I was running late and the sun was already beginning to set in Mumbai. Karan Shah of KS Motorsports wanted to show me a few places where we could shoot the next day, and was waiting for me at the intersection. Rush hour was upon us and by the time I reached Karan, it was already close to 6 pm. He said, the spot he had in mind, was a few kilometres away but it wasn’t a problem with what the Evo VIII had under the hood. A mad rush of power ensued, as soon I buckled up in the passenger seat and he set off. This was all familiar. This was how it was done back in the day. One car, four doors, two litres, one very big turbo, four driven wheels…- mix them up well and you have a wide grin plastered on everyone’s face.
Mitsubishi switched to the larger Lancer Cedia platform in 2001 following a change in WRC rules. The Evo VII that resulted saw the introduction of an Active Center Differential (ACD) and a more effective limited slip differential at the rear along with a front helical limited slip differential. The Evo VIII improved upon that in 2003 and made everything even better.
This Evo VIII is the MR edition with the six speed manual transmission. The vortex generator on the roof was an optional fitment back in the day as were some BBS wheels. This particular car had aftermarket 18 inch Compomotive M01882 wheels shod with 245/40 R18 Yokohama Advans. Exterior changes to the MR include, HID headlamps, updated tail lamps, Black Suede Recaro seats, carbon fibre finish rear trim. Mechanical changes saw S-AWC rear diff changes, a larger oil cooler core, ion coated piston rings, reinforced cylinder head and 5 layer head gasket compared to the 3 layer. The MR Edition also received engine updates and reliability changes. The engine updates include larger turbo diameter mouth, updated cam profiles, lighter balance shafts and changed from single wastegate solenoid to dual solenoid.
KS Motorsport’s Evo VIII gets a Tomie stroker kit with forged components that takes the 4G63’s stroke from 83.6mm to 94mm thereby increasing the engine capacity from 2.0 litres to 2.2 litres. It has a GT35 HTA reengineered turbocharger by Owen Developments in UK that is good for 700bhp. Other mods to the engine include an ETS exhaust manifold, a Links ECU, a KS Motorsports Intercooler with a Cryo Intercooler Spray kit and an HKS exhaust. To handle the additional power, the Evo gets an HKS Triple plate clutch as well.
The end result of all that is, massive turbo lag and then an insane amount of power delivered in bucket loads. It took me by surprise when I got into this after an E63 S AMG and that’s saying something. The rush is addictive it takes you a bit to process all that information, how long to hold the throttle pinned, when to change the gears, what speed to carry through this corner, is that truck too close…. The rabid nature of the power delivery is nothing to worry about because of the uncompromising chassis balance this car has.
The Evo VIII also saw the introduction of Super Active Yaw Control, which significantly improved traction and handling by transferring the torque between the rear wheels. The MR variant gets Bilstein Supersport dampers straight from the factory. And they are too good to be upgraded from. This particular car gets RS sport springs for that slightly tighter feel. You can’t put a finger on what it is, but the combination of a stiff chassis, good suspension and a clever powertrain makes it almost un-crash-able. Take any corner and any line you pick, the Evo will oblige. The earlier Evos based on the old Lancer chassis (CE) were all purer, but I actually prefer the Evos from VII to IX based on the Cedia (CG) platform. May be, it is the trick differential and the active yaw control, may be it is the stiffer chassis or the perceived sense of solidity it provides I am more at ease in one of these than the older cars. They are the perfect mix of digital and analogue – a blend of well-engineered mechanical bits and unobtrusive electronics – working in unison.
This Evo VIII also gets 356mm front with 6pot calipers and 330mm rear with 4 pot caliper brakes from AP racing which are a must with the power on tap. The car also gets a Cusco roll cage and lots of Ultra racing braces including rear room bar, underbody front frame holder, front strut brace, rear strut brace, side lower bars and front fender braces.
KS Motorsports and their love affair with Evos go a long way. For decades, they have been the go to guys if you want an Evo or a Evo conversion done on your existing Lancer. Karan also had an Evo VI and an Evo III conversion for me to sample which we drove and shot alongside this Evo VIII, but that’s a story for another day. Stay tuned.