Fi­nal fling for Evo

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@news.com.au

AUS­TRALIA has been al­lo­cated just 150 cars to farewell the iconic Mit­subishi Lancer Evo.

The last of the tur­bocharged and four-wheel drive Evo pocket rock­ets — called, not sur­pris­ingly, the Fi­nal Edi­tion — has just been an­nounced with a strictly lim­ited pro­duc­tion run.

The last cars will come down the line in Ja­pan in March and the Aus­tralian cars will be de­liv­ered in sev­eral batches, start­ing just be­fore Christ­mas.

Mit­subishi Aus­tralia is promis­ing a slight boost to power and torque from the cur­rent car — which has 217kW and 366Nm — but is not go­ing into specifics.

It’s also re­fus­ing to dis­cuss pric­ing, with the cur­rent model sit­ting at $52,990 as a five-speed man­ual and $58,990 with its twin-clutch auto.

“Yes, we will be get­ting 150 of the Fi­nal Edi­tion cars. We’re hop­ing the first will be here be­fore the end of the year,” says Mit­subishi spokes­woman, Shayna Welsh.

“We’ll wait and see on num­bers, and if we can get more that’s some­thing we will con­sider.”

The orig­i­nal Lancer Evo mod­els were only im­ported pri­vately for rally use in Aus­tralia, be­fore the first of­fi­cial link was forged by Ral­liart Aus­tralia in 2001 for the Evo VI Tommi Maki­nen Edi­tion.

The first Evo sold by Mit­subishi Mo­tors Aus­tralia was the Evo VIII in 2004, but lim­ited to 100 units per year un­der the Sport­ing and En­thu­si­asts Ve­hi­cle Scheme. The Evo IX was the first fully ho­molo­gated Evo im­ported in 2005 and the Lancer Evo­lu­tion, un­of­fi­cially the Evo X, was first sold in 2008.

The cur­rent to­tal is 2482 cars and the most pop­u­lar is the Evo X with 1316 sales.

Welsh says the im­pact of the Lancer Evo has been ob­vi­ous.

“Through­out the last decade, Lancer Evo­lu­tion served as a halo for the Lancer sedan range and the Mit­subishi brand on the strength of its in­cred­i­ble rally her­itage, sta­teof-the-art tech­nol­ogy and sure­footed dy­nam­ics,” she says.

“The Lancer Evo­lu­tion has reached full ma­tu­rity as a high­per­for­mance four-wheel drive sedan; how­ever, Mit­subishi Mo­tors will ap­ply tech­nolo­gies honed from the Lancer Evo­lu­tion, like S-AWC four­wheel drive, to other mod­els, as with Out­lander PHEV.”

Although Ja­pan has vir­tu­ally ruled out any Evo suc­ces­sor, as it switches its small-car fo­cus to a joint pro­gram with Daim­ler, Welsh says the door is not com­pletely closed.

“Mit­subishi Mo­tors is aware there’s cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tion to de­liver a per­for­mance model, and a per­for­mance ver­sion of the com­pany’s PHEV tech­nol­ogy could be some­thing it looks at in the fu­ture,” she says.

“MMC is about to com­pete in 2015 FIA Cross-Coun­try Rally World Cup Baja Por­tale­gre 500, Por­tu­gal, to demon­strate its progress in this area. The en­try will be MMC’s first of­fi­cial fac­tory en­try in an off-road event for around a decade.

“In terms of Aus­tralia, there’s def­i­nitely an ap­petite for a per­for­mance model in our prod­uct line-up. We’re hop­ing it’s some­thing MMC looks at in the fu­ture.”

Good sport: The Evo earned its for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion as

a rally car in Aus­tralia

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