Country of Origin: Japan
Class: Sport Compact
Type: 4-door sedan
Price as Tested: $9,582 (GT4 used car lot)
Starting Mileage: 41,444.6
Length: 169.7" // Width: 66.7" // Height: 54.9"
Overhang: 5 feet 11 inches
Track: 57.1" [Front
Ground Clearance: 5.9"
Construction: unit steel body, aluminum hood
Weight: 2,733 pounds
Steering: power-assisted rack & pinion
Layout: Front-Engine / All-Wheel Drive
Tires: 195/55R-15 84v
Macpherson strut, coils, anti-roll bar
R. Suspension: multilink, coils, anti-roll bar
Brakes: vented disc [F] solid
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline-4
Construction: aluminum block & heads
air-to-water intercooled turbo
Fuel ystem: EFi
Valves / Cyl: 4
Final BHP: 246 @ 6,000 rpms
Fnl Torque: 227 @
Credits per HP: $38.95
Pounds per HP: 11.11
HP per Liter:
Idle Speed: 1,000 // Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 7,500
Transmission: 5-speed manual.
Limited-Slips: 1 in rear, 1 in center
```````````````from idle ```````````from 3,000->6,000 rpms
0-60 mph: 7.433 seconds
0-100mph: 17.383 seconds 17.xxx seconds
400 M: 15.393 @ 95 mph
1 KM: 27.879 @ 121
Brakes, 100-zero mph: 3.76 seconds
Test Track Time: 2:45.707
Top Gear RPM @ 60 mph: 2,800
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 34 mph
2nd: 56 mph
3rd: 77 mph
4th: 104 mph
5th: 140.8 mph
@ 6,700 rpms
-------------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY--------------
One of the things I like to do as a car-enthusiast is see how things were early-on in a car's history.
To learn the history, the evolution, of every car I drive. And with the 1992 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR,
we have a golden chance to do just this.
The '92 Evolution in Gran Turismo 4 is not found in earlier GT games. As the first of the Evolution series,
it oddly doesn't appear. Even in GT2, where a total of 10 versions of Lancer Evolutions (or ‘Evos’)
can be found at used & new car lots, or won as prizes. Why is this? Or is there a reason? Did the original Evo
get left out because it's not good enough? Let's find out.
The story of what was to become Mitsubishi's star throughout the '90s has been told many times in many magazines
and on many websites, but I feel compelled to tell it again.
Basically, Mitsubishi had been involved with
rally racing throughout the '70s and '80s. Towards the end of the '80s and into the '90s, their Galant VR-4 had some successes,
but as other makes began abandoning larger designs for smaller ones (like when Subaru stopped supporting their Legacy, replacing
it with the Impreza) Mitsubishi's Galant was simply too big and outdated; hence, the Lancer Evolution was born.
was a more race-ready design than the regular front-drive Lancer or the Galant VR-4. To qualify for the
prestigious World Rally Championship (WRC) Class A, 2,500 examples needed to be built. And it took just days
before they were sold, so Mitsubishi made 2,500 more!
There were two versions of the first Evolution: the GSR and the RS.
The GSR was based (as it is throughout the rest of Evolution history) on the racing versions, in order to qualify for the
WRC class system. It has the same dimensions, some of the same specs, but is civilian-friendly with typical features like
air-conditioning, power steering, and a radio.
The RS, on the other hand, is more bare-bones...designed for those
who want to race on an amateur level. Power-seats & windows, air-conditioning, the ABS braking system, and (I think but I
may be wrong) the radio were removed in an effort to save weight. The wheels of the RS were lighter, as well. These were smart
moves by Mitsubishi, since amateur racing would soar throughout the '90s, along with professional racing. Did they know that
The original Lancer Evolution was sold in a very limited market, which was slowly expanded from Japan
to other parts of Asia and Australia. In America, we didn't get Evolutions until 1999, matter of fact, after Mitsubishi execs
started noticing healthy American sales by Subaru's WRX STI. Mitsubishi apparently had something to prove, and finally brought
their long-lived battle with the STi to American shores.
....But none of that happened yet. In 1992, the Lancer Evolution was young, eager to prove its worth. We
can find this car in the used car lot #1, along with others sold in the early '90s. Unfortunately, there
isn't an RS version in GT4. Bummer.
At 2,733 pounds, the original Evolution started its life as a light-weight (considering
it is a 4-door sedan with an all-wheel drivetrain and two sets of limited-slip devices). The GSR saved a bit of weight
with its aluminum hood, and the RS may have replaced additional components here and there, as well. Unlike
later versions, the original Evolution is on the demure side. The wing on the trunk hadn't become the giant rack
we're familiar with from later versions.
The original Evo might have looked completely ordinary if WRC regulations
didn't have the production versions needed to enter the qualifying class mirror the racing versions. Basically, all the scoops,
vents, spoilers, wheel arches, and wings, etc. found on WRC race cars must also appear (and be functional) on the production
versions. This is why the front '92 Evo bumper is so large, and also has air ducts. That intercooler sits right up front and
needs to be fed!
So this is very interesting to me. Like the original Mustang, Z-car, and Civic (all of which appear somewhere
in the Gran Turismo series), the Lancer Evolution was about to jump in and conquer.
---------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------
It all starts here, with Mitsubishi's all-aluminum 1997 cc dual-overhead cam inline 4. This
small engine had some advanced features for 1992, like its air-to-water intercooled turbo system. Variable-valve timing and
other features found in later Evos hadn't come into play yet, but still, 246 horsepower with 227
foot-pounds wasn't a bad place to start in 1992.
Three levels of tuning are available on the aftermarket, folks; either from Ralli-Art
or one of the various tuning shops. A Stage 5 turbo can also be bought from these shops, but it merely broadens
the power-band as you drive to make lower revs available for usefulness--it doesn't increase power over a Stage 3, and
seems not entirely necessary since it barely increases max-torque. This depends, though. Plenty of gamers say Stage 5 becomes
useful at technical slow/fast tracks where the engine's entire power-band comes into play.
But for tops, a Stage
3 system boasts 458 bhp and 398 foot-pounds. This will be our greatest achievement
in GT4. Maybe not as much as some later Evolutions, but also not anything to sneeze at.
The 5-speed transmission, while stock, feels appropriately configured; although I
found myself wanting a taller first gear for standing-start races. 2nd gear starts tend to bog down unless you have at least
Stage 3 power...so 1st is necessary to get the best launches, but it unfortunately maxes quickly at 34 mph. Actually, the
first four gears are closely matched, but 5th is thankfully taller--the Evo is therefore geared like some Civics. This
translates to: great down-low acceleration that won't end with the 2.0 liter engine maxing out of revs (like some later Lancer
Evos are prone to).
Though peak torque starts at 3,000 rpms, useful torque for racing situations starts at about
5,000. Turbo lag at any level isn't great, but at times as I slogged thru the 5-race Japan Championship, I found
myself choosing the wrong gear and really wishing I hadn't.
Finally, and this is important, please notice where the power-band unofficially ends. Peak power
is at 6,000 rpms, the redline is at 7,000, and just before we reach redline, the speed really
drops off in any gear higher than 2nd. Automatic tranny users won't feel this anamoly too often, but manual ones should try
and shift just slightly before the redline, to let the small engine dig back down to about 5,000 and keep speed coming on.
Sometimes, you will find the stock tranny just won't cut it, even if it's not maxing in revs, and then a
full-custom transmission becomes necessary. I found this out in the first race of the Japan Championship
at Fuji. It didn't seem to matter how much power I used, at about 147 mph, the poor Evolution starts
to struggle to get any faster. And where does the tach needle play at this speed? Just around redline.
I theorized that a combination of blocky sedan aerodynamics and that "drop from the cliff" power near redline
were to blame for the wall of speed I hit. After buying and tweaking a full-custom transmission, the Lancer Evolution
GSR was finally able to move past 147 thru the 150s, just as I'd predicted.
-------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------
The Evolution series has long been known for its trademark handling traits: hoards of traction that
help them accelerate faster than some sports cars, gymnastic maneuverability in and out of corners...all in an otherwise user-friendly
4-door. Did things start this way?
The quick answer is an immediate and definite NO!
From the get-go, as I started the Evolution Meeting races, I noticed the difference between this
original Evo and its later cousins. All Lancer Evos understeer, as we know, but this can be overcome to some degree with
settings and driving style. Plus, some later Evos, with their sophisticated yaw and drivetrain systems, display a compromise
between understeer and rear-end assistance that helps you get thru corners.
Well, in the first Evo, get ready, because in this car, it's ALL UNDERSTEER! And I
mean lots of it. After a few laps, it gets downright maddening!
The regular Lancer (not the Evo) started as a front-drive with a transverse engine-layout. The all-wheel
drive Evo has as system of 2 differentials carried over from the Galant VR-4 rally cars: one in the rear, and a viscous one
in the center of the car.
Obviously, these were used to assist traction, and the real-life racing versions no doubt
used the same (or at least a similar but more advanced) system. But they were racing off-road! On pavement, it seems
like overkill to have both differentials, but this is what the car had when it was stock, so this is what we're stuck with
in the game.
The best cure? After I bought the VCD controller and dialed it with a 10/90
front to rear bias, things changed for the better. In later Evolutions (not to mention Skylines and STis) using a
VCD is not recommended; it will screw up the fine-tuned acrobatic nature of these autos. But I couldn't help but notice
most of that troublesome understeer had vanished after I installed the VCD in my '92 GSR. The difference was tremendous.
As I increased power for various races, I even noticed that with partial stage 2 turbo tuning (400 hp),
the GSR starts to power-oversteer out of tighter corners. With full stage 2 tuning (430-ish hp) one must be careful with standing-start
races like at Suzuka, because the rear wheels have a tendency to smoke up with excessive power (just as if the car was mostly
rear-drive). That gentle power-oversteer I mentioned above becomes a full display of rear-end excessiveness as Stage
2 is replaced by Stage 3...the car is now fully capable of drifting on sports tires, but is also heavily prone towards
spin-outs if you're not careful.
However, not all of that understeer goes away, especially late-corner. Enough of it sticks with the GSR,
which I found out the hard way. Just when I'd find myself getting too confident and too eager to drive off a corner,
that's when understeer returns in small doses, but large enough to make me say whoa! This led to extra taps on those brakes.
Extra-cautious corner maneuvering ... massively slow, in an effort to avoid that dreaded understeer showing up later. It's
The good stuff starts to happen off-road, at any of GT4's Special Condition
dirt & snow events. Now, the Lancer Evo GSR feels completely at ease. The acres of understeer felt while driving
on pavement are now gone. While off-road, YOU are now in full control. With a tendency to slide or glide into corners
of all kinds, the Evo can easily pull out of them...its understeery nature now a huge PLUS, rather than a drag. And actually,
there isn't much understeer off-road, but just enough to pull you back to safety when this car gets sideways.
you'll notice, the original Evo is like later ones in that it LOVES to get sideways off-road, and can maintain long, aggressive
drifts in the dirt...without extra help from a VCD, limited-slips, or extensive suspension
tuning. This car can do great things off-road while it's nearly stock!
So overall, the first Lancer Evolution GSR was fully operational as a production car, had some power and
some positive traits, yet in some ways was below-average as a tarmac racing car apparently. The tweaks that make the
later Evos so great apparently hadn't been made, yet.
1). Inexpensive. An original '92 Lancer Evolution GSR (despite its low production numbers)
apparently isn't in high demand like some other Japanese sporty cars, and is still very affordable at less than $10,000 from
the used lots.
2). 246 horsepower to start with. 4 stages of intercooled turbos (stages 1 thru 3 + a stage
5) are available on the aftermarket. A great leap of power happens just with basic stage 1 turbo tuning + oil change.
3). Great acceleration till about 100 mph from such a small engine. The original Evo started its reputation
for eagerly nailing speed to the pavement early. This isn't some sluggish vehicle like the original Trueno, Skyline, or RX7.
4). All-wheel drive traction, all the time. :tup:
5). The stock 5-speed allows plenty of acceleration in the first 4 gears, and 5th is configured higher to
prevent the engine from maxing in revs.
6). There's something about the somewhat plain '92 GSR missing in later versions, so far as looks go. This
car has "sleeper" written all over.
7). Decently middle-weight. Later Evos (you'll notice) get heavier and heavier. 329 pounds can be removed
at best from the '92 Evo.
8). One of the best cars I've ever driven off-road. Period.
1). Good lord this car loves to understeer! The advanced traction systems of later Evos hadn't been employed yet
to reduce this unfortunate trait.
2). Early, heavy braking (and sometimes additional mid-corner taps on the brakes) needed to avoid this understeer.
3). Great acceleration, but lots of gear-shifting is involved to achieve it. 1st gear in particular would
be perfect for the tight hairpins and elevation changes of a dirt track, but feels too short on pavement. And sometimes, you
have to use 1st!
4). 5th gear is taller than the rest when stock, but not tall enough to accelerate past 150 mph, even with
lots of power.
5). Narrow power-band. At times, your speed will bog, and at other times, it will slow to a crawl as you
near the redline, especially in 3rd gear or higher.
6). Full-custom transmission needed to solve the issues of Cons #3 thru 5.
7). VCD controller (set with a nearly-full rear-wheel bias) needed to counteract the understeer of Con #1.
This isn't so with later Evos.
8). Not as inspiring to drive on pavement as later Evos, for all the reasons listed so far. This car
(before we heavily tweak and modify it) disappoints more than it encourages.
9). Also a bit ‘plain-jane’. Some buyers may find its looks too ordinary when compared to later
10). Despite being a 4-cylinder, gas usage is on the high side. A bar of fuel vanishes just after doing
a complete lap at Suzuka or Fuji, for instance.
11). 195 tread-width tires. This car could have started with a wider gauge, which would have improved braking
and cornering. That would probably contradict its real-life Class A WRC requirements, though.
Published: June 7th, 2008