By: Mike Ginsca
Performance bolt-on parts are the most popular type of modification that almost every auto enthusiast and owner add to their vehicles. But how much performance do you get for your buck?
Performance – This Lancer has the base essentials covered in terms of engine performance. From the turbo-back it has a T1R downpipe, test pipe, and cat-back exhaust system. This full system helps the turbo breathe easier and spool up 500rpms sooner than the stock restrictive system. In terms of sound it’s not deafening when driving in the city and to be honest, it’s the turbo spooling up that is the predominant noise. To help the air flow to the engine, an AMS short ram intake helps collect the air to the turbo which is then sent through the T1R intercooler piping to the AMS front mount intercooler. All together, the intake system, intercooler, and turbo-back exhaust system give the Evo approximately 40 hp on top of the 291 hp that it came with from the factory. But the biggest power gain is from the COBB Accessport. Auto manufacturers tune engines to be reliable rather than as powerful as they can be so as a result of that, a modern engine (with a bit of tuning) can produce almost 40% more power than what the manufacturer claims and this is what a tuning device such as the COBB Accessport does, it tunes the engine’s timing, spark, and fuel to produce more power. Shifting is done by a 5-speed manual with a T1R short shifter but unlike the short shifter in the Corvette Z06 that I reviewed last week, this one actually works and mis-shifting is nearly impossible.
For the corners, this rally car relies on the massive 275/35R18 Dunlop Direzza Z1 tires to help it achieve massive cornering entry and exit speeds. The sophisticated all wheel drive with the All Wheel Control (AWC) system keeps the driver in complete control of the car regardless of what the road condition is. Turn the steering wheel in the direction you want to go and the car will quickly and violently turn in that direction without a hint of understeer… which is to be expected from fitting such massively wide tires on the front wheels. Further helping this car with its insane cornering capabilities are T1R B52 coilovers and Whiteline Roll Center correction kit.
Comfort – As this Evo is based off a rally car, you’d expect the comfort to be roughly the same as a rally car… very poor. But it is and it isn’t. Let me explain… The stock Recaro seats are fabulous. They provide excellent support when you’re in the middle of a corner and they are comfortable when you’re cruising around the city. There is a lot of room in the cabin especially head room, the pope can probably fit in comfortably with his tall hat on. That’s the good part about the car’s comfort, now the bad. In the back it is a bit of a squeeze for 3 people and the coilover suspension is a bit on the harsh side for around town driving. But the biggest culprit of the poor comfort is the engine mounts. The owner replaced the stock engine mounts with AMS engine and transmission polyurethane mounts, which is fine for track use, but at idle in the city the whole car vibrates like a 1980’s washing machine on its final spin cycle. It is very hard to ignore the vibrations and it ruins what is otherwise a pretty good daily driver in my opinion.
Odds and Ends – The Evo 10 has had a very dramatic change to its styling compared to the previous generation. Some have hated it but most (usually men) have loved its aggressive, snarling front end and the sinister looking taillights. This particular Evo X has some added extras to make it look even more aggressive such as: AJRC Carbon Fiber Front Lip, Varis Carbon Fiber Side Skirts Extension, Rexpeed Carbon Fiber Hood Scop, Rexpeed Carbon Fiber Vents, and Rexpeed Polarized Mirrors. It also used to have a GT style track spoiler (which you can see in the DTP Autoshow pictures) but the owner removed it and placed the OEM spoiler back on for a cleaner look. Also the 18×10.5 Volks Racing TE37SL wheels in Graphite help accent the bright red Brembo calipers, which by the way are amazingly good at bringing the rally car for the road to a stop very quickly.
So back to my original question, How much performance do you get for your buck? Well with the upgrades that this car has, it would give a Porsche Cayman owner a run for his money… maybe even an inexperienced 911 owner as well.
Special thank you to the owner for giving me the opportunity to test drive and photoshoot this Evolution X.