RE: Mitsubishi Evo VI Makinen: PH Heroes

RE: Mitsubishi Evo VI Makinen: PH Heroes

Friday 25th April 2014

Mitsubishi Evo VI Makinen: PH Heroes

If there's one Evo to rule them all the Makinen is it - PH tips its hat to a true hero



Is the Mitsubishi Evo the ultimate PH Hero car? It has to be in with a shout. In all of its 10 generations, it has been capable of giving the supercar elite a proper kicking on any back road you care to choose - and for a fraction of the price. You'd think that given the fact that each version has a true giant-killer of its time, choosing a definitive version would be difficult. Not so - ask anyone who loves cars what their favourite Evo is, and you're pretty much guaranteed the same response: the Evo VI Tommi Makinen Edition.

Definitely a case of great personality' over looks
Definitely a case of great personality' over looks
And it's hard to think of many other cars that you can pinpont the most iconic - not the most capable - version, with such pinpoint accuracy. Launched in 2000, the TME (or Evo 6.5 to its fans) came at the height of the Evo's UK popularity, and tapped a rich seam of hero worship that's still very much intact today, despite the fact that homologation specials such as the Evo and Impreza STI are supposedly out of fashion these days.

But the TME is utterly unapologetic about its rallying roots, having been built to flamboyantly celebrate Tommi Makinen's fourth consecutive World Rally Championship title 1999. The Evo V and VI may have been based on a rather innocuous looking saloon, but once in rally trim, they looked awesome - bedecked with an extreme bodykit, deep front bumper and oversized rear spoiler. Jeremy Clarkson said that the Evo looked like it had, 'been crashed into the local branch of Halfords', but for once he missed the point - you weren't buying an Evo to be subtle.

Looking for the Evo sweet spot? Right here
Looking for the Evo sweet spot? Right here
Pick of the bunch
The TME added to this arresting style, being offered in a range of bold colours - red (which was unique to the TME), blue, silver, black and white. Needless to say, it's the red one with stripes, echoing the WRC cars, that proved the most popular then - and which are in the most demand now. The 17-inch Enkei alloy wheels, Momo steering wheel and Tommi Makinen Edition Recaros are hard to miss, too - as we say, it's unapologetic. And we love it for that.

It was't just a cosmetic exercise, though. The TME lost its dinner plate-sized front fog lights, and gained a front strut brace and quicker steering, as well as a 10mm drop in ride height, and a more responsive turbo. These were subtle touches that were designed to finesse the already brilliant dynamics - and many happy PHers will tell you that they work very effectively indeed.

Official output nothing special in numbers...
Official output nothing special in numbers...
There was no need to upgrade the engine - owners would do that of their own accord - so official figures of 280hp and 275lb ft remained. Performance figures remained the same, too, with a 0-60mph time of 4.6 seconds and a maximum speed of 150mph. But as impressive as these numbers are, they pale into insignificance when confronted by the dynamic masterclass the TME serves up, given a particularly challenging road.

Rally style, innit
Jump into a TME, and despite the special edition flourishes, it's easy to be a little underwhelmed by the interior. It's generic to look at, and doesn't feel in any way special - especially if you compare it with something like an E46 M3 or Audi RS2. It's functional, though, with a great driving position and good visibility. And when you start it up, that lack of specialness continues - it idles loudly but anonymously.

...matters not a jot once you're up and running
...matters not a jot once you're up and running
But it doesn't take long to dial-into the TME's genius as a driver's car. Once on the move, you'll be bowled over by the steering, which is beautifully-weighted, direct and pin-sharp. And although it's not quite as talkative as an Integrale's, it's sweet, and tells you all you need to know. The five-speed gearchange is also remarkably smooth, while the throttle and brake response are both exquisite. The Evo has a bit of an extreme reputation as a road car, but the softness of the turbo response (it's a completely standard example we're driving), ample mid-range torque, and relative refinement are a bit of a surprise. There's no bang from the blower, and little lag - so it all feels remarkably tractable.

But once spinning above 4,000rpm, the TME flies. But more so, it rides B-roads superbly the faster you go, and is sublimely damped into the bargain. Corners are all sweetness and light, too - there's no slop at all when turning in, and once adjusted to the lack of discernable understeer and super-fast steering, you'll soon be cracking along, inch perfect, far faster than non-Evo people would consider prudent. And when properly hooning, the most delightful aspect is how everything weighs-up consistently, giving you the confidence to push, push, push.

Every road feels like a rally stage in this car
Every road feels like a rally stage in this car
Tech talk
Anyone who claims it's a digital driving experience, and Active Yaw Control takes primary sensations away, is talking out of their hat. AYC undoubtedly helps - especially in those unexpected, tightening bends - but transparently.

If you want one of your own, prepare for a long search, and don't expect bargains. The PH classifieds are a good starting point, but you absolutely must also join the Lancer Register and aim to get that cherished, enthusiast-owned example that pops-up from time to time. But prices are climbing, and if you're after the real deal in the right colours, like our featured example, owned by Chris Short, be prepared to pay a premium. Don't bother asking Chris, he's not selling...

We've already covered the why's and wherefore's of buying an Evo VI in great deal in the PH Buying Guide, but in short, check for a noisy gearbox bearings, abused brakes and dampers - and be prepared for eye-watering servicing bills that come round too quickly, thanks to the recommended interval of 4,500 miles.

Four-time champ left his mark on the Evo
Four-time champ left his mark on the Evo
Of course, they're ripe for tuning and modification, and many people have enjoyed their Evo VIs when putting out silly amounts of power - but given how sweet, biddable, and outright fun, a standard TME actually is, we'd find it hard to argue against finding an unmodified car with UK history, and enjoy what is clearly an appreciating asset.

But values and investment aside, the TME must surely be the greatest, most definitive Evo of them all, because it has the uncanny knack of making the driver feel special. It's capable of serving up dynamic magic, and by simply being greater than the sum of its parts. Despite being the best part of 15 years old, if you know how to drive, and are on a flyer in a TME, very few cars will be able to keep up, let alone catch-up. And just for once, here's a car that lives up to the fanboy hype. That you can still buy one for relatively sensible money makes the TME not only the definitive Mitsubishi Evo, but probably also the quintessential PH Hero of them all.

Thanks to Evo VI TME owner Chris Short, photos by Max Earey


MITSUBISHI LANCER EVOLUTION TOMMI MAKINEN EDITION
Engine:
1,997cc 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power (hp): 280@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 275@2,750rpm
0-60mph: 4.6 sec
Top speed: 150mph
Weight: 1,365kg
On sale: 2000-2001
Price new (2000): £32,995
Price now: £7,500-£17,500











   
   
   
   
   
Author
Discussion

TACottle

Original Poster:

172 posts

87 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Thumbs up!

Looks like it would be maximum fun to drive!

AKA PABS

121 posts

56 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Love this car a true classic. The rate Evo's and the like are been broken there is only one way the prices are going for clean examples.

C.A.R.

3,336 posts

122 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Have fond memories of it from Gran Turismo as a kid.

However the 'ultimate' Evo for me has to be the even rarer 'Zero Fighter' model, bigger wheels, brakes and better breathing mods which gave it 340bhp... Information on it seems scarce though!

stephen300o

15,462 posts

162 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
These 4x4s don't do a thing for me.

loudlashadjuster

3,064 posts

118 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
C.A.R. said:
Have fond memories of it from Gran Turismo as a kid.

However the 'ultimate' Evo for me has to be the even rarer 'Zero Fighter' model, bigger wheels, brakes and better breathing mods which gave it 340bhp... Information on it seems scarce though!
Nah, from memory the "Zero Fighter" was just a Japanese dealer upgrade and, while significant due to its (for the time) impressive spec., was quickly outclassed by any number of tuner and owner cars as the Evo scene really got going.

There are a few other models like that (RS450 springs to mind, with others with more or less provenance) that while notable at the time and perhaps still sought after in their own light, pale in comparison to the TME which was a genuine factory model with unique parts, many improvements and all the desirability that brings.

The only ones that have anything like the following (unless things have changed significantly in the last few years) are the UK RS Sprint and RSX models which sit between the stripped-out RS and the normal GSR spec in terms of weight and drivetrain trickery. These are rarer than the TME and command similarly high prices, or at least used to, I'm sure someone will come along and correct me! smile

Advertisement

scorcher

3,087 posts

168 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Boring jap saloons in hideous bodykits that go whizz,bang,whoosh do nothing for me no matter how capable they are.

caraddict

1,068 posts

78 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Cool and all, but I'd get the IX MR, last of the "proper" Evo's, if I was to keep it for a long time. Don't judge me, it's just an opinion.

ST150HB

442 posts

83 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Awesome cars, first and only time I saw one was when I was about 15 in school, owned by the RE teacher of all people!

domV8

1,228 posts

115 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Can anyone give me more information on the turbo?
Differences over standard turbo, boost pressure they are designed to run at, etc...

Thanks,

Dom

Edited by domV8 on Friday 25th April 15:38

ChasW

1,874 posts

136 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Me neither though I would be interested in trying one out. At least I'd be better informed. Having said that I cannot think of anyone that I know that I am aware has ever owned one.

AC43

6,309 posts

142 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Guy down the road from me used to have one of them and a matching Shogun Pinin. Not sure if the latter was a production model or just something dressed up in Ralliart livery.


PorkRind

2,433 posts

139 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Miss my evo so much ! Just dont think its image would suit me these days..

The Obeast

99 posts

78 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
I've got one of these.

Auto Art 1:18 scale in white, no decals!!

The closest I'll ever get to owning one biggrin

J4CKO

25,301 posts

134 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Autocar had a very similar article this week.

A mate of mine at work had one, a proper Makkinen, dealer offered him 4 grand as a part ex ! advertised it for 11 grand and sold it to a guy in Ireland in 20 mins of the ad going live.

I wondered what my mate was possibly going to follow it with, I mean, what, GTR, Porsche, no, a Audi A3 diesel Quatro, ok, its nice as A3's go but its no TME, I have given hom stick for this for the last 5 years or so.

leedsutd1

768 posts

120 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
after the feature on these on fifth gear I was looking at prices, only 5 or 6 makinen specials for sale and none in red prices £7 -£9,500 seem to be rare now, power seems to be between 320 - 360 bhp ,

markcoznottz

4,589 posts

158 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
It's only on re sampling these cars that journo's have rediscovered just how well turned out they are/were. All the control surfaces are immaculately weighted, its probable mitsubishi spent a lot more money on this than they admitted. Superb driving position, great seats, rifle bolt gearbox, perfectly servoed brakes, the list goes on. Most car manufacturers can't get these things right. The mk1 focus, puma, ka had the same attention to detail. Several supercar owners who have sampled mine can't believe what they have missed, ie they are driving cars that on paper are fun, but in the real world at 7/10ths don't engage at all.

PistonBroker

1,517 posts

160 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
Autocar had a very similar article this week.
Well, it would be silly for 2 motoring titles under the same roof to not use this opportunity IMO. I imagine there are some who read PH but not Autocar and vice versa.

Vocal Minority

8,582 posts

86 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Purely objectively something like this leaves me cold.

But my inner romantic petrol head, which grew up in the Mcrae through to Gronholm (part 2) era, loves it.


supertouring

2,096 posts

167 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Having had a Scooby before and knowing the fun that turbo and 4X4 brings, I really fancy one of these.

Saw one for sale over the winter that looked spot-on, have not seen one like it since.

Definitely one to buy and keep.


Ollieb7

269 posts

132 months

Friday 25th April 2014
quotequote all
Sure fired classic..... In circa ten years.... after its shook off the chav image, a path well trodden by the 205 GTI. Trick is will there be any good ones left at the point everyone realises how significant they were?

Edited by Ollieb7 on Friday 25th April 18:02