Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that the Lancer Evolution IX high-performance 4WD sports sedan would go on sale from March 2005 in some markets. With a 2.0-liter intercooler-turbocharged engine powering all four wheels through an electronically controlled 4WD system, Evolution IX raises all dynamic performance parameters to a new level.
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX marks the 12th model in the series, which has also included an automatic transmission model, since the Lancer Evolution debuted in October 1992. Major features distinguishing the latest model include the adoption of Mitsubishi's proprietary MIVEC variable valve timing technology in the intake system and improvements to the turbocharger that result in higher torque and produce better response for improved engine performance across its full rev range. New front and rear bumpers bring both high aerodynamics and cooling performance.
The Evo IX is offered in three trim levels. The flagship GSR grade features Mitsubishi Motors' cutting-edge ACD + Super AYC + Sports ABS electronically controlled all-wheel control component system and a 6-speed manual gearbox. The motorsport-specification RS uses a special lightweight body, a new titanium-magnesium turbocharger, 5-speed gearbox and ACD + mechanical rear LSD all-wheel control. New for Evolution IX is the GT grade that brings together RS's turbocharger and drivetrain specification and GSR's comfort-bias body with its enhanced sound deadening. Allowing owners to customize their Evolution IX's to individual needs and preferences, a comprehensive range of factory- and dealer-fitted options as well as Ralliart tuning and dress up parts are available.
In an integral molding, the new front bumper houses an oversize mesh grille to raise engine cooling efficiency and also locates the Mitsubishi 3-diamond emblem. All unnecessary openings on the undersurface of the bumper have been closed off to reduce air resistance. The new rear bumper features a diffuser undersurface in a distinctive design that shapes the corners to stabilize air flow detachment and reduce drag and that adds to Evolution's sedan-racer looks. The rear wing assembly uses molded vertical components color-keyed to the body and a carbon-fiber hollow spoiler that lowers the center of gravity. Dark-clear extensions on headlamps and rear lamps enhance the car's premium appearance. GSR and GT trim levels run on Enkei 17x8JJ lightweight 5-double-spoke alloy road wheels that are 0.15 kg per wheel lighter than those fitted to Evolution VIII MR. Evolution IX is available with a new air dam extension and rear wing Gurney flap (dealer options) that further improve aero efficiency. These advanced aero devices improve high-speed handling and stability by reducing front and rear wheel lift and enhancing the front-rear aero balance.
Dashboard ornamentation on GSR and GT models is clear coated with a rich carbon-like finish. GSR and GT models use new alloy accelerator, brake and clutch pedals designed for sport driving as well as to accent the sedan-racer look to the cockpit. GSR uses Recaro bucket seats. The squab facing uses non-slip Alcantara suede upholstery that keeps the occupant fresh and comfortable even on longer journeys while the side bolster facings are covered in genuine leather making the seats easier to get in and out of and also adding a touch of choice luxury to the interior. GSR is equipped with a carbon shifter panel embellished with the Lancer Evolution logo. GSR and GT models use a high-density dash silencer and double-sealing weatherstrips that reduce interior noise levels.
For the Lancer Evolution IX the 4G63 engine gains Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve timing technology that improves top-end output as well as fuel efficiency. MIVEC technology allows GSR to return 10.0 km/l in the Japanese 10-15 mode driving cycle, equivalent to a three percent improvement in mileage. On GSR, the turbocharger uses a lengthened diffuser to generate more low-end and mid-range torque (400 N-m(40.8 kg-m)/3000rpm) as well as bring a significant improvement in response (average 5%) across the full rev range. On the RS and GT, the turbocharger compressor wheel uses magnesium alloy instead of aluminum alloy. This brings a dramatic improvement in supercharging response. Mated to a 5-speed gearbox with higher torque capacity, the engine has been tuned to generate maximum torque of 407 N-m(41.5 kg-m)/3000rpm. The 5-speed transmission used on the RS and GT derives from the close-ratio competition gearbox but has a revised top gear ratio for improved high-speed cruising.
New rear springs lower vehicle height slightly, improving rear end stability (GSR and GT) and allowing the Super AYC to operate more effectively and improve steering response (GSR). Features retained on Evolution IX include: Evolution's well-proven lightweight and high rigidity body featuring the aluminum roof panel pioneered on Evolution VIII MR (all grades); jointly-developed Bilstein hi-response shock absorbers (GSR and GT); Mitsubishi's ACD + Super AYC + Sports ABS electronically controlled all-wheel control system (GSR); and Brembo ventilated disc brakes (GSR and GT).
The ACD 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 and locked states. The result is improved steering response together with better traction. ACD provides three modes — Tarmac / Gravel / Snow — to enable quicker control response for changes in road surface. A single ECU provides integrated management of both ACD and Super AYC components.
Mitsubishi's 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. In an evolutionary step, switching from the use of a bevel to a planetary gear differential gave Super AYC the ability to transfer almost twice the torque between the rear wheels. As well as reducing understeer further, it delivers LSD-level traction. The use of a single ECU to integrally manage Super AYC with the ACD results in a synergism that makes both components operate more effectively than if they were under independent control.
The ABS 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. Mitsubishi's Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) system, integral with Sports ABS, 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 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.