This Was When The Evo Ditched Lightweight Performance For Power And Tech

The Evo III and I4 signaled a decisive design shift.

Mitsubishi's quest for perfection continued in 1995 with the Evolution III. The Evo II won the 1995 WRC race in Sweden and collected four podiums out of 10 starts. This was not nearly enough for Mitsubishi, although it was the Evo's first win. For the Evo III more changes were in store, but it would all be worth it. At the end of the 1995-96 WRC season the Evo III took six wins in eight podiums, out of 18 entries. Although it has a new name, it's more or less a tweaked version of the Evo II.

The natural progression for the WRC saw road stages increasing, and as such there was an added demand for speed. So the Evo evolved accordingly. The adjustments made were minor, but included a slightly improved cooling system, a larger rear wing, brake cooling vents and lower-set suspension. It did get a new turbo that came with an increased compression ratio for its 4G63T, all the way up to 9.0:1. That gave the car ten more horsepower bringing its total to 262. The Evo I-III were all on the same platform, that of the Lancer, but in 1996 it went through major surgery. The Evo IV got a LSD for the front and what Mitsubishi called its "Active YAW Control," which had the responsibility of sending individual torque to the rear wheels.

This helped to eliminate some of the understeer, and the transaxle was rotated 180 degrees to help minimize some of the torque steer. The Evo IV's engine got a new twin-scroll turbocharger that brought the 4G63T up to around 280 horsepower. This new turbo allowed the Evo IV to reach 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, shaving a tenth off of the original Evo I's time.

The direction Mitsubishi took this new generation of Evo seemed to indicate it was no longer going to be all about lightweight performance. The focus seemed to have shifted from that to technology and power. That's where the real fun began. Although the Evo wouldn't come to the US, and for another eight long years Mitsubishi kept steady with making each Evo better than the previous one, all the while keeping the same engine. The Evo IV did better in the 1996-97 WRC season than the Evo III, where consistency was its ally. It still took home six wins, but gathered 12 podiums out of 18 entries.

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