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Mitsubishi Motors Launches Lancer Evolution VIII MR
Hi-Performance 4WD Sports Sedan



Lancer Evolution VIII MR
Tokyo, February 4, 2004 - Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) today announced that the Lancer Evolution VIII MR1 high-performance sports sedan will go on sale at dealerships throughout Japan on February 13. The new series is offered in GSR, RS 5M/T and RS 6M/T trim levels, with prices ranging from 2,740,000 yen up to 3,398,000 yen. MMC is targeting sales of 3,000 units.

The Lancer Evolution series went on sale in the United States for the first time in January 2003 where it immediately proved a great success claiming two major accolades in being named 2004 Car of the Year by Automobile Magazine and by Sport Compact Car Magazine. Sales of the series began in Europe in January this year and Germany's Sport Auto magazine recently chose the car as its Sportiest Car 2003.

Lancer Evolution VIII MR builds on this reputation, pushing the performance envelope even further. It is the first production model in Japan to use a lightweight aluminum roof panel. Other distinguishing features include exclusive Bilstein shock absorbers developed jointly with Bilstein, and BBS lightweight forged alloy wheels (factory-fitted option). The turbocharged engine is tuned to deliver maximum power over the mid-to high-rev band and generates 2.0-liter class-topping torque of 40.8kg-m (400N-m) at 3500 rpm. Detail improvements to the ACD + Super AYC + Sports ABS electronic all-wheel drive control system realize a more natural and better-mannered driving feel and a closer man-machine interaction for true driving pleasure of the highest quality.

MMC retired its works team from the World Rally Championship for the 2003 season to concentrate on developing a new WR Car and rebuilding its motor sport organization around a new subsidiary, MMSP GmbH. The company returned to WRC competition at the 2004 Rallye Monte Carlo in January when the new Lancer WRC04 finished a very creditable sixth on its first outing. Once it receives FIA homologation, the Lancer Evolution VIII MR is expected to provide the base vehicle for professional and amateur competitors alike in motor sport events around the world, the Production Car World Rally Championship included.

Exterior

  • Evolution VIII MR sees no changes in body design over its predecessor but is distinguished by new coloring and exclusive styling trim that accentuate its aggressive ultra-performance machine looks.
  • Matt-black headlamp and rear combination lamp extensions tighten up the facial features front and rear. Turquoise-blue lenses in the projector low-beam lights located outboard in the headlamp units also give accent to the car's aggressive lines.
  • The outboard faces of the rear-deck spoiler plates use a dark gray finish close to the color of the carbon wing, replacing the body color-keyed treatment on Evolution VIII.
  • The "Lancer" emblem at the bottom left and the "Evolution" part of "Evolution MR" at the bottom right of the trunk lid use a dark gray finish, while the "MR" letters are finished in red.
  • The brilliant mirror finish to the muffler tail pipe adds a touch of quality and a highlight to the rear. (All models except the RS 5M/T)
  • Tremendously strong fin-design BBS forged alloy road wheels (factory-fitted option) each weigh 1.25 kg less than the standard wheels. The wheels are finished in a dark gray finish that is coordinated to the overall color scheme.
  • The vortex generator, an innovation in aerodynamics technology and offered as a dealer-fitted accessory, creates small vortices at the trailing end of the roof that reduce drag and increase the downforce generated by the rear-deck spoiler. The generator vanes are finished in the same dark gray as the outer panels of the spoiler.
  • Evolution VIII MR is offered in four body colors that blend tastefully with the exterior styling trim and accessories: Medium-purplish Gray Mica (new); Cool Silver Metallic and Solid Red, which take the MMC corporate colors for their motif; and White Solid, the traditional color for competition models. (RS is available in White Solid only.)

Interior

  • Interior trim is coordinated in dark tones to present a sporty interior that projects the same aggressive and ultra-performance image as the exterior.
  • Retaining the off-black monotone keynote color of its predecessor, Evolution VIII MR uses carbon-finish dash ornamentation and a no-frills black center panel to accent the mechanical, function-oriented nature of the cockpit.
  • The Momo steering wheel has matt-black spokes and a dark titanium-finish center ring that are coordinated with the dashboard color.
  • The Recaro front seats are upholstered in an elegant black monotone suede-look non-slip material. The shoulder support uses a knit fabric with a distinctive high-grip dimple finish that provides better location.
  • The trim uses the same suede-look fabric as the seats to produce a well-coordinated interior.
  • The floor-console is embellished with a classy stainless steel plate embossed with the "Lancer Evolution MR" emblem. As with the trunk lid emblem, "MR" is finished in red to stamp its presence more vividly on the interior.

Engine

  • The well-proven 2-liter in-line 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC intercooler-turbocharged 4G63 engine has undergone detail improvements. The power unit retains Lancer Evolution's trademark flat torque band that kicks in from low engine speeds but now generates gutsier torque in the mid- to high-rev band.*
  • The turbocharger uses a larger turbine nozzle with matching cam profile to deliver higher output at mid- to high engine speeds.*
  • The turbocharger waste gate now uses two solenoids. This optimizes boost pressure control to give more stable torque in the low to mid-range and helps the powerplant to generate class-topping torque of 40.8kg-m (400N-m) at 3,500 rpm.*
  • Durability is improved through shape optimization and reinforcement of the cooling water channels, uprating from a 3-ply to 5-ply head gasket and the use of magnetic ion-coated piston rings.
  • Engine response is improved with the use of lighter silent shafts.
  • Cooling performance is improved with the use of a larger oil cooler that features two extra rows.
    (* RS 5M/T excluded)

Body

  • Evolution VIII MR is the first steel monocoque body Japanese production car to use an aluminum roof panel, reducing vehicle weight by some 4 kg. Reduction of weight in the upper body lowers the vehicle's center of gravity and reduces roll moment to realize a substantial improvement in handling performance.
  • To join the steel monocoque frame and aluminum roof panel, Evolution VIII MR employs an innovative method that uses self-piercing rivets, which expand radially into the steel of the structural member below, and a structural adhesive.
  • The provision of a single longitudinal design bead in the roof panel solves the problem of thermal warping that occurs in the manufacturing process as a result of aluminum having a thermal expansion coefficient nearly twice that of steel. This measure has also enabled any increase in the weight of the roof panel to be minimized.
  • For increased cabin strength, diagonal braces are used to reinforce the roof joins at the front, center and rear pillars.
  • The front door side impact bars use aluminum instead of steel, reducing weight by 3.5 kg while providing the same level of impact safety.

Suspension

  • Shock absorbers jointly developed with Bilstein exclusively for Evolution VIII MR offer superior response characteristics and realize better road holding.
  • The use of different damping rates for the single-tube front and rear shocks and shape optimization of the rear bump stop has resulted in superior levels of handling stability and road holding together with a sporty ride quality.

Electronically-controlled 4WD system

  • Harmonized control of the ACD2, Super AYC3 and Sport ABS4 4WD system components is more finely tuned on Evolution VIII MR after feedback from testing programs and from use in actual competition. As a result, the all-wheel control (AWC) system is tuned with greater bias on sporty and competitive use.
  • On Evolution VIII, the AWC system gave control bias to the Sport ABS in order to stabilize the body attitude under hard braking. For Evolution VIII MR, the system is tuned for optimum response on different road surfaces. More specifically, by keeping ACD + Super AYC control active while Sport ABS is in operation, the car now responds more accurately to steering inputs as it enters, and holds its line better through, corners on dry tarmac and other high-friction surfaces.
  • The weight of the Super AYC unit has been reduced by 800 grams by switching from steel to aluminum for the clutch case and by reviewing the metal clutch disc gauge. The use of high-strength steel for the differential hypoid gears has raised fatigue strength by some 20%.

Manufacturer's suggested retail prices

Trim level Drive Engine Transmission Price
GSR Full-time 4WD 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC with
intercooler/turbocharger
6M/T 3,398,000 yen
RS 3,275,000 yen
5M/T 2,740,000 yen

1 Mitsubishi Racing: a designation first used on the Colt Galant GTO, the first Mitsubishi production car powered by a DOHC engine, and traditionally reserved for the Lancer, GTO and other Mitsubishi high-performance sports models.
2 The Active Center Differential incorporates an electronically controlled hydraulic multi-plate clutch. An ECU optimizes clutch cover clamp load for different driving conditions, regulating the differential limiting action between free (where torque is split equally between front and rear wheels) to locked states. The result is improved steering response together with better traction. ACD operation switches automatically between three modes - Tarmac / Gravel / Snow - to realize quicker control response for changes in road surface. A single ECU provides integrated management of both ACD and Super AYC components.
3 The Active Yaw Control system uses a torque-transfer mechanism in the rear differential. Under ECU control, the system operates to raise cornering performance by transferring torque between the rear wheels as dictated by driving conditions and so control the yaw moment acting on the car body. With Super AYC, the use of a bevel- instead of a planetary-gear differential enables the transfer of almost twice as much the torque between the rear wheels. As well as reducing understeer further, Super AYC acts like a limited slip differential to extend cornering limits. The use of a single ECU to integrally manage Super AYC with the ACD produces a synergism that makes both components operate more effectively than if they were under independent control.
4 The Sport Anti-lock Braking System ECU uses information from a steering angle sensor that detects steering inputs as well as from lateral G and vehicle speed sensors to apportion pressure to each of the four wheels independently. The result is improved steering response under braking. Integral with Sport ABS, MMC's Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) system optimizes allocation of braking force between the front and rear wheels. Increasing the pressure applied to the rear wheels when braking close to the limit, EBD reduces the load acting on the front wheels to realize better anti-fade performance. The system also compensates for changes in surface and vehicle load conditions to ensure predictable and consistent stopping performance at all times.

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