
· The addition of Super AYC to the race-proved ACD in MMC’s all-wheel traction control system realizes significant improvements in cornering and traction performance. (Standard on GSR, factory-fitted option on RS models).
· Improved aerodynamic performance with the use of a new-design oversize front bumper, engine undercover and the first all-carbon rear spoiler on a 4-door production sedan.
· Evolution VIII presents a more aggressive exterior design that incorporates the new MMC design identity in the front grille and sees improvements in aerodynamic and cooling performance.
· Stamping the new MMC design identity on the front visage is the pyramid-shape element in the center of the grill that locates the silver Mitsubishi 3-diamond logo, the apex of which provides the origin for a ridge line that flows seamlessly into the engine hood.
· Intercooler efficiency has been boosted with a 10% enlargement of the mid-bumper air intake. The engine oil cooler air intake located under the right end of the bumper has been redesigned as a duct to promote a smoother flow of air and improve oil cooler performance.
· The new-design engine undercover generates significantly more downforce and features a new diffuser that directs cooling air over the drivetrain. The new model retains the brake cooling air ducts fitted on its predecessor.
· The rear spoiler uses carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for both horizontal and vertical components - a world-first on a 4-door production sedan. Exploiting to the full the low mass, high strength and rigidity properties of CFRP, the aerofoils are slimmer and optimized in section. The spoiler generates significantly more downforce than its predecessor without incurring any extra drag penalties.
· Evolution VIII uses an off-black color scheme and the strategic placement of dark titanium-finish panels to create a sporty interior space that fully complements the vehicle’s character and supports sports driving requirements.
· Dashboard ornamentation is finished in blue to coordinate with the seat upholstery.
· The dark titanium-finish center panel accommodates 2DIN and 1DIN audio systems on GSR and RS trim levels respectively.
· The race-serious instrument panel locates the tachometer in the center and uses the same full-scale 270 km/h speedometer (the governor operates at 180km/h as on its predecessor) as fitted to the recently launched North America market Evolution VIII, the first Evolution model to be offered on that market.
· The shifter features a smaller spherical design that enhances operability. On 6-speed close-ratio gearbox models, the shift gate plate is embellished with the Evolution logo made from the same CFRP material as the rear spoiler.
· Recaro bucket seats use slim-line bolsters and a lustrous blue knit fabric with a distinctive dimple-finish.
· Evolution VIII is powered by an improved version of the 2-liter in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC twin-scroll turbocharger-with-intercooler 4G63 engine that develops class-topping maxima of 280PS (206kW)/6500rpm (unchanged) and 40.0kg-m (392Nm)/ 500rpm (an increase of 1.0kg-m).
· Optimization of supercharging characteristics has produced class-topping maximum torque of 40.0kg-m/3500rpm and even gutsier torque in the flat 3000rpm-to-5000rpm band.
· To match the higher torque, cooling performance has been improved by uprating the water pump capacity and by enlarging the water passages in the turbocharger. Engine durability and reliability have also been improved by uprating the aluminum pistons and forged steel con rods.
· Detail changes have reduced total engine weight by 2.5kg (models with air conditioning). Use of lighter valve springs and valve spring tensioners has lowered the moment of inertia of, and with less load on the springs reduced friction in, the valvetrain.
· Evolution VIII models use the same fuel tanks as fitted to the North America market series. At 55 liters, the GSR gets a 7-liter increase to extend its cruising range; while at 50 liters, the RS gets just 2 liters more in view of weight and motorsport minimum range considerations.
· Evolution VIII uses a 6-speed close-ratio gearbox (standard on the GSR) to maximally utilize the engine’s outstanding power and torque characteristics. With the motorsport competitor in mind, the RS comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard and is available with a 6-speed gearbox/17-inch wheel combination package as a factory-fitted option.
· The ratios on the 6-speed gearbox have been carefully chosen to extract every ounce of torque from the engine: 1st for acceleration from rest; 2nd to 5th for seamless shifting and response; while 6th supports an increase in top speed. The ratios also enable Evolution VIII to return 9.7 km/l in the Japanese 10-15 urban mileage test, an improvement of 0.1km/l over VII.
· The 6-speed gearbox employs a pull-ring mechanism to prevent accidental selection of reverse.
· For Evolution VIII, 5-speed RS models now come standard with the super-close ratio gearbox offered as an option on its predecessor, with uprated durability and stiffness to match the increased torque.
All-wheel Control System
· Since its introduction, Mitsubishi’s All-Wheel Control system - comprising ACD, AYC and Sports ABS - has elevated Evolution’s traction and dynamic performance to new levels. Debuting on Evolution VIII, the new Super AYC now brings further and significant improvements to that performance.
· Super AYC uses a planetary gear differential in place of the bevel gear type in the current 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.
· The RS comes with ACD only. The ACD unit gives priority to drive traction, with its operating modes (Tarmac/Gravel/Snow) tuned for the requirements of rally, gymkhana and dirt and snow trials.
· The new model uses the same brakes as its predecessor: Brembo 17-inch ventilated discs with 4-piston calipers at the front and 16-inch ventilated discs with 2-piston calipers at the rear.
· Evolution VIII also retains MMC’s Sports ABS, which 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 handling behavior under braking.
· The system also incorporates MMC’s EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) system which optimally apportions braking force between front and rear wheels for different road surface and vehicle load conditions to deliver predictable and consistent stopping performance.
· To improve handling stability and perceived driving quality, Evolution VIII’s body has been made stronger and stiffer in a program pinpointing those areas giving the largest gain in strength for the smallest increase in weight.
· The upper and lower body join, a major factor in overall torsional stiffness, has been strengthened with the addition of large reinforcements to inner and outer panels at the bottom of the center pillar.
· Body panel joins have been strengthened with the addition of reinforcements at the top of the front strut tower and on the upper and side surfaces of the rear wheel house, and by increasing the number of spot welding points. Suspension mounting stiffness has also been uprated by strengthening the mid-section of the strut tower bar and its point of attachment to the body.
· Complementing the stiffer body, detail optimization of Evolution VIII’s MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension results in better on the limit handling stability and perceived driving quality over the full performance range.
Wheels & tires
· GSR and 6-speed gearbox RS models retain Evolution VII’s ADVAN A046 model 235/45ZR17 tires, which use a high-grip compound and are built with a very stiff carcass
· The GSR and 6-speed gearbox RS models ride on ENKEI 6-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. The spun-rim construction of the wheels cuts the weight of a set of wheels by 3.2kg and this reduction in unsprung weight contributes directly to improved dynamic performance.
· The 5-speed manual gearbox RS retains the 205/65R15 94H tires and 15-inch steel road wheels of its predecessor. The GSR’s 17-inch alloy wheels and 235/45ZR17 tires are available as a factory-fitted option.
· Evolution VIII achieves further advances in weight reduction over VII, particularly in the front end, upper body and the unsprung weight - areas that contribute most to handling stability.
· For similar equipment levels and fuel load, the new GSR comes in at virtually the same weight as its predecessor despite the 10kg increase ensuing from the introduction of the 6-speed transmission.
· Serving as the base model for competition use, the 5-speed gearbox RS model also features further reductions in weight as the result of rationalizing the equipment and sound insulation specifications. For similar equipment levels and fuel load, the new RS weighs in 20kg lighter than its predecessor.
· All Evolution VIII models come standard with a vehicle immobilizer system that requires the use of a pre-coded key to start the engine. GSR models are also available with a dealer-fitted audible car alarm that goes off when the door locks are opened by any means other than the keyless entry system.
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