Final Lancer Evo in big demand

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Mitsubishi's swansong tribute to its legendary turbocharged rally icon, the Lancer Evolution Final Edition has already attracted more than 650 potential Australian buyers, but many of them will be disappointed.

Just 150 examples of the last Evo, which was launched today in Japan (you can read our review here), have been allocated to Australia – from a total production run of 1000 units – and Mitsubishi began taking expressions of interest via its public website in April.

Mitsubishi's Australian communications chief Shayna Welsh told motoring.com.au that first deliveries are expected to take place here by the end of this year, but could not confirm when dealers will officially begin taking orders.

"The Australian market has been allocated 150 units of the Final Edition Lancer Evolution," she confirmed.

"So far, we've had more than 650 pre-registrations, which has been generated purely through social media activity. We have't started active promotion of Final Edition yet, but expect to do so as we move closer to launch."

Welsh said Mitsubishi dealers were taking details from customers who express interest, but no orders were being taken until dealer allocations were finalised. We understand orders will be taken on a first-come-first-served basis soon.

"At this stage, we've only taken pre-registrations, where customers register their interest for more information. We'll go out with a communication to customers that includes pricing and specification once this is finalised for the Australian market.

"We're also aware of customers placing orders with their local dealer, however, we're still working through a range of details – including dealer allocation of vehicles – before actual orders can be locked in."

Australian pricing, specifications and timing of customer deliveries are yet to be announced, said Welsh.

"We're a little way off announcing details of the Australian specification, but we plan to launch Lancer Evolution Final Edition before the end of the year," she said. "Pricing and timing are still up in the air."

According to the Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited website: "MMAL is still tuning the final specification, however, the Australian model will have increased power and torque and a similar level of enhanced performance [as the model announced for the Japanese domestic market]."

Launched today in its domestic market, where it's also a sell-out, Japa's Evo Final Edition is based on the Japanese-spec Evo GSR, but increases the power output of its 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine from 221kW to 230kW at 6500rpm, while peak torque increases from 422Nm to 429Nm at 3500rpm.

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The JDM-spec car's 230kW power output is significantly down on the wild Evo X Final Concept revealed at January's Tokyo Auto Salon, where it debuted with a claimed 353kW thanks to an upgraded HKS turbo, intake, exhaust and ECU, plus bespoke 19-inch forged wheels with Yokohama Advan Neova tyres, HKS adjustable suspension and a matt-black paint job.

But it's significantly more than the 217kW/366Nm outputs of the Lancer Evo X sold here, where the Evo has long been detuned to suit Australian fuel quality and climate.

Welsh told motoring.com.au she expected Australia's Lancer Eco Final Edition to come with "slightly different" performance outputs to the Japanese version.

She remained tight-lipped about pricing, but in Japan the final Evo commands a 400,000 yen ($A4350) price premium over the Evo GSR on which it's based.

If it comes here with a similar increase over Australia's entry-level Evo X manual ($52,990 plus on-road costs; the Final Edition runs a five-speed manual rather than the six-speed dual-clutch auto in the MR SST, which costs $58,990 here), it should remain priced under $60,000.

Other standard Final Edition features include 18-inch BBS wheels, four-piston Brembo brakes, leather Recaro bucket seats with red stitching, Final Edition logos and numbered badges, Bilstein shocks and Eibach springs, and the option of standard red or silver paint.

Speaking at this week's launch in Japan, a Mitsubishi engineer told motoring.com.au the company has "taken the Evo dynasty as far as it could go".

But he backed previous reports that the Evo spirit will live on in SUV models from Mitsubishi, in the form of high-performance versions of crossovers like the ASX and Outlander.

"The times are different now," he said. "The market does not want high-powered AWD turbos anymore that struggle to clear stringent CO2 and mileage requirements. We will use the Evo's 4WD technology on future vehicles like the Outlander and others."

By Marton Pettendy – www.motoring.com.au

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