March 27, 2005 Bred from Mitsubishi’s racing program, the striking new 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX was introduced this week at the New York International Automobile Show. Loaded with power and aerodynamic enhancements culled from Mitsubishi's rally-racing success over the past decade, the compact sedan's turbocharged, intercooled engine now features advanced MIVEC technology, producing higher torque and better overall performance. This latest edition to the Lancer Evolution model line stacks up well against far more expensive sports cars by combining brute power and agility.
Charged with taking the Lancer Evolution driving experience to the next level, Mitsubishi engineers complemented the vehicle's handling characteristics - refined on the world's most demanding test tracks - with even more power and torque for 2006.
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"Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, nothing can touch the Lancer Evolution IX," said Rich Gilligan, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America. "For people who want to truly stand out in a high-performance compact sedan, there's no better value than this latest edition of the Lancer Evolution series."
Born from a rally-racing legacy
The 2006 Lancer Evolution is the 12th model in a series of Mitsubishi Evolution high-performance compact sedans. It was originally introduced to satisfy FIA Group A rally specifications that called for a production model. Beginning in 1992, Mitsubishi Motors exclusively offered it in the Japanese and European markets, with no plans to sell it into the United States.
A continuous groundswell of rave reviews from automotive media and ardent performance addicts worldwide, however, pressured Mitsubishi Motors North America to introduce the Lancer Evolution to U.S. drivers in 2003.
Since then, the vehicle has lived up to the hype. Mirroring the success of the Mitsubishi rally racing program, the racing-inspired Lancer Evolution has received numerous industry accolades. It is one of Automobile Magazine's 2005 All-Stars and was Automobile of the Year in 2004. Sport Compact Car awarded Lancer Evolution "Car of the Year" for both 2004 and 2005, as well as named it the best sport compact car of all time in its October 2004 issue.
The Legend Evolves
The Lancer Evolution IX is available in stock trim, as well as RS and MR editions. Owners can further customize their vehicles to meet individual tastes through a comprehensive range of factory- and dealer-installed options. Accessories also are available for those who want to customize their vehicle even more to resemble their rally racing brethren.
"The Lancer Evolution IX exemplifies the core DNA of the Mitsubishi Motors brand, with unrivaled performance born from a history-intense competition and racing success against some of the finest manufacturers in the world," Gilligan said.
The 2006 Lancer Evolution features a standard two-liter DOHC 16-valve I-4 intercooled turbocharged engine, which is enhanced this year with variable valve technology (VVT). This Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) system utilizes a VVT sprocket to optimize valve timing relative to the engine condition. This technological advancement, combined with enhancements to the vehicle's turbocharger, produces higher torque and better response for improved engine performance across the Lancer Evolution IX's full rpm range. The improved powerplant reaches 286 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 289 foot-pounds of torque at a very low 3,500 rpm.
New gear ratios on the models' standard five-speed manual transmission take full advantage of the increased torque to improve the vehicle's already blistering acceleration. This transmission is derived from the Mitsubishi close-ratio competition gearbox but has a modified top gear ratio for improved high-speed cruising. The Lancer Evolution MR features a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission.
All three Evolution models feature a rally-tuned fully independent suspension; the MR utilizes Bilstein" monotube shock absorbers. Full-time all-wheel drive with an active center differential (ACD) provides improved steering response and better traction. Three ACD modes are provided - tarmac, gravel and snow - to enable quicker controlled response for changes in road conditions. The Lancer Evolution also features front- and rear-limited slip differentials, and four-wheel ventilated BREMBO disc brakes to help control the beast.
True to its racing heritage, the Lancer Evolution IX also features a number of exterior enhancements to further improve the aerodynamics and cooling performance of the vehicle. A new front fascia houses an oversize mesh grille and front center bumper air inlets to improve engine-cooling efficiency.
In addition, all unnecessary openings on the undersurface of the bumper have been closed to reduce air resistance. The rear wing assembly features a carbon fiber hollow spoiler that lowers the center of gravity of the Lancer Evolution IX.
A new air dam extension and rear-wing wicker bill also are available as dealer options. These advanced aerodynamic devices improve the high-speed handling and stability of the Lancer Evolution IX by increasing downforce, reducing front and rear wheel lift and enhancing the front-rear aerodynamic balance of the vehicle.
The Lancer Evolution rides on all-new 17x8-inch ENKEI" lightweight cast aluminum alloy wheels, while the MR rolls on 17x8-inch BBS forged aluminum rims. All three models feature 235/45/17 Yokohama ADVAN high-grip tires.
Complementing the performance and exterior enhancements, Mitsubishi Motors engineers also updated the Lancer Evolution IX interior to further assure drivers they are riding in a very special automobile.
Standard Recaro bucket seats feature Alcantara upholstery that keeps occupants comfortable even on long journeys, while generous side bolsters feature real leather accents and help hold passengers securely in place during spirited driving. The new seat configuration also makes it easier to slip in and out of the vehicle, while adding a touch of understated luxury.
The driver is strapped in front of a racing-inspired new dark titanium color, three-spoke, height-adjustable Momo" steering wheel. Aluminum accelerator, brake and clutch pedals on the IX and MR models provide additional cues to the Lancer Evolution IX's high-performance roots. Rich, carbon fiber-style instrument, center and shift panels further illustrate this is not your typical compact sedan - designed as much for rally-racing as everyday driving.
The Lancer Evolution is equipped with a 140-watt Mitsubishi CD audio system with six speakers. Audiophiles will enjoy the 315-watt Premium Mitsubishi/Infinity CD audio system featuring seven speakers, including a subwoofer, available as an option on the Evolution IX.
The standard Lancer Evolution RS accessory package provides additional styling and performance accents, including a manual transmission shift knob and turbo boost gauge kit (boost, voltage and oil pressure gauges). An exclusive accessory package also is standard for the Lancer Evolution MR, including an aluminum shift knob, carbon fiber and aluminum brake grip, color-keyed vortex generator, wheel locks and turbo gauge kit.
As part of Mitsubishi Motors' "Best-Backed Car" program, all models are backed by a comprehensive new vehicle limited warranty that covers the vehicle from bumper to bumper for five-years/60,000 miles. In addition, the powertrain is covered by a 10-year/100,000 mile limited warranty, while body panels have a seven-year/100,000 mile anti-corrosion/perforation limited warranty. The "Best-Backed Car" program also includes 24-hour emergency roadside assistance with free towing to the nearest authorized Mitsubishi Motors retailer for warranty-related repairs for five years/unlimited miles.View gallery - 7 images