Lancer Evolution VIII vs
Subaru Impreza WRX STi
dates : 17th July 2005
23rd July 2005
Zulu makes his debut on Car Torque this week with
strong credentials as a race and rally driver.
And the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII has an
equally impressive pedigree.
At last, the Evo VIII, as it’s affectionately known,
has arrived in South Africa.
Inside, carbon-look dash inserts and brushed metal
panels don’t quite make it in the Evo.
It has a dated interior without much retro appeal.
This Japanese company has been expert in turbocharging
The in-line four-cylinder engine doing duty in the
Lancer Evo embodies state-of-the-art performance
It also produces prodigious low-down torque for a
Subaru Impreza STi needs little introduction. It also
enjoys a great reputation in the turbo field, and its
flat-four boxer engine has legendary durability.
Subaru has gone to some lengths to rid the STi of a
Common or Japanese Garden look inside. Cloth and
leather sports seats add an appealing touch, as do the
brightly-coloured door panels, the leather-trimmed
gear-lever and handbrake lever.
both engines weigh in with identical power peaks of
The difference in engine design gives the Lancer a
different feel and sound to the Subaru. It uses a
five-speed transmission, whereas the Subaru comes with
a six-speed ‘box.
Both cars employ road-orientated four-wheel-drive
technology for outstanding stability and grip. And
both have road-holding and performance in the supercar
Four-wheel drive road cars are noted for a tendency to
understeer at the adhesion limit. In this respect the
Lancer Evo VIII serves up a big surprise.
Turn the steering wheel and it simply darts for the
apex of a corner. In fact it’s almost, but not
quite, a tail-out car, but with tremendous reserves of
cornering ability. It also imparts loads of confidence
to even a relatively un-skilled driver.
Subaru still needs to dial out some understeer on the
Sti. This tendency to wash the nose out still dogs the
Subaru at race-track speeds.
This nose-push occurs despite the fitment of a
graduated, adjustable diff-lock program known as DCCD
that makes the STi more pointy.
Of course, at road speeds, the Subaru is superb, with
leech-like grip, making it an awesomely quick, but
The uninitiated may well confuse the Evo with the STi,
thanks to skirts, spoilers and outlandish wings common
to both cars.
In fact, the Evo is more stylish in essence, once you
get past the gizmos. Both cars are wolves in wolf-cub
The Evo VIII may make do with a five-speed gearbox,
but it outguns the Subaru for torque. It has 355
Newton metres at 3500 revs, and runs a 0-100 in a
claimed 6,1 seconds.
But it feels quicker, at least Subaru-quick. Top speed
is a claimed 245 kilometres-per-hour.
That distinctive Subaru warble is music to the ears.
0-100 was tested by Car magazine at 5,2 seconds with a
234 kilometres per hour top speed.
Our own repeated first-gear roll-on drag races at
Wesbank saw the two cars run absolutely neck and neck.
Nothing to choose between them in straight-line
performance. As for road manners, that’s a different
The ride on the Lancer Evo 8 comes as a bit of a
shock. We’re talking thoroughbred race-car here,
with virtually no "give" in the suspension
whatsoever. The same goes for the leather-covered race
The Subaru is a Rolls Royce by comparison in the
waftability stakes. Spring and damping rates are more
than firm enough for road use, but there is a degree
of compliance that makes this car much more liveable
on a daily basis.
Nevertheless the Mitsubishi and Subaru offer
real-world five-seater accommodation with supercar
performance. Along with Nissan’s Skyline GTR, they’ve
turned the performance market on its head.
On paper the cars are so similar, but experientially
they are quite different. The Evo is the
uncompromising street fighter, crisper through the
steering wheel, mechanically sharper in all aspects
really, but somehow lacking in overall finesse.
The Subaru, on the other hand, has an indefinable
charm thanks to that boxer gravel voice. Its interior
is more complete, its ride feels more sorted, despite
understeer in extremes, and that thoroughness goes for
the whole car.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII
Subaru Impreza WRX
Four – Cylinder, Turbocharged Petrol, 1997cc
- Power: 195
KW @ 6500 rpm
- Torque: 355
Nm @ 3500 rpm
Five-Speed Manual, Four-Wheel Drive
- 0–100 km/h:
6,1 Seconds (Claimed)
- Top Speed:
245 KM/ H
Consumption: 13,4 litres/100 km (Claimed)
- Price: R395
Flat-four cylinder, turbocharged, petrol, 1 994 cc
- Power: 195
kW @ 7 800 rpm
- Torque: 343
Nm @ 4 000 rpm
Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed:
consumption: 13,9 litres/100 km (Car Magazine
- Price: R385
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