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If you've ever seen "The Fast & The Furious" films, you're likely familiar with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Popular among street-racers for its high performance and relatively low price, the Evolution can hit 60 mph in five seconds flat. This means it's just as fast at the Audi S4—and $12,000 cheaper.
In a tuner's mind, that $12,000 savings can be budgeted for aftermarket upgrades that make the Mitsubishi much faster than the Audi. That isn't to say, though, that the Evolution needs more. Its turbocharger boosts output from the 2-liter MIVEC engine to a healthy 291.
The 2013 Evolution carries over from 2012 without significant changes. The base GSR comes with a five-speed manual transmission; the pricier MR trim level includes a six-speed twin-clutch transmission. And with standard all-wheel drive system, the Evolution allows owners to feel as confident on a dirt path as they do on the road.
While performance is impressive, the lower base price becomes somewhat apparent in the Evolution's cabin. There are supportive Recaro racing seats, but the cramped interior is filled with cheap-looking plastic. Worse, the steering wheel is tilt-only and the driver's seat isn't height adjustable.
The base GSR has a 2-liter inline-four engine that is turbocharged and intercooled. With a five-speed manual, the GSR gets up 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Standard equipment includes: 18-inch ENKEI alloy wheels; a large rear spoiler; a Brembo braking system; fog lights; functional hood and fender vents; a roof, hood and front fenders crafted in lightweight aluminum; a rear diffuser for the dual exhaust; a 140-watt, six-speaker system with a CD player and MP3 capability; high-contrast instruments; a color LCD multi-information display; and cloth upholstery.
Though differences between the GSR and MR are few, they're significant. The MR's suspension system includes aftermarket parts like Bilstein struts and Eibach springs, as well as the Brembo brakes with two-piece front rotors. Most notably, however, the MR includes a six-speed manual transmission featuring an automated dual-clutch that allows super-fast shifts using magnesium paddle shifters. 18-inch BBS alloy wheels are wrapped in Yokohama tires and a rear lip spoiler is placed along the edge of the trunk. Up front, MR owners will find xenon HID headlamps and functional hood and fender vents. The interior includes aluminum sport pedals, a FUSE hands-free link system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A 40GB hard-drive and navigation system are available as is a glass sunroof. The Premium package is optional and adds, among other features, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system.
The Evolution's historic rival, has more power but a softer ride
Only two doors, but has surprising straight-line speed
Not as powerful, yet has better utility and a lower price
No back seat, but it costs less and is more powerful