2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR Quick Take: Last of the line
It's the end of the line for Mitsubishi's Evolution series of high performance sedans based on its compact Lancer. The Japanese automaker says the 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR is the final installment of its rally-inspired all-wheel-drive turbocharged asphalt burner that is lionized in The Fast and the Furious movies and videogames like Forza and Gran Turismo.
The last Evo doesn't disappoint. It blends old school simplicity with a purposeful design that includes large heat extractors on the hood and a tall rear wing. And yet the overall effect is not over-the-top as our test car is painted in a somewhat subdued Mercury Gray metallic and has an equally low key black interior with cloth seats. Inside, the impression of old meeting new school is further reinforced by the tasteful modern design of the cabin and such amenities as a touch screen infotainment system that incorporates a high quality Rockford Fosgate sound system and navigation. And while the interior is well put together, there are still enough bits of hard plastic, tinny sounding door slams and the 5-speed manual gearbox in a world of 6- and 7-speed manuals that belies the age of this pocket rocket.
But all that's irrelevant once you twist the key and the 303-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine zings to life. This high revving powerplant, coupled with the grip afforded by the all-wheel-drive system, invites you to drive the 2015 Lancer Evolution GSR hard. There is a certain sense of immediacy in the acceleration and in the car's ability to change direction that is lacking in many cars today with their well-damped suspensions and electric-assist power steering. The Evo will have none of this. The suspension is stiff, the steering hydraulically assisted and as a result the GSR feels like it is tied to the road. You feel every imperfection and dip and yet the car responds to your every move as if the command were transmitted telepathically. And you immediately understand why the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution has survived through 10 generations. Unfortunately, technology and emission/safety/fuel economy requirements have changed and that's why the GSR will be the last of the breed.
As a farewell, Mitsubishi will be building only 1,600 of 2015 Lancer Evolution GSR models, each with a numbered dash plaque. Base price for the car is $34,495 and when equipped with the optional sound system package, which also includes HID headlamps and keyless entry, for $2,000, the as tested price is $36,495 plus $810 destination. Not a bad price for a piece of automotive history.