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2008 Mistubishi Lancer Evolution GSRWhile chatting with the Mitsubishi PR people at an event last month, I mentioned that I absolutely loved the 2008 Lancer Evolution MR I reviewed, and I regretted the fact that I never got to drive the Evo GSR, the less-expensive, harder-riding, manual-transmission-equipped Evo. The 2008 GSRs had already been pulled from the press fleet, they told me, but they did have one GSR lurking around their headquarters -- the Old Gray Mare, they called her -- and I was welcome to spend a week with it if I wanted. The Evo is one of my favorite cars, so no way was I going to pass this up!

Last week I went to pick up the Old Gray Mare, and she certainly lived up to her name, with 11,000 miles on the clock (geriatric by press-car standards) and an interior that seemed to smell faintly of the perspiration she had elicited from countless drivers. But as I pulled out of Mitsi's headquarters and on to Katella Avenue, the car made it clear that the "ain't what she used to be" part of the song didn't apply. I spent the last few days putting the OGM through her paces. So how does the cut-rate Lancer Evolution stand up? Find out in my 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR test drive. -- Aaron Gold

Related: Lancer Evolution MR test drive

Photo © Mitsubishi

Comments
November 12, 2008 at 3:38 am
(1) Johnster says:

Sounds like fun. I really enjoy a standard stick-shift sometimes and it sounds like the Lancer GSR is a good car for one. Do you think a 6-speed might be a bit better? Or is it fine just the way it is?

November 12, 2008 at 9:01 am
(2) IGB says:

Now that’s fine journalism.

I had a gearhead friend visit recently and took him around a tight decreasing radius circular onramp…at 80 MPH. He was very quiet. Hushed commentary afterwards: “Oh, that just isn’t natural.”

November 12, 2008 at 12:39 pm
(3) Fl. Allen says:

IGB; If you are the driver that move is a gas but if you are the passenger, well it can be a little disconcerting not knowing if it will stick but that was the point, Right.
I have done the same thing with a car salesman in the test car several times and it never gets old seeing the look on there face at the end of the ramp.

November 12, 2008 at 1:08 pm
(4) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Johnster: A higher 6th gear would be nice for fuel economy. I took a 30-minute highway ride with the cruise set at 68 and still only managed 24 MPG, which is kinda sad. But for fast driving, the gearing is just right; I spent most of my time in 2nd and 3rd and did just fine, a pretty neat trick considering there’s almost no power available below 3,000 RPM. — Aaron

November 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm
(5) J to the G says:

@Aaron: Is it a twin-turbo or single turbo setup?

November 12, 2008 at 5:36 pm
(6) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

@J:

One turbocharger.

One seriously *angry* turbocharger.

– Aaron

November 12, 2008 at 7:25 pm
(7) J to the G says:

@Aaron:

Perhaps the car would benefit from a 2nd smaller turbocharger?

November 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm
(8) hawaiian don says:

I never doubted any ride in any of the EVO’s would be anything but thrillig. However, the MPG issue is really disturbing. Not being mechanically inclined, do I dare ask a dumb question? How about a very tall 7th gear… simply for cruising?

November 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm
(9) jimmy says:

This video gives the impression the WRX STI handles pretty darn good.
http://tinyurl.com/5tkd97

November 13, 2008 at 12:36 am
(10) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

J: 291 hp and 300 lb-ft… I think one turbo is enough! :)

Don: I don’t think a really tall gear would help much — it’s a turbo engine, so low revs = low power. If the gearing was too high, you’d have to downshift just to pick up 2-3 MPH to pull into the passing lane.

Jimmy: Great video, but a) it’s an old-shape STI, not the new car, and b) I see great driving, not great handling. Talk about having no grip!!! :)

November 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm
(11) Brian says:

Like many “base model” sports cars, I could see this one being popular with the club racers and the like, since you aren’t paying for expensive bits you are going to replace anyway. Alternatively, it costs modification points with the MR model to have that stuff on the car, so if it doesn’t make much difference on the track, you save yourself some money.

November 13, 2008 at 4:53 pm
(12) J Kyle says:

A 5-speed is a tremendous handicap for such an engine. Moving from the 5-speed in my WRX to the 6-speed in my STi was one of the most important upgrades. I usually take most 90′ turns in third gear, but if I want to really make some time, second gear is blisteringly fast for such turns (and thanks to the car’s wonderfully STABLE suspension, despite Aaron’s ridiculous claims to the contrary, is fun even if you decide to spin all four tires.) Sixth gear makes for comfortable cruising, and with more power than the Evo and similar weight levels, I’ve never gotten below 20 mpg, and usually get 22-23.

Even a Nissan Versa has a 6-speed – why can’t the Evo?

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