Best Evo for under £20k?

25 years. That’s how long its been since the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution first hit the streets of Japan. For many of us this is a stark reminder of how old we are but also one that evokes nostalgia from a time when life was simpler and so too were the cars.

This simplicity in cars is championed today, a kick back from the numb, dull and boring boxes that flood our roads. So many share this desire for cars that excite the senses. And very few cars do as good job of getting the blood pumping than an Evolution.

Each incarnation aimed to consistently improve upon the previous. Often subtle tweaks but occasionally more ground breaking. The result… over 2 decades of sensory inspired cars. Rather than this article being about which one we prefer. We’d rather celebrate both the Evolution Tommi Makinen edition and Evo IX GT as being the best EVOs currently available for under £20,000.

Although some 5 years apart these two siblings share the same DNA. Sure, all Evos came in 4WD with the in-line 4 cylinder, 16 valve power plant but its the same close ratio 5 speed manual transmission that help make these two feel similar out on the road. This 5 spd box was and still is consistently recommended over the 6 spd for reliability too.

Starting with the TME, you’d be forgiven in thinking that its simply an Evo 6 with a sticker kit but dig a little deeper and you’ll realise there’s a little more to it…

“Launched as a limited series model to commemorate rally ace Tommi Makinen’s prodigious feat of winning his fourth consecutive Drivers’ Championship in the World Rally Championship. The Evolution VI Tommi Makinen Edition was also designed for optimum performance on tarmac and features interior and exterior trim reflecting a WRC theme.

Road performance was improved with a high-response titanium turbocharger giving better low-end and mid-range torque, using a smaller, shape-optimised compressor wheel. (Standard on GSR; factory option on RS). A different exhaust system was also used, unique to the Tommi Makinen Edition.

Handling was improved too with a front upper strut brace and the tarmac suspension was lowered by 10mm and tuned to give improved initial response on tarmac surfaces. The quicker steering rack from the RS models was also fitted for more responsive steering.

The front bumper featured a new powerful design that improved aerodynamics and lowered air intake temperature to stabilise power output characteristics. The front bumper extension brought further improvements to aerodynamic performance with redesigned airflow ducting.

The Tommi Makinen edition is widely regarded as the ultimate incarnation of the EVO. However the Evo IX GT should be regarded as a strong contender…

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX GT is a 4 door A to B rocket with a front mounted engine transmitting the power through all four wheels. The Lancer Evolution IX GT is part of Mitsubishi’s GH-CT9A model series. Its engine is 2 litre turbocharged petrol, double overhead camshaft 4 cylinder (4 valves per cylinder). This engines puts out 276 bhp (280 PS/206 kW) of power at 6500 rpm, and maximum torque of 407 N·m (300 lb·ft/41.5 kgm) at 3000 rpm. The engine drives the wheels compliments of a 5 speed manual gearbox. Its official kerb is 1390 kg.

The GSR featured a six-speed, Bilstein monotube shocks, super active yaw control, a double-din radio and an aluminium roof. 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. The GT brings together the best of both models such as the RS’s turbocharger and drivetrain specification and the GSR’s comfortable-body with its enhanced sound deadening.

Perhaps the most significant similarity worth noting is the price point. Currently we’re experiencing an almost identical value in Japan for these 2 models (taking the Passion red TME out of the equation).

Both models can be picked up for a good chunk under £20k using our Personal import service. Whether it stays that way remains to be seen but its unlikely we’ll see a huge shift anytime soon so for those looking to scratch that EVO itch its a nice choice to have!


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