Sleep is a funny thing. Funny because it is laughable how much and how little some people need. Post-secondary students, at least the successful ones, don’t seem to need much of it – they can pull all-nighter after all-nighter when studying for and writing exams. University and College are presumably designed to push students to the limits of their memorizing and sleep-deprivation abilities, as if either were a metric for “intelligence”. You don’t need to be a medical professional to know that the more you exert yourself, either physically or mentally, the more sleep you will require. This is true for much of the study body, but some individuals are able to perform near their peak with limited rest. It is these Mendelian traits that are selected for in Universities, at least the Canadian ones. So when individuals such as myself, who require somewhere around 9 hours of sleep to function well, pursue undergraduate studies, the results aren’t ideal. I bear no resentment against my physiology, only a misguided post-secondary educational system in Canada. Just getting into University ensures that the students are adequetly intelligent. Assuming that entrance requirements create some kind of level playing field, why select for a single attribute when determing our nation’s future doctors, lawyers, and researchers? Shouldn’t we look for more well-rounded individuals? Ahhh, it feels good to vent.
But that’s the past. Now I’m the editor for one of the biggest car enthusiast publications North of 53 degrees latitude (further North than Moscow, even). Which is saying exactly nothing. And I’m okay with that.
But it’s no longer classes, studying, and exams that have me tired these days – it’s everything else. Including the Evo X.
Life can be tough in Edmonton. For those of you unfamiliar with this hamlet-turned-oil-rich-Sheikdom, Edmonton is the Northern-most large city in Canada. With a huge amount of urban sprawl, the city’s government is unable to properly maintain all of the roads in Alberta’s arctic capital. So how do people get around this forsaken ice world? Well it’s mostly with depressing trucks and SUVs, if I’m honest, but also with all-wheel-drive turbocharged rally cars, of course! At least this is what the prosperous youth who shy away from three quarter-ton diesel trucks drive. And we happen to know one such youth by the name of Sharbel Derosa. Sharbel was generous enough to loan us his “lightly”-modded 2008 Evo X GSR recently on an unusually warm December afternoon and we’re here to share our findings.
By “modded”, I don’t mean that is has a really big spoiler (it has a big one, just not a really big one) and an exhaust tip from Canadian Tire. By “modded” I mean ETS turbo back exhaust, Ultimate Racing downpipe and oxygen housing, Ultimate Racing test pipe, ETS intercooler piping, Agency Power cold air intake, Greddy boost controller, Blitz throttle controller, AMS shifter bushings, AMS short shifter, HKS blow-off valve, Blizzak lM-25 winter tires, blacked out tail lights, and front tinted headlights. This takes the stock ~260 awhp to a staggering ~360 awhp. This car is truly a one-of-a-kind.
The new Evo is the first one to be sold in Canada legally by Mitsubishi. Canadian car enthusiasts have gazed longingly to the south for long(ingly) enough. This new Evo is based on the Lancer platform but adds just a couple of minor tweaks. These minor tweaks include AWD with advanced torque-vectoring, a huge turbo, giant Brembo brakes, a widened and lowered body, dual exhaust tips, and the option of a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Like I said, minor minor tweaks.
Ok, so it’s an insanely a pretty powerful car and we all know that it has a rather complex AWD system with yaw control, but it’s the way the vehicle delivers its power that is so fatiguing. I don’t think many Evo owners have insomnia, because they’ve all had very demanding days. The ETS exhaust is enjoyably engaging most of the time but for long-distance travel, with only a 5th gear to cruise in, it can drone like an RQ1 Predator UAV.
I should also mention that the 3rd gear synchros in Sharbel’s Evo were more messed up than a post-colonial African nation, so for the purpose of the feature, I drove a 4-speed Evo X. Third gear could be coaxed into functioning, but by the time that happened, the turbo had unspooled and I was subjected to that sinusoidally-mapped powerband again. I told you this car was a one-of-a-kind.
The turbo has a fair bit of lag below 3,000 rpm but once it hits that mark it ferociously rips to the redline . It’s a good thing the 5-speed gear action is good because you’ll definitely need to make use of it to stay in the powerband that lasts only fractionally longer than your job in this recession.
Those who lament the lack of six forward gears can opt for a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This DSG-wannabe is only available on the up-level MR spec which is $6000 more expensive and much less tunable. Those going for that option will miss out on a very direct and mechanical action. The shifts aren’t the lightest or smoothest though, so be sure to talk to your Gold’s Gym trainer about strengthening that right side before tackling the Evo X. Keep this in mind the next time you see a guy on the street with a rippling, Hulk-like right arm and a pitiful left one – he may not be the kind of self-gratifier you think he is.
The steering in the Evo X was very direct and the off-centre response is immediate. There isn’t a ton of feel through the steering wheel though, so although I could quickly and sharply point the front wheels, I couldn’t always tell how much grip I had. The truth of the matter is that there was probably way more grip than I cared to find out. Those Blizzaks just wouldn’t let go.
The steering wheel itself was a good size but it didn’t telescope to allow me to bring the wheel closer to my chest. This is one of my biggest pet peeves because it just screams of bean-counter design. Look no further than a Honda Fit to see that a great interior doesn’t need to come with a big sticker price. Mitsubishi apparently spent all of their interior dollars and cents on the phenomenal pair of Recaro seats. I can’t say I blame them because they really do enhance the driving experience. I get the feeling that the driving experience was the number one priority for Mitsu on this car, and we should all be grateful for that.
The Evo X is made for the young (and young at heart) because the ride and noises are targetted at boy-racers. This may sound like a criticism, but it isn’t because if you are a boy-racer, you’ll have a tough time getting better bang for your buck. At only about $45,000, including all the mods, Sharbel’s Evo X is a bargain. With some of the money you save on the car, you can buy some stocks in Esso and PetroCan. This will ensure some return on your gasoline investment. The Lancer-on-steroids is seriously thirsty with an estimated range of about 200 km when driving aggressively, which is all the time. If I were careful, I probably could have eked out about 400 km from a tank. Still not great. But who cares?
Next time you see the Evo X’s shark-mouth grille in your rear-view mirror, it would probably be a good idea to let him go around you. Sharbel has places to go.