2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR. Click image to enlarge
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Mitsubishi Canada

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By Jim Kerr; photos by Chris Chase

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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

When it comes to traction at the limits, Mitsubishi’s Lancer EVO is one of the best. Gravel, snow, mud, ice, or dry pavement, the EVO shows off its rally heritage, making average drivers look good and good drivers look great. You don’t have to be a rally driver to take advantage of this type of traction. The EVO works equally well taming the hazards of everyday driving, thanks to the car’s Super All Wheel Control.

Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) is a combination of four separate systems integrated by the S-AWC control unit. Previous Lancer Evolution models integrated only three systems, but the new car integrates ABS (Antilock Brake System), ACD (Active Center Differential), AYC (Active Yaw Control) and ASC (Active Stability Control). Let’s look at how it improves vehicle safety by making handling predictable.

To control all the systems, the computer needs to know two critical pieces of information: what the car is doing and what the driver wants. To determine what the car is doing, the EVO uses vehicle speed and yaw rate sensors to measure the movement of the car in all directions. Then the computer looks at driver inputs such as steering wheel angle, throttle or brake application, and driver input from the switch on the steering wheel that allows the driver to select Tarmac, Gravel or Snow mode. By comparing the vehicle yaw information with the driver input information, the S-AWC computer controls the car to make it go where you want, using the principle of torque vectoring.

Torque vectoring is simply the application of torque or braking force to move the vehicle in the desired direction. Each of the four S-AWC systems is used to provide the torque vectoring under different conditions. The Active Centre Differential varies the torque between the front and rear axles. It works like a limited slip unit so that if one axle looses traction, the power is applied to the other axle to keep the power to the road.

The Active Stability Control system uses both brake control and engine control to reduce wheelspin for improved traction and skid control. The Active Yaw Control can vector torque by shifting the power between the left and right side tires. By applying more torque to one side, it turns the car away from the side where the torque is applied.

While AYC works great during acceleration, it doesn’t work as well during deceleration. That’s where the ABS comes into force. By applying brakes selectively, the car maintains directional control during braking. Many drivers are aware of the directional control and safety provided by ABS and electronic stability control, but few have experienced how integrating these systems with Yaw control and an active centre differential can make a car’s handling superb.

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR
2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR. Click image to enlarge

Remember the input switch on the steering wheel for mode selection? Well, if you choose Tarmac mode, the system maximizes cornering performance. This mode is best selected when traction conditions are good, such as dry pavement. The Gravel mode selection tells the S-AWC computer to maximize traction instead of cornering performance. Although called “Gravel” mode, it is also suitable for wet or cold roads where traction is limited. Finally there is the Snow mode. This mode maximizes vehicle stability for control on slippery surfaces. The nice part about the EVO systems is that all you have to do is select the mode to match the road surface and the computer controls all the systems to maximize driving fun and safety.

Testing by Mitsubishi on a dry track and slippery ice surfaces demonstrated the benefits of the S-AWC system. In both situations, the amount of steering wheel movement by the driver to maintain cornering control was much less than on the same vehicle without S-AWC. This indicates the vehicle is easy to control. On a 2.4 kilometre paved track, the S-AWC system enabled drivers to get around the track 1.5 seconds faster than cars without S-AWC. One and a half seconds may not sound like much, but in racing terms that is the difference between a top runner and the back of the pack. The S-AWC system in Mitsubishi’s Lancer EVO enables it to run at the front of the pack.

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