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  Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII RS

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Country of origin:Japan
Introduced in:2004
Source:Company press release
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe eighth Lancer Evolution was developed on the Lancer sedan chassis that was first introduced to the U.S. market in the fall of 2001. Every Lancer Evolution unibody begins life on the same assembly line as the base Lancer economy sedans. The Lancer chassis has served as the basis of the Lancer Evolution family of vehicles since 1992; its chassis and four-wheel independent suspension readily accepting the modifications that helped this vehicle achieve supercar status. The modifications implemented on the previous versions of the Lancer Evolution sedan represent the lessons learned by Mitsubishi through competition on the World Rally circuit.

To achieve a curb weight lower than the already-lean Lancer Evolution, the Lancer Evolution RS sheds several non-essential items. Most notable from outside, the RS is not bedecked with the Lancer Evolution's distinctive rear wing spoiler. The high-intensity discharge headlights also were deleted, as was the rear window wiper. Inside, RS drivers must make do without an air conditioning system or an AM/FM/CD audio system. There are no power mechanisms for the windows, locks, or side mirrors. Trunk compartment trim has been removed, as have vanity mirrors, rear assist grips, map lamps, and the parking brake lever's leather covering. An antilock brake system is not available.

The Lancer Evolution RS doesn't compromise performance, whether performance is defined as straight-ahead acceleration or exit speed out of an apex. Higher performance is achieved in part by lowering the vehicle's mass, but the RS is also better equipped to handle lateral motion, thanks to the addition of its front limited slip differential.

This helical limited slip differential (LSD) takes the place of the Lancer Evolution's open front differential, giving the RS mechanical front and rear differentials that split power delivery between their respective left and right wheels, and a center differential that splits the power between front and rear. The front differential's helical design provides it with smooth operation and superior responsiveness. Small in both size and weight, the helical unit does not require special oil or additional maintenance.

Helical-type limited-slip differentials offer several advantages over the clutch-type or viscous LSDs. Viscous limited-slip units tend to wear out after extended use, as their oil is heated and reheated until it degrades, rendering the unit ineffective. Clutch-type differentials provide good off-the-line traction, but the 50/50 stability that's beneficial in a straight line is not so desirable when a vehicle is turning. The helical-type limited slip provides better durability and performance when it's needed most: while turning. Unlike an open differential, which shifts power to the wheel with less grip, the helical LSD constantly shifts the bias toward the wheel that has more traction.

Under straight-line acceleration, power remains evenly split between the front wheels. While cornering (e.g. accelerating out of a turn), the helical LSD directs power away from the inside wheel and toward the outside wheel, allowing the driver to begin accelerating earlier and exit the turn at a higher speed, without losing traction in the process. Performance is also improved on slippery mud or snow that's often encountered on isolated dirt roads, where the Lancer Evolution series spent much of its development.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications User Comments (5)