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Evo Xtinction

Between the Evo series and the STi series, there has always been a great difference in the ways these two cars achieve speed. The Mitsubishi performance cars have transverse mounted engines with front biased AWD systems, while Subaru seems to do the direct opposite. An Evo has a less ‘ideal’ weight distribution, but is capable of developing more power thanks to the bulletproof block.

Admittedly, it’s taken a while before the tuners have started to mess around with the Mitsubishi Evo X models. Despite the model being so old at this point, most enthusiasts have chosen to stick with Evo 8s or Evo 9s, and you rarely see a modified Evo X on the road.

But times change. With a great deal of grey market Evo Xs on the market, it was only a matter of time before the tuners would take these cars apart.

The Evo X is special in the sense that it was a drastic change from the previous generation, but in addition to this it will have no direct successor. With Mitsubishi scrapping the Evolution program and their rally car development, along with Ralliart, the Evo X will be the last of its kind. There has been a lot of speculation as to what the next generation of Mitsubishi rally car will be, ranging from things like a range extender concept, to a hybrid system, to even a turbodiesel powerplant. But the future, for now, is a mystery.

This particular example of the Evo X has numerous performance modifications. In stock form, the Evo X produces close to 300 hp at the crank. The cars’ driveline components are capable of taking much more, given how their rally-going cars share the same components (though shocks and springs and arms are all custom fabricated or high end to absorb the rough nature of a rally course).

Reading the list of components in this Evo X build is similar to reading off an HKS catalogue. Components like the race cams, intercooler, BOV, spark plugs and oil cooler are all sourced from HKS. The stock turbocharger is replaced by the GT7460R unit from HKS as well, for a higher power output. Apart from these high end HKS parts, there are other items that were put into place to tie the package together. On the intake size is a Gruppe M carbon fibre kit. FIC 750cc injectors were also installed to allow more fuel into the cylinder. And on the other end is a Fullrace exhaust manifold, paired with an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system.

The entire setup runs on the stock ECU, although an Ecutec reflash was necessary to accommodate the new turbocharger, and to bring the power to a more ridiculous figure. Defi gauges are placed strategically around the interior, allowing the driver to monitor the temperature and oil pressures of the various systems. Most turbocharged cars are usually pretty wild when running on maximum boost settings, so an HKS EVC-S boost controller was also installed to lower the boost pressure when it isn’t as necessary. This translates to marginally better fuel economy and better controllability in low grip situations or on the daily grind.

One of the issues that the Evo X had was that the twin-clutch SST gearbox would overheat when placed in extreme conditions. This is an even larger problem in Malaysia where our climate is not forgiving to car components. While it is possible to order a manual Evo X, or even retrofit a gearbox, it would be too costly. In order to mitigate this huge issue (imagine a gearbox that overheats after a few laps at Sepang), an HKS SST oil cooler was installed, following in line with the numerous HKS components in the engine bay.

I have come to appreciate the usefulness of electronic damper control. Low damping rates are useful for highway cruising, while quicker dampers are better for hard core driving. The difference can be enough to throw a car completely off course, case in point where I’ve actually caught a little bit of air on the NKVE when I hit a small undulation at high speeds. It’s unnerving, which is the reason adjustable dampers are an important feature. The owner decided to install Tein Monoflex dampers with an EDFC, or Electronic Damping Force Controller. This little device allows the driver to adjust the settings on the fly, instead of having to fine tune it at a shop over a day or weekend. To curb body roll, a Cusco anti-roll bar was thrown into the mix.

With great power, comes great responsibility, a responsibility to upgrade your brakes lest you wish to run into a concrete barrier when they fade or burn out. Stock Evo brakes are great, but Alcon six-pot and four-pot calipers offer superior braking performance with such a large contact area.

In addition to making sure the car can stop, the owner also needed to make sure the tyres wouldn’t light up every time he prodded the throttle. 18-inch Advan Racing RS wheels were put on all four corners, wrapped n Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, which are 245 section. The sticky rubber helps to maintain the car’s purchase on the road surface.

With the 10th generation Evo came a massive change to the looks. With each of the previous generations of the Mitsubishi Evo, you could trace the styling changes over time. But the Evo X was so radically different that it stood out- although the standard Lance followed suit in this styling change too. In order to set it apart, the owner swapped the regular bonnet for a Varis carbon fibre hood, so you can easily see this Evo X in your rear view mirror and get out of the way quickly.

There are many older Evos on the road that are capable of putting down more than 400 horses on the road. There was even an Evo in Greece that was said to produce 1000 hp. But if you ignore all of the raw power figures, at the heart is a car that handles well and drives well. The car you end up with after tuning is affected heavily by the car you start with. And the Evo X is a great car, if you know what you’re doing with it.

Car: Mitsubishi Evo X 
Engine Mods: HKS race cams, ARP head studs, HKS GT7460R turbocharger, HKS Type-R intercooler, Gruppe M carbon fiber air intake kit, HKS SSQV blow-off valve, Okada Project plasma direct ignition kit, HKS Super Fire spark plugs, FIC 750cc injectors, HKS Circle Earth grounding kit, Koyo aluminium radiator, HKS oil cooler, Fullrace exhaust manifold, complete Akrapovic titanium exhaust system 
Electronics: Ecutec ECU reflash, Defi gauges oil temperature + oil pressure + exhaust temperature, HKS EVC-S 
Transmission: HKS SST transmission oil cooler kit 
Chassis & Handling: Tein Monoflex with EDFC, Cusco anti-roll bar 
Brakes: Alcon 6-piston calipers (front), Alcon 4-piston calipers (rear) 
Wheels & Tyres: Advan Racing RS 18-inch, Michelin Pilot Sport 245/40/ZR18 tyres 
Interior: Stock 
Exterior: Varis carbon fiber hood 
Garage: N1 Racing

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