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Old 12-12-2008, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Comparison Test: 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo MR vs. 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP





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We're playing follow-the-leader in the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR and the 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP. At the word "go," the heavy-lidded gaze of the G8's front fascia suddenly swells up in the Evo's rearview mirror. The sound of a rip-snorting V8 gains urgency before crowding and then finally overwhelming the Evo's tepid turbocharged whoosh as the G8 elbows its way past the Mitsubishi on the road.



It's a troubling moment for the Evo. Here's an icon that has earned a reputation for slaying giants and it's getting smoked by a Pontiac, of all things. A freakin' Pontiac. Evolution, indeed it needs to mutate into something that has another 85 horsepower if it is to stand a chance against this GXP right now.



A New Flavor of Alphabet Soup
What was that? A comparison test involving an Evo and the other car isn't a Subaru? Life's full of surprises. Get a helmet.


Forget about the Evo's natural rival, the Subaru WRX STI. Pontiac's V8-powered rear-wheel-drive GXP boasts not a single scrap of rally breeding, yet shares its mission of versatile performance with the Evo in a way the STI cannot. For example, both the G8 GXP and the Lancer Evolution MR are very high-performance cars that can be had with some kind of automatically shifting gearbox.


Here's your comparison: These are simply the most user-friendly overachieving sedans available for $40 grand.


The Lowdown
Consider for a moment that the G8 GXP is the most powerful Pontiac ever built, including all those Firebirds with halitosis-spewing poultry on their hoods. Don't burn your Burt Reynolds posters, though. This four-door sedan promises to continue the Trans Am's legacy of high performance.
For starters, the Corvette's 6.2-liter LS3 pushrod V8 is stuffed into the GXP's engine bay, and it generates 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, an amount just slightly less stonking than in the Chevy. A six-speed automatic transmission comes as standard equipment. Yes, you pay more for the optional six-speed stick. The original Bandit had a slushbox, too. Coincidence?


Options are few for the GXP. Aside from the manual gearbox (which this car lacks), there's a $900 sunroof (which this car wears). Otherwise, it's no different from the stick-equipped GXP we recently tested, from the suspension upgrades to its limited-slip differential. The GXP's final price is yet to be announced, but hints from the Pontiac peeps have us pretty confident in our $40,895 estimate, including destination.
The Lancer Evolution MR is powered by the same 291-horsepower turbocharged inline-4 found in all Evos. Its six-speed TC-SST dual-clutch automated gearbox is the sole transmission choice in the MR, and our test car (plucked from our fleet of long-term test cars) has been optioned with fancy Phantom Black paint and the Technology package, which includes navigation, premium audio and satellite radio. Its price with destination totals $41,785.


Technology Can Bite
Time has been kind to our long-term Evo, because even with 6,000 miles on the clock, it's quicker than when we first tested it in July. It now tackles 60 mph in 5.4 seconds (5.1 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and runs the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds at 99.7 mph. These results better its earlier performance by a few tenths, suggesting perhaps that its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine benefits from a few thousand miles of hard driving.


For all the ballyhoo about automated manual transmissions, the MR's TC-SST gearbox really hamstrings the Evo when it comes to catapulting forward from a standstill. Revs are limited by the engine controller to only 3,200 rpm when you're two-pedaling it on the starting line, which are too few revs to fully exploit the massive traction of the car's all-wheel-drive system.



What's more, if you do a few launches using this two-pedal technique, brake-torquing the car, the clutch pack soaks up enough heat to make the Evo belch up an electronic white flag, and it goes into self-protection mode until things can cool off. A Pro Stock drag car it is not.


Shattering Preconceptions
The G8 GXP, on the other hand, could do burnouts all day. Sure, its six-speed autobox doesn't have the sophistication of the Evo's dual-clutch affair, but the flip side is that it is also simpler. Heat doesn't enter the equation unless we're talking about the pavement that's liquefying beneath the rear meats during the GXP's 4.9-second sprint to 60 mph (4.6 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip).


And although the Pontiac out-flabs the Evo by nearly 400 pounds when you compare curb weight (4,049 pounds for the GXP and 3,658 pounds for the Evo MR), the big American sedan kills the quarter-mile some 0.7 second quicker than the all-wheel-drive upstart, blasting the 1320 in 13.1 seconds at 107.6 mph. Bye, bye, Evo.


When you lay into the throttle in the GXP, you don't get whacked in the chest by the force of acceleration, yet the speedo needle swings across the dial as if propelled by an irresistible magnetic force and the transmission's tall gearing makes the sensation seem endless.


When we got the keys to the GXP, the Pontiac guys casually mentioned that a GXP equipped with the automatic will out-accelerate the version with a manual transmission. Something about launching better, but we were too distracted by the GXP's good looks to remember the particulars. Sure enough, this performance by the autobox-equipped GXP trumps even the manual-transmission version we tested.



But don't go thinking the GXP is some one-dimensional muscle car. Our testing shows the G8 GXP's best stop from 60 mph to be 108 feet, compared to 113 feet in the Evo.
What's more, the G8 offers superior practicality. Its trunk volume is positively huge compared to the Evo's puny offering, and while rear-seat passengers fit well in the Evo, there's much more legroom in the G8. The Evo's cabin has shed the dime-store furnishings of previous iterations and now has a bit more style than even the G8. Still, the Mitsubishi's cabin echoes with a hollow boom on the road compared to the G8's interior, and the driving position is really hurting for a telescoping steering wheel.
Measured on the respective merits of these cars so far, things aren't looking so good for the Mitsubishi.


And Then the Road Curves
The G8 has breezed ahead of the Evo at this point. But since we're not the kind to give up easily, we're still hard on the gas in the Evo as we chase the G8 GXP. Then the first series of turns approaches.


From turn-in to midcorner to track-out, the Evo claws back big chunks of ground from the Pontiac's lead. Quickly the realization settles in that it's not just the Evo's heroic mechanical grip that plays to its favor. You also have a terrific sense of what the Mitsu's chassis is up to, since the steering is immediate and unfiltered in its communication. In no time you are slithering the Evo at its limits in full command of its cornering trajectory.



Now that we're away from the drag strip, the dual-clutch transmission's brilliance emerges. It snaps off gearchanges with decidedly more finesse and responsiveness than the GXP's six-speed automatic, and further offers multiple shift strategies in both automatic and manual modes. The GXP's traditional slushbox is a stone axe in comparison.


Leveraging Its Assets
A few turns later, the Evo noses past the G8. Open tarmac lies ahead, revealing a sequence of switchbacks. As we approach, the Evo's torque-transfer all-wheel-drive magic enhances the car's playfulness and promotes a neutral balance in the corners that can be adjusted with the throttle or a dab of left-foot braking. It's easy to place the Evo where you want it, and the traction of the all-wheel-drive system lets you reapply the throttle early and deeply as you hit the apex.



The Evo's 69.7-mph slalom run handily stuffs the GXP's 63-mph performance, and could have been better if its all-wheel-drive system had faster reflexes. In these circumstances, more of the Evo's performance envelope can be used more of the time, so one turn seems to flow naturally into the next. The Mitsubishi is simply faster and more engaging in these conditions than the GXP.


And it's not as though the GXP can't find its way through a chicane. Despite its size and weight, this G8 is a genuine sport sedan. Grip at the front is surprisingly tenacious, and the car's long wheelbase ensures that rotation toward the corner's apex is progressive. The chassis is terrifically solid think BMW, not Buick. It's obvious that a lot of engineering sweat went into making this car hide its weight so well when driven in anger yet ride with such comfortable fluidity.



But the GXP's steering is deaf and mute compared to the Evo's, and its steering wheel is too large and pockmarked with odd tumors around its rim. The automatic transmission is also all wrong for this kind of open-road driving. And grip? At 0.95g for the Evo to the GXP's 0.87g, it's game, set and match. The tighter the road, the farther ahead the Evo pulls.



Sealing the Deal
Surprisingly, the Evo MR is the better-equipped of these two cars, overturning the notion that rally replicas are for masochists. In addition to the aforementioned all-wheel-drive and the automated manual gearbox, the Evo offers a navigation system with a 30GB hard drive as well as keyless ignition.



The Evo's seats are a hundred times more supportive than the GXP's wider-is-better affairs, and the Mitsubishi's shift paddles on the steering column are made for full-throttle driving. Details like this make the Evo even more convincing as a driver's car. As a result, the Evo MR has a substantial edge over the GXP in this portion of our test scoring. And it turns out that this edge is enough to seal the deal.


The Pontiac G8 GXP does more than politely ask to be invited into the sport sedan mixer; it kicks the door in. Sure, it lays waste to the Evo in any contest of acceleration, but it's more than simply quick. Instead the G8 GXP is well-rounded in a way that carves out a special spot in the hierarchy of drivers' cars. Of course, even though the G8 GXP is quicker and cheaper with an automatic transmission than it is with a manual, you should still get the stick, as the auto just shaves too much man-burger from the LS3 V8's hairy chest in terms of driving satisfaction.


That it takes a car as good as the Evo to best the G8 GXP is a testament to what GM has accomplished with this Pontiac. The Evo MR is a car that has a high level of technological sophistication, and while an artificial test-track environment proves frustrating, a more complex driving environment like an imperfect road course reveals the Evo's organic approach to performance. The bits harmonize into a cohesive whole to decisive effect. Not only is the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo MR the more capable handler here, it has precision and tactility that the 2009 Pontiac G8 XP can't touch.


The Evo MR isn't about the numbers. It's about an amply equipped package which delivers a complete driving experience that's accessible to everyone. And that's why the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR wins this comparison test.


Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton says:
Rumble or whoosh. That's essentially what it boils down to for me. There was a time when I would've sold my girlfriend for the 415-horsepower Pontiac G8 GXP...back in 1984, when I was driving a 1969 AMC Javelin SST with the "Go Package." (For those who care about such things, it was the lowly "343" and not the stonking "390," but it was still a pretty stout performer.)


Don't get me wrong. I like the G8, especially this GXP version and the big motor (but with the manny-tranny). It makes all the right sounds, looks the part and, in my universe, represents what would've been the natural progression of the quintessential American Muscle Sedan. Had it not been for the unfortunate automotive landscape in the 1970s and 1980s, this car would've, could've and should've arrived here in 1990. The headlines would've read, "Best sedan in the world, bar none!" Check the calendar, my friends, and this American car owes its existence to the GM boys Down Under. Good on ya, mates.


But the Evo MR is unquestionably the more sophisticated piece of engineering. "More to go wrong," you say. "Nay," I say. This car owes its existence to the World Rally Championship. Ever seen the Rally of Acropolis (dirt and rocks), Monaco (narrow tarmac streets) and Finland (snow)? It's designed to do it all, and withstand it all. The computerized all-wheel-drive Evo is fast, nimble, tough, and it's this generation's muscle sedan. The rumble of the V8 has been replaced by the whoosh of a twin-scroll turbo in my heart.



Still, it was nice to visit my adolescence and listen to the GXP's V8 and "Men Without Hats" on satellite radio.
http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=137186



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Old 12-12-2008, 04:03 PM   #2
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ha ha
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:09 PM   #3
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another article written by pro 4cyl turbo dirt bags who just want to bash american products. no low end torque and streetability comparos? no trunk space comparos? come on now. plus they are totally different cars... how about compare cobalt-ss to F-150?
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:14 PM   #4
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another article written by pro 4cyl turbo dirt bags who just want to bash american products. no low end torque and streetability comparos? no trunk space comparos? come on now. plus they are totally different cars... how about compare cobalt-ss to F-150?
bitch moan whine cry
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:28 PM   #5
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Old 12-12-2008, 07:46 PM   #6
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another article written by pro 4cyl turbo dirt bags who just want to bash american products. no low end torque and streetability comparos? no trunk space comparos? come on now. plus they are totally different cars... how about compare cobalt-ss to F-150?
well American products SUCK!
big time!
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:20 PM   #7
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well American products SUCK!
big time!
Acutally, I think the G8 looks like a great car....just a behind the X.
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:23 PM   #8
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well American products SUCK!
big time!
Yeah, good thing the G8 is not an American car
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Old 12-12-2008, 08:46 PM   #9
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another article written by pro 4cyl turbo dirt bags who just want to bash american products. no low end torque and streetability comparos? no trunk space comparos? come on now. plus they are totally different cars... how about compare cobalt-ss to F-150?
Wat?

It's an odd comparison to be sure, but:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Article you should have just read
What's more, the G8 offers superior practicality. Its trunk volume is positively huge compared to the Evo's puny offering, and while rear-seat passengers fit well in the Evo, there's much more legroom in the G8.
I fail to see how doing nothing but praising the ever-loving crap out of the G8 equates to "bashing". They award the win to the Evo only after praising it's superior equipment, handling, and sophistication which add up to a better all-around feel, and make it quicker around a twisty track. Which make it a better sport sedan. Don't blame them for that, I'd rather have an E30 M3 than a C4 Vette or something, at least when it comes to driving experience.

I would probably take the G8, for it's livability and all-around badassedry. But despite that, I can't see how you think they are bashing the G8.

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Old 12-12-2008, 09:04 PM   #10
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another article written by pro 4cyl turbo dirt bags who just want to bash american products. no low end torque and streetability comparos? no trunk space comparos? come on now. plus they are totally different cars... how about compare cobalt-ss to F-150?

Do you have any reading comprehension, or was your post all tongue-in-cheek?

Where did they "bash" the G8? They stated over and over again that the G8 is a great looking car and will greatly out acceleration the Evo... but not everyone gives a crap about straight-line drag racing. It appears that the G8 doesn't have the toss-ability or handling that the Evo has - and being a much larger car, I am not surprised. I am disappointed though, that the G8 doesn't have a more communicative steering... and there have been quite a few reviews stating that too. And then there is the issue of the automatic in the G8.

Would you rather them gloss-over the G8's deficiencies? Do you think the G8 is "perfect" just because it is an Australian, opps, I mean an "American" car so it should win automatically? It's a great large car, but it's not perfect.

At first this comparo did indeed seem a little strange until they stated that both cars cost about the same amount of money. Last time I checked, people usually look at cars in the same price category, and not just look at one segment. If anything, these type of comparos should be telling GM to come out with a mid-sized RWD performance car that can compete with the likes of the Evo.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:13 PM   #11
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I kind of wonder sometimes if Juggernaut and MonaroCountry are related somehow.

Personally, I thought it was a very flattering review for the G8.
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:42 PM   #12
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Seems like a fairly honest review.

Personally, I would not cross shop these cars. I'd buy each one for a completely different reason. The only car I'd compare the Evo to is the STI, and I'd take the Subaru every time...
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Old 12-13-2008, 12:50 AM   #13
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If anything they poked fun of the STI not being considered in this 'match-up' because Subaru doesn't have anything in the US to compare the Evo MR, not even in cost. But no one read that... just the G8 bashing...

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Old 12-13-2008, 12:56 AM   #14
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the G8 is huge have you ever seen one of those?

If i compared the EVO and the STi, I'd get them both. (not a X though)

I'm stilling working on the evo.......
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Old 12-13-2008, 01:37 AM   #15
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This article reinforces my desire for the GXP...if only it came in a coup!
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:09 AM   #16
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This article reinforces my desire for the GXP...if only it came in a coup!
Well it did, a couple years ago. You can probably cut a great deal on a used one.

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Old 12-13-2008, 10:45 AM   #17
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And it will again, if you can wait a couple years... and if GM can last that long.

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Old 12-13-2008, 01:39 PM   #18
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If anything they poked fun of the STI not being considered in this 'match-up' because Subaru doesn't have anything in the US to compare the Evo MR, not even in cost. But no one read that... just the G8 bashing...
lol, yeah kind of painful for Subaru.
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Old 12-13-2008, 02:06 PM   #19
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lol, yeah kind of painful for Subaru.
as horrible of a thing this is to say within the subaru community, currently owning 3 subarus.

I am on my way out of the subaru world. It just feels like they aren't listening to what their US performance market wants. And if they are listening they just aren't keeping up with other car manufacturers. Now i'm an engineer and understand how long it takes to develop improvements, and i understand that the only way to speed things up is to throw money at the problems, money that subaru doesn't have compared to mitsubishi and such.....

I am sorry but thats the way it is.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:27 PM   #20
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I am on my way out of the subaru world. It just feels like they aren't listening to what their US performance market wants. And if they are listening they just aren't keeping up with other car manufacturers. Now i'm an engineer and understand how long it takes to develop improvements, and i understand that the only way to speed things up is to throw money at the problems, money that subaru doesn't have compared to mitsubishi and such.....
From a marketing standpoint, selling a few thousand STis/year isn't going to generate revenue. Subaru needs to do exactly what they're doing - as much as it sucks. Subaru needs to concentrate on the bland cars that they sell 50,000/year of rather than cater to the small niche performance market. Believe it or not, we are the minority here amongst Subaru owners.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:29 PM   #21
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From a marketing standpoint, selling a few thousand STis/year isn't going to generate revenue. Subaru needs to do exactly what they're doing - as much as it sucks. Subaru needs to concentrate on the bland cars that they sell 50,000/year of rather than cater to the small niche performance market. Believe it or not, we are the minority here amongst Subaru owners.
I agree with you 100%. but since i'm not interested in subaru econo-boxes thats why they might lose me as a customer.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:44 PM   #22
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Well it did, a couple years ago. You can probably cut a great deal on a used one.

commodores and monaros are totally different cars.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:17 PM   #23
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commodores and monaros are totally different cars.
Yeah, one's a coupe, one's a sedan. Same platform, same running gear, essentially the same car (though the GTO was based on the previous gen Commodore, and the G8 is the new Zeta-based Commodore). Hell the Monaro the GTO is based on actually debuted with the title Commodore Coupe Concept.

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Old 12-13-2008, 06:59 PM   #24
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I have considered a GTO as a weekend driver, but I'm not a huge fan of the style, I really like the GXP though. Guess I will have to wait and see.

And the Camaro is VERY much on my list!
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:57 PM   #25
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From a marketing standpoint, selling a few thousand STis/year isn't going to generate revenue. Subaru needs to do exactly what they're doing - as much as it sucks. Subaru needs to concentrate on the bland cars that they sell 50,000/year of rather than cater to the small niche performance market. Believe it or not, we are the minority here amongst Subaru owners.
Hence Subaru was the ONLY car manufacture with positive sales growth in the first 3 quarters of this year.

I cross shopped a G8 and STI .. then I realized it snows here.

I might have well bought the G8 over it IF I could have had the GT with a 6 speed and they didn't have the stupid Oil and Battery light in the center of the dash.

Other then that it's a torque monster.
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