At $27,435, the '10 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart is a serious bargain when you consider the fact that it shares the engine and 6-speed TC-SST dual-clutch sequential gearbox with its $39,735 big brother, the Evolution MR. The supportive Recaro seats from the Evolution also call the Ralliart home (though they're cloth-wrapped in this case), and EVO owners will also recognize the Ralliart's vented hood, steering wheel, shifter and pedals.
The major differences between the Ralliart and the Evolution MR are the Ralliart's non-flared fenders (and narrower track), smaller brakes, mechanical LSDs (as opposed to the torque-vectoring differentials from the EVO) and detuned 4B11T engine. Using a smaller intercooler and single-scroll TD04 turbocharger, the Ralliart's 237 bhp and 253 ft-lbs of torque are no match for the MR's 291 bhp and 300 ft-lbs of torque. But apply just over half of the $12,300 you'll save when buying a Ralliart, and thanks to well-known DSM and EVO tuner Magnus Motorsports you can turn yours into what Magnus head man Marco Passante calls a "budget baby EVO."
According to Marco, "The goal was to create a car that would whip a stock EVO X's butt, but still stay below the EVO's price after the mods had been installed. We wanted to turn this car into an unholy beast, but we had to set some parameters. So we asked: Who buys this car? We had been seeing them on the road, but all of them were in stock trim. So it was decided that this car must remain a sleeper. This meant trying to make as much power as possible through the stock exhaust."
But before spinning any wrenches on their Ralliart, the Magnus crew took its car to the track for a full evaluation. "After getting used to launching it, we posted a respectable 14.1 at 91 mph. But where this car really shone was around the road course. As hard as we tried to kill it, the engine was bulletproof. We were scared to see the 4G63 go, but this engine will soon reach the legendary heights of the 4G because of its much improved low-end torque. We also loved the SST transmission-some compared it to a driving video game. So we knew what was good about the car already and now we had to find a few ways to address some of its shortcomings, namely power and braking."
The stock brakes were completely obliterated from the test day, so Magnus knew the car needed a serious upgrade. "We wanted to engineer a big brake kit that was lightweight, inexpensive to service and suitable for both street and track use. We settled on a set of four-pot AP brakes that were pilfered from a Ferrari 308 race car project. These were just the ticket, since the calipers were light and we were able to fit a 12.5-inch rotor behind the front wheels. The engineering team at Magnus whipped up some mounting brackets and rotor hats along with some lines to make the whole kit work together. The rotor hats were machined to a thickness that spaced the wheels out flush with the fenders for a wider track."
Since the Ralliart was going to need a serious bump in power to beat an EVO around a racetrack, Magnus' engineers set about designing a turbo upgrade kit. Having baselined the car at 206 whp, they started with a Stage 1 upgrade package that included an intake kit, intercooler piping and an ECU reflash. "Having seen the shortcomings of some of the other intakes on the market, where the MAF housings are all the wrong size causing A/F and idle problems, we designed our intake using an OE size MAF housing." From there, they built their cold air inlet, as well as adding larger 2.75-inch-diameter intercooler pipes. After reflashing the ECU to adjust for these modifications, the Magnus Edition Ralliart put down a solid 251 whp and 270 wtq.
Already on par with a stock EVO X, Magnus being Magnus (these guys build some of the world's most powerful Mitsubishi engines) meant more power was inevitable. For starters they decided to replace the small TD04 single-scroll with a Forced Performance Green twin-scroll turbo. This turbo features a billet wheel and a nice cast 3-inch elbow to facilitate air entry as well as a surge-ported cover. Mounting it to the Ralliart required an EVO X exhaust manifold and oil lines, coolant lines were purchased from JNZ Tuning. Magnus also fabricated a 3-inch stainless downpipe and mid-pipe but retained the factory 2.25-inch axle-back section and muffler so the car would still be as quiet as if it were still stock. A north/south front-mount intercooler core was also used (which, according to Marco, outperforms a east/west core in restriction and cooling due to its superior frontal area). Reflashing the ECU for these mods (and bumping the rev limiter to 8000 rpm), the Magnus Ralliart was now pumping out an amazing 335 whp and 300 wtq.
Now it was my turn for a test drive. With worn out Chinese el cheapo all-season tires mounted on the Tenzo R rims, I blasted out onto the long front straightaway at Toronto Motorsports Park. It was mid January and the track was covered in an unpredictable mix of snow drifts, slush, ice and wet pavement, not to mention a thick fog that hung over the track all day. And yet the Magnus Edition Ralliart felt completely poised over the constantly changing surface, the mechanical LSDs and AWD system helping it scream out of the corners like a stabbed rat. In fact, during my first few laps I kept unintentionally banging off the 8000-rpm rev limiter, having been caught out by the frantic acceleration this Ralliart was quietly producing. Under the slippery conditions at the track there was no way to put enough heat into the brakes to evaluate their fade-resistance, but pedal feel and modulation were spot on.
Having spent a week driving an EVO X MR around Germany, including a few laps of the Nürburgring, I have no doubt the Magnus Edition Ralliart would beat a stock MR down a dragstrip or around most racetracks. And to Magnus' credit, the powerband is broad and the throttle response immediate. The gear ratios of the SST transmission seem perfectly matched to this power level, and the chassis seems more than happy to live with the power increase as well. WRC-style power slides at 80 mph are easily achieved in the Magnus Ralliart. Sure, the EVO X MR is a more refined overall package with wider fenders and tires, intelligent differentials, a stiffer suspension and a more luxurious interior, but if you want a sleeper of a street machine that's a bit easier on the pocketbook than a MR then a Magnus Edition Ralliart may just be the car for you.
Specs & Details
'10 Mitsubishi lancer
Ralliart Magnus Edition
Engine Modifications Magnus Motorsports FMIC, 2.75" IC pipes, air-intake kit, 3" downpipe and mid-pipe, FP "Green" twin-scroll turbo, EVO X exhaust manifold and oil lines, JNZ tuning cooling lines
Wheels, Tires & Brakes Tenzo R 18" Monoblock wheels, 245/40R18 EPTYRES all-season tires, Magnus Motorsports front BBK (AP 4-piston calipers, 12.25" 2-piece rotors, custom hats and mounting brackets)
Numbers 335 whp and 300 wtq
Total Cost of Upgrades $7,000
Magnus Air Intake Kit for FP Turbo $300
FP Green Turbocharger $1,500
Magnus 3" Downpipe $400
Magnus 3" Mid-pipe $250
Magnus 2.75" Intercooler Pipe Kit $450
Magnus North/South Intercooler $1,000
Magnus Big Brake Kit $1,500
Tenzo R Wheels & Tires $1,200
OEM Parts $400 (oil lines, EVO X manifold, etc.)