The Mitsubishi Evolution IX Wagon was launched by Mitsubishi Motors in 2005 and was limited to only 2500 units. This rare beast was available exclusively to the Japanese market but like the majority of Japanese vehicles, many have made their way abroad to the UK and Australia in particular. For those that are familiar with Evo’s but have never known or seen an Evo Wagon, at first glance this unusual machine is quite difficult to digest. Beneath that unique station wagon bodyshell lurks the Evolution IX saloon platform we are accustomed to. So as you would expect, a two litre Mivec engine, four-wheel drive transmission with Active centre differential, Brembo brakes and Recaro seats are all present.
The Evolution IX Wagon was produced in both GT and GT-A specification. The former features a 6-speed manual gearbox, while the latter uses a 5-speed Automatic transmission. There was also an MR trim option in both models which added BBS alloy wheels and Bilstein dampers from the factory. In this piece we will be comparing a modified example in Blue with various engine, chassis and brake upgrades alongside a virtually stock Silver version of the car.
Jumping in the drivers seat of the Blue car and closing the door, it all feels very familiar, until you look in the mirrors and notice the lack of boot spoiler and the extra glass. Inside the cockpit everything is as you would expect with an Evo, turn the key and the Mivec 4G63 fires into life. Glancing through the OMP steering wheel, the Tarmac setting on the clocks illuminates and the engine ticks over nicely at just over 1000 rpm. A light burble from the aftermarket stainless exhaust and a resonance inside the cabin, is a subtle reminder of what lies in store. Setting off and gathering speed to build up some temperature, there are no real observations when driving normally along main routes. The leather and Alcantara Recaro’s are a little wider on the base, the headlights have an Auto setting and of course, with that boot space it has a luggage cover! The CT9W chassis with it’s increased rearward weight distribution over the saloon, is more at home on the winding B-roads and it’s when you reach those bends the wagon comes to life.
The ‘GT’ models are a superb package from standard, utilising the plated rear differential found in the RS and GT saloons and a 6 speed gearbox. The car feels very balanced mid corner and as the throttle is applied you can feel that rear differential working to pull you through the bend. The sixth gear also provides a better cruising rpm than the 5 speed found in the GT/RS and a lack of AYC rear differential gives increased driver feedback. The perfect combination, may I suggest!
Like any Evolution IX, the tuning capabilities are huge. The stock Mivec engine can easily be tuned to deliver around 400 BHP on stock internals. A fuel pump, boost solenoid, air filter, exhaust system and Ecu remap will support those gains and provide a big smile every time the right pedal is depressed. The modified Blue car has been furnished with the above modifications and also an upgraded intercooler and a modular turbo-back full exhaust system to maximise the effiency of that 2.0l powerhouse.
The stock dampers have been swapped out for Ohlins DFV coilovers, the underwhelming Brembo’s have been binned and in their place sit Alcon 6 piston front calipers and 4 piston rear. The outstanding handling isn’t purely thanks to the Ohlins, underneath the car, a comprehsive SuperPro polybush kit and roll centre correction kit has been installed and provides a direct feel to the chassis.
Myself and Chris have driven 100’s of Evolutions over the past thirteen years and in that time have never driven such a good all round package as this particular car. The dampers provide superb compliance on the bumps, the bushes really tighten up the chassis, it stops on a dime and turns in beautifully thanks to the roll centre correction kit. Then when you jump back on the gas the power delivery from the Mivec engine is super strong and linear. It is the combination of all of the above, that bring together a simply superb package of power, braking, handling and driver feedback.
On the outside the understated black paint has been protected by a sky blue wrap and a set of ‘Comp style’ Rota D154’s have been added, a nod to the rally roots of the Evolution. Finished off with a Ralliart carbon splitter and aggressive stance, this B-road machine looks ready for action.
Click here to read the full spec on this awesome machine, wrapped in gloss sky blue.
In contrast to the modified example above, this virtually stock, fabulous GT, is the perfect starting point in Evo Wagon ownership. Imported from Japan’s notoriously ‘kind’ climate in 2015 and given the full works upon arrival, including cambelt service, spark plugs and full fluid service, this one is ready to go.
Some will ask, where does the Evo Wagon fit into the car scene? Is it a family man’s car or a unique performance car? Well, it’s both of those and more. It can be whatever you want it to be and it makes a bold statement when seen out on the road. A lot of people will ask you what the hell it is and once I even had “did you build that yourself?” shouted across a car park.
If you feel it is your time to own one of these rare beasts then please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org