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Cars Worth Noting: 2005 Mitsubishi Evo VIII MR

2005 Mitsubishi Evo VIII MR

With the headlines the Mitsubishi has been getting lately, you’d think its cars would be on everyone’s radar screen, so it surprised me when my auto-PR friend had to ask what the Evo VIII MR was as he pulled up next to me at a media event the other day.

While this Lancer-based street racer does make an impressive showing with its tall rear wing, wide shoulders and a front end made up of a fascia-covered intercooler, only those tuned in to the tuner scene seem to appreciate it. The MR is the latest evolution in the Evo line, adding another five horsepower to the 2.0L DOHC intercooled-turbocharged I4, bringing it to 276 at 6,000 rpm and 286 lb.ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. The MR also gets an exclusive shortthrow 6-speed manual transmission.

But it’s not the looks or extra horsepower that impressed me, it was the Evo’s handling. Engineers focused much of their attention on improving driving quality. An aluminum roof and high-strength aluminum impact bars in the doors, along with forged BBS aluminum alloy wheels cut weight by 27.6 lb.

Specially designed Bilstein monotube shocks keep all four wheels planted firmly on the ground, and an electronic active center differential along with a helical-style front limited slip differential make sure that every last horsepower is delivered to those tires.

Several years fine-tuning the suspension at Germany’s N?rburgring Nordschleife, Mitsubishi has delivered a car with exceptional feedback — a car that literally “feels” the road. Every minute change in road surface was transmitted from each corner of the car right up through the driver’s seat and steering wheel.

Three settings, (tarmac, gravel and snow) on the electronic center differential lets the driver fine-tune the suspension even further to optimize handling over different road conditions.

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