2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

We expect the new Lancer Evolution to appear in Frankfurt, but Mitsubishi apparently couldn't wait to show off its new baby, so it made public these pictures (the better to sex up its financial results press release).

Mitsubishi's rally-bred superhero has grown larger and looks more polished--just like the Lancer on which it's based, which is taller, wider, and rides on a longer wheelbase than the previous model.

As is the case with the outgoing car, the new Evolution's mechanical package revolves around a turbocharged, DOHC, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. We don't yet know the output figures for the all-new four-cylinder, but Mitsubishi has said that the engine is some 53 pounds lighter than the old one. The all-wheel-drive system again will feature driver-selectable settings for gravel, pavement, and snow, but the system will also incorporate active yaw control, which directs power to the outside rear wheel when cornering. Expect stability control to finally join the party as well.

An available six-speed dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters is perhaps the biggest mechanical news for the new Evolution. The dual-clutch automatic transmission is a bit of mechanical sophistication that's echoed in the car's new design, which has less of an aftermarket look about it. We don't want to see the new Evo's driving experience get too polished, however. We hope there still will be enough of the raw-edged excitement that has made the current Evo a favorite of ours.

The new Evo X should go on sale in the United States early next year as an '08 model. (Evo X, which refers to the tenth generation of Mitsubishi's ultrahot compact, is strictly the insiders' term, by the way; the car's official name in the States once again will be Lancer Evolution). There's no word yet on price, but we don't expect it to drift too far from that of the current car, which ranges from $29,774 to $36,924.

Our assistant editor Sam Smith just returned from Tokyo, where he drove the Evo X. His driving impressions will be in the November 2007 issue (on sale the first week of October) and will be available here on the Website October 4th. Check back then!

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