It was a brave move that paid off. In the early nineties, Mitsubishi didn’t know what hit them when they decided to take the economical Lancer sedan and give it some balls—turbocharging it, swapping in all-wheel drive and adding a sporty character typical of coupes. The newborn Evolution Lancer was a success as enthusiasts around the world sought after the new Evo. And with every generation, the Evo kept getting better and better, as engineers didn’t rest. The Evo was refined until the tenth iteration was released in ‘08. It’s crazy to think but while the Evo X may be five years old, we can all argue that it’s still one of today’s best all-around driver’s cars. Here’s a quick glance at why…
Out of the box, the Evo X’s 4B11 2.0-liter inline-four turbo is potent, giving you progressive acceleration all the way to redline. Rated at 291hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, it’s got plenty of muscle along with an aluminum block, free-revving performance and revamped variable-valve-timing technology from the previous motor. We also can’t forget the option of a six-speed dual-clutch tranny, making the Evo X a more viable street car than ever. The drivetrain and chassis are also as good as it gets with a low curb weight, active center diff, plus active steering, braking and suspension dampening control. All these features and technology add up to one of the most track-ready performance cars you can buy today. We’re not kidding when we say you can take the Evo X right off the dealership lot and go straight to your local track. Because of this, it’s no mystery why thousands of enthusiasts own, drive and modify these cars. We’ll admit we sometimes get tired of seeing so many examples at every show and race event but it’s because these cars are legit. And with some basic tuning, it has the potential to be something kickass—capable of taking on M3s, 911s and even GT-Rs. The car’s potential is also reason why some of the best tuners in the game have taken their turn building Evo Xs. So along with our incredible cover car this month, we thought it would be our civil duty to showcase some of the best Evo X builds in history.
One of the first Evo Xs we fell in love with was this yellow ‘n green monster from JUN Auto in ’08. JUN’s demo car had it all right from the start with TRUST engine parts, Zeal coilovers, Yokohama Advan Racing wheels and Endless brakes.
Monster Sport is recognized for its campaign with Monster Tajima and his Suzuki race car at Pikes Peak. Their Evo X made waves at Tokyo Auto Salon a few years back as a joint project with Maziora paint and Signal Auto. The car also had everything needed for track duties—Monster Sport bolt-ons, Öhlins coilovers, CE28N wheels, V2 Champ RS Original body kit and an HKS tuning package bringing power up to 450hp.
Everyone knows Varis for their aerodynamics but their demo car may be the fastest Evo X alive. It was built to battle the Tsukuba Circuit and still holds the record for the fastest Evo X. Along with the Varis body kit and carbon-fiber lightening, the project was a team effort alongside Garage G-Force and Sunbeam. The motor’s been strengthened with Tomei pistons, Cosworth rods and G-Force cams, to name a few. With an HKS turbo system, it’s making 570hp. This Evo X is the king and has the lap times to prove it.
The name probably doesn’t ring a bell but the man behind Koyama Racing Labo was formerly the chief mechanic at Team Orange and also one of the guys who helped get famed tuner JUN where it is today. This Evo X is a fully-prepped race car that features a modified M-Sport kit, Zeal suspension, Endless brakes, Blitz turbo components and a 2.3-liter bulletproof motor.
One of our favorites from North America, this Evo X has the best of both worlds—built for the track while also looking sexy for shows and daily driving. Evasive added all the parts necessary for the best handling and engine performance from HKS turbo parts to race-spec coils, Whiteline suspension, Wedsport wheels and AP Racing/Project Mu brakes. It’s got the whole nine yards along with one of the few Sequenital Black Illusion aero kits in the world.
Over the years, Speed Element in San Jose, CA has become the go-to shop in the NorCal where the tuning game is one of the toughest in the country. This Evo X was built to make a statement and it rightfully has done so with power, handling and looks pushed to the max. Owned by Anh Vu, a loyal customer and good friend, Anh’s a designer by trade but his passion has always been cars. Speed Element took the reigns on the project and went to town in order to build the baddest Evo possible.
Starting with the 4B11, the bottom-end’s been taken apart and replaced with everything necessary for more boost such as a Manley crank, I-beam rods and 86mm pistons. The 2.0-liter was now a stroked 2.2 with a fully-built head to match. The turbo and fueling components consisted of a massive Garrett GT4088R, ARC intercooler, 400lph fuel pump, 2100cc injectors and more. All these parts would equate to a power figure that easily surpasses 600whp—we’re still waiting to hear on the final dyno number but the end goal is 700whp on race gas.
The chassis received nothing but the best as well—race-spec Öhlins coilovers, Whiteline chassis stiffening and Project Mu brakes. On all four corners is wide 295-series Toyo R888—the right amount of the grip to cope with the power this Evo summoned. The rubbers are mounted on 19x11" Work Meister S1R wheels, sexy as hell but rigid for the track at the same time.
The exterior is really what sets this bad boy apart though. You can get lost staring at its aggressive demeanor while the House of Kolor candy paint job is flawless. New fenders were added all-around to extend each corner 45mm. Add in a Varis kit, and tons of carbon-fiber goodies which include the roof, JUN side mirrors and Voltex wing—the body is an example of the true meaning of form and function.
The interior was kept on the same level with only the best parts like the elaborate Cusco rollcage. The stock seats were replaced with Bride Gias buckets made of kevlar with the backings painted to match. For show points, the rear seats and door panels feature the same Bride fabric.
Speed Element’s Evo X is destined for stardom and we’re grateful to get the first look at it before it makes a pubic debut in ’14. But all the examples we’ve shown here remind us why the Evo X is so incredible and why these last few years have been the era of the Evo. While many of us can’t afford or spend the wrench time to get our projects to these levels, we can attest the Evo in stock form is plenty of car to have a good time in and show off to your friends. Spend a few extra bucks on some aftermarket suspension, engine bolt-ons and wheels and tires, and you’re already driving something competitive and better than most cars out there.
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
Occupation AVAA Studio designer
Engine Manley 2.2 liter stroker crankshafts, Pro Series I-beam rods and 86mm platinum pistons; Comptech ported cylinder head; Supertech dual valve springs, titanium retainers, 1mm oversize stainless steel black nitrided valves and valve stem seals; ARP L19 head studs and main cap bolts; Darton MID sleeves; GSC S2 cams; Full-Race T4 twin-scroll manifold and downpipe; Garrett GT4088R turbo; ARC front-mount intercooler, titanium intercooler pipes and radiator cap; TiAL dual MWR wastegates and 50mm blow-off valve; Blaqops fuel pump kit with 400lph inline pump; 2100cc ID injectors; AMS fuel rail; Speed Element surge tank and 4" intake pipe; MXP cat-back exhaust with Speed Element 3.5" piping; BLOX velocity intake and lower engine mount; Rexspeed carbon-fiber intake snooker, radiator panel and hood dampers; painted valve cover; Baller Bolt titanium bolts and nuts; Ti Neo chrome blow-off valve pipe; Mishimoto radiator pipes
Engine Management Custom ECU flash
Drivetrain Exedy HD twin-disc clutch; SSP Clutch master cylinder; stainless clutch lines
Footwork & Chassis Öhlins DFV coilovers; Password:JDM trust bar; Whiteline front and rear sway bars, rear lower control arm, bushings and roll center adjuster kit
Brakes Project Mu big brake kit
Wheels & Tires 19x11"+0 Work Meister S1R wheels; 295/30R19 Toyo R888 tires
Exterior custom 45mm fenders and House of Kolor Candy Red paint by TNT Autobody; Varis Runduce body kit, carbon-fiber fender vents, door pillar covers and canards; Speed Element carbon-fiber taillights and quad project headlights; AMS dry carbon-fiber roof; Do Lock trunk; JUN carbon-fiber side mirrors; Black Top carbon-fiber rear canards; Voltex Type 5 1600mm carbon-fiber wing
Interior Bride Gias Low Max seats with Kevlar shells color-matched, custom rear seat and door panels by Speed Element; Takata four-point harnesses; Cusco rollcage color-matched; black pillars; ICP triple pots center trim; Works Bell short hub and flip-up titling quick-release adapter; Key!s Racing D Type steering wheel; Defi gauges; MXP titanium shift knob
Thanks You Speed Element, TNT Autobody, MXP Performance, Project Mu, Öhlins, Work Wheels, Whiteline, V2 Competition, BLOX, Supertech, Manley, Darton Sleeves, ATP Turbo, Full-Race, AVAA Studios
Speed Element’s Evo X interior is majestic with a painted rollcage and Bride gear all around.