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2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR - Four Seasons Update - February 2009

Months in Fleet: SevenApproximate mileage: 17,600

Our Evolution has been a blast in the snow, of which we've seen a lot this winter, although there has been some griping about the limited-slip front differential. When you're playing in snow, the car has some initial understeer, and a few staffers have complained that they can feel the torque transfer through the steering wheel. Still, no other Four Seasons car has an all-wheel-drive system this advanced, let alone a dual-clutch transmission.

Web producer Evan McCausland decided to have a little fun on Darwin's birthday, which included driving the Evolution home for the night. Apparently the police were also aware of Darwin's birthday and made sure to keep McCausland in check: "It's easy enough to drive this car like you stole it, but even at legal speeds, cops were over this like white on rice." Luckily, we installed an Escort Passport 9500ci in the Evo, and so far, the Passport has allowed us to have fun; no one has reported receiving a speeding ticket while driving this car.

The Evo's rather large rear wing, though, is drawing some complaints. Technical editor Don Sherman would like to remove it. McCausland wants an explanation of the wing's purpose, "Seeing as the car's a bit nervous at high speeds, I wonder exactly what aero purpose it serves." Though we aren't sure of the utility of the wing, it's certainly a staple of the Evo's design.

As we reported last month, the Evo needed some repairs from a collision with a cement wall; the bill was $1186.10 for paint and labor in addition to $950 for a replacement wheel. This incident also caused us to lose at least two weeks behind the wheel of the car, due to the wait for a paint shop and for parts to arrive. One lesson to be gleaned from our experience is that, despite snow tires and a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, the Evo is still bound by the laws of physics and caution needs to be exercised when driving in a blizzard.

We still love the Evo's steering feel, Recaro bucket seats, and thrust of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four, but the car's excessive fuel consumption, numerous squeaks and rattles, and stereo continue to draw complaints, especially when considering the $41,515 sticker price. However, those who want a 5.3-second 0-to-60-mph time and all-wheel drive don't have many other options. Check back next month to see if our feelings for the Evolution change as winter turns to spring.

2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

Base Price: $38,965As Tested: $41,515

Overview: Body Style: 4-door sedanAccommodation: 5 passengerConstruction: Steel unibody

Powertrain: Engine: DOHC 16-valve turbocharged I-4Displacement: 2.0 litersPower: 291 hp @ 6500 rpmTorque: 300 lb-ft @ 4400 rpmTransmission: 6-speed dual-clutch semi-automaticDrive: All-wheelFuel Economy: 17/22/19 (city/highway/combined)

Chassis: Steering: Power rack-and-pinionTurns lock-to-lock: 2.27Turning Circle: 38.7 ftSuspension, Front: Strut-type, coil springSuspension, Rear: Multi-link, coil-springBrakes, F/R: Ventilated disc, two-piece rotor/ventilated disc; ABSWheels: 18 x 8.5 in BBS forged alloyTires: Yokohama ADVANTire size: 245/40YR-18

Measurements: Headroom F/R: 40.6/36.9 inLegroom F/R: 42.3/33.3 inShoulder room F/R: 54.7/54.3 inWheelbase: 104.3 inTrack F/R: 60.8/60.8 inL x W x H: 177 x 71.3 x 58.3 inCargo Capacity: 6.9 cu ftWeight: 3594 lbWeight Dist. F/R: 57.4/42.6%Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallonsEst. Range: 275 milesFuel Grade: 91 octane

Standard EquipmentABS and ESPFront, side, side curtain, and knee airbagsTire Pressure Monitoring SystemFront and rear limited slip DifferentialsActive center differentialBluetooth handsfree communicationAutomatic A/CCruise ControlRecaro front sports seatsHID headlights

Options: Technology Package, $2550   Navigation with 30 GB hard drive   650-watt Rockford-Fosgate 9-speaker sound system with subwoofer   Sirius satellite radio

Test Results: 0-60 MPH: 5.3sec0-100 MPH: 14.4 sec1/4-Mile: 14.1 @ 99 mph30-70 Passing: 6.3 secSpeed in Gears: 1) 45; 2) 82; 3) 108; 4) 100; 5) 100 mphCornering L/R: 0.97/0.96 g70-0 Braking: 156 ftPeak Braking: 1.06

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