NEW FOR 2009:

– New RS model

An all-new model for 2008, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution introduces the RS for 2009, which features special weight reduction in preparation for racing.

The Evolution uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder intercooled and turbocharged engine, producing 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The GSR trim uses a five-speed manual transmission, while the MR and MR Premium come exclusively with a six-speed twin-clutch Sportronic Shift transmission (TC-SST), an automated manual unit that can be shifted by console-mounted lever or wheel-mounted paddles, with manual or fully automatic modes. All models use Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC), which includes active centre differential four-wheel drive, active yaw control rear differential, active stability control, and sport brakes with ABS. The system splits torque up to 50:50 between the front and rear wheels, using an electronically-controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch.

Features on the GSR include 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, cloth Recaro sport seats, fog lamps, chrome exhaust tip, small rear spoiler, black hood and fender vents, floor mats, sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, tilt column, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, CD stereo and driver’s knee airbag.

The MR adds Xenon headlamps, large wing spoiler, chrome belt surround, body-colour hood and fender vents, heated cloth and leather Recaro seats, and FAST-key entry system.

The Premium package, available only on the MR, includes Rockford Fosgate CD stereo, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, power sunroof, hard-drive navigation system with music server function, wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth hands-free capability.

Kept out of Canada due to its not meeting bumper standards until this latest generation, the Evolution goes head-to-head with the Subaru WRX STI. Purists may scoff at the idea of a performance car with an automatic transmission, but one trip around the track with the TC-SST could easily have even die-hard stick-shifters demanding it.

Connect with Autos.ca