After the widebody Lancer Evolution IX MR ARC built for last year's Tokyo Auto Salon, show goers were expecting something just as eye-catching this year. But time was a major factor in the preparation of the company's '08 show car, which as decided earlier on it was going to be the new Evo X. With the car hitting dealerships across Japan on Oct. 1, ARC had just over two months to work on the all-new Evo.
Priorities called for most of the attention to be given to components underhood-but this had its own set of problems. With the arrival of the Evo X, the old and trustworthy 4G63 was sent off to retirement and replaced by the all-new, all-aluminum 4B11. The guys at Mitsubishi changed everything that could be changed, like the engine's position, which now not only sits marginally lower and rearward in the new stiffer chassis but was also rotated 180 degrees compared to the 4G63. This means that the hot side is virtually behind the dashboard and the intake is where the turbine used to sit in previous generation Evos (IV to IX; I through III had the same layout). ARC had to start from scratch with the X but looking at the pictures on these pages, we can safely say they've done a great job with this first set of modifications.
As we arrive at the company's recently relocated headquarters in Fuji city, the snowstorm that has been falling throughout the morning has given way to rain, but the temperature shows no sign of rising. The Evo X is all washed up and ready to go, sitting under the large canopy that covers the area in front of the two adjacent factory buildings. After having seen the car in the halls of the Tokyo Auto Salon less than two weeks prior, we were surprised at how much better it looks out in the open.
The so-called "Phantom Black Pearl" is a very dark hue that tends to hide the smooth flowing, yet aggressive lines of the extremely modern-looking X. ARC tried their hardest to spice up the looks with a set of mirror-effect decals on the sides, roof and front splitter but the car is desperately calling for some aftermarket add-ons to further work on the great base Mitsubishi has provided. As Tanaka-san of ARC explains, "Being a company primarily focused on creating products for the mechanical side of cars, we had to give priority to products that best represent us on the market." That's why, wheels and lowered ride height aside, you'll only find small accents such as heated titanium Mitsubishi badges (front and rear), Colt Speed carbon pillar garnishes and dry-carbon air duct for the center intake on the hood.
All of the eye candy we saw at the ARC booth at the Tokyo Auto Salon was all underhood. As with every ARC car, the first thing you notice in the engine bay is always their aluminum airboxes. In this case, it's a pretty large unit sitting where the stock item used to be. This uses a sealed lightweight box to create just the right amount of intake pressure, all the time sealing passing air away from the engine's high temperatures. An oiled foam filter sits on top and has been proven to offer great filtration characteristics, helping provide a lower intake resistance without letting any nasty stuff through. A second filter is positioned where the stock air guide enters the airbox, allowing the air coming from the grille area to get the same filtration as the one taken in from the top core.
With the new 4B11 sitting the other way around compared to the 4G63, an extremely long piece of piping brings the compressed charge to the front-mount intercooler. ARC got rid of the stock mesh-sleeved silicone pipe in favor of a slightly smaller diameter titanium pipe. It's then on to the upgraded intercooler, which features a wider main core (plus 30mm) developed especially to accept the higher airflow of a minor boost increase. The intercooler has been engineered around the factory air dam that, as Tanaka-san says, "Is really perfect for providing all the air the intercooler will ever need, lowering intake charge as much as 3 degrees C compared to the stock item." Sitting right next to the intercooler is the ARC oil cooler, which takes advantage of the large side opening to provide the best possible cooling of engine oil. Soon to be released is a larger radiator, which will be fitted to this car, and is already equipped with the polished aluminum overflow tank. For now the ARC high-pressure radiator cap will have to do. A second titanium pipe is used for the recirculation of the air passing through the factory blow-off valve-a little touch that adds to the list of shiny bits underhood. The titanium cat-back exhaust system, which exits with two wide diameter outlets through the rear factory diffuser, does wonders for the engine note, making the car sound as fruity as previous generation Evos. With these improvements the 4B11 in the ARC X cranks out 355 ps and a peak torque of 49.6kgm. The final piece is the front strut bar, which is again made from titanium and features the rainbow-finish titanium when it's heat-treated. This has the job of stiffening the front end of the car while the Zeal Function X dampers take care of the rest.
A great match for the Phantom Black Pearl color are the 18-inch chrome Advan RS wheels with the obligatory set of sticky Advan Neova AD07 tires. Hiding behind the front wheels are the Ogura Racing Clutch brakes featuring four-pot calipers and 355mm two-piece slotted rotors. These provide enough bite to handle the power increase, while the stock rear setup keeps things stabilized at the rear. Open the door and your eyes are torn between the Bride GAIS front seats and the Defi Super Sports Cluster. This is a gadget that will get you all the street-cred you'd ever need in Japan, costing a whopping $2,260 and looking cooler than anything even fitted to a Super GT car! This little beauty consists of a central analog rpm scale reading to 9,000 rpm (a 11,000 rpm scale model is also available as well as a unit for N/A applications) and an analog boost gauge on the left side. Under these is the multi-function LCD screen, which displays data taken from the ECU. It's fully customizable and even comes with an SD card slot so you can download your telemetry. On the lower section of the center console is the Defi control unit for the dash display as well as the ARC downforce meter and the ARC multi-temp meters. The prior measures how many kilograms of downforce the rear spoiler develops while the latter keeps water and oil temperatures under check.
ARC now plans to spend more time developing interesting new products for the Evo X, as well as its long-time arch rival the Impreza WRX STI. Only time will tell, however, if this new breed of cars will offer the limitless tuning possibilities we have become so accustomed to.
Lancer evolution XPower output: 355 ps at 6,530 rpm; torque: 49.6kgm at 4,245 rpmEngineARC Aluminum Induction BoxARC Super IntercoolerARC Titanium Intercooler SprayARC Titanium Intake Piping KitARC Aluminum Radiator Overflow TankARC Titanium Blow-Off Valve Relief PipeARC Oil CoolerARC Super Titanium Silencer Exhaust System
Suspension & BrakesZeal Function X Adjustable Suspension KitARC Front Titanium Strut BraceOgura Racing Clutch Four-Pot Brake Kit With 355mm Two-Piece Rotors (Front)
Wheels & TiresYokohama Advan Rs 9x18 +2915MM Spacer Front & Rear265/35/ZR18 Yokohama Advan Neova ADO7
ExteriorARC Dry-Carbon Air DuctColt Speed Carbon Pillar GarnishesARC One-Off Decals
InteriorBride Gais Sports Driver And Passenger SeatsDefi Super Sports Cluster Dash UnitDefi Main Control Unit And Remote ControlARC Digital Downforce MeterARC Super Multi-Temp Digital MeterARC Titanium Shift KnobPioneer Carrozzeria HDD Navigation System