Super Nippon Battle! “WRX” vs “Evolution X”

18 04 2008

A few weeks ago while driving down right off-of Central Avenue by Columbia Heights and Fridley, I saw an angry velociraptor-like vehicle driving towards me on the other side of the 2-lane road. My heart skipped a beat, the pupils of my eyes dilated, and everything went into slow-mo. It was starting to get dark but the low-slung advancing menacing outline was quite unmistakably the brand new 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Fleeting seconds yawned into minutes and the world seemed to pause giving me the kind of experience space travelers would be going through in the distant future as they engaged into warp speed.

At that very moment, my heart beats were obnoxiously loud as they blended with the rumbling sounds from the 2008 Evolution’s dual-exhaust tail-pipes leaving behind only a haunting melody. A flash of red and the doppler effect acting upon the exhaust notes blew by as I sat in my Civic mesmerized by it all.

I said “OMG DID you SEE that? That was the brand new Mitsubishi Evolution X!!!” to which Kaci said “That green car up ahead?” motioning to some soulless home appliance of a Ford Taurus as it pulled into our lane and sped away.

A week prior to the sighting of this rare beast, I happened upon the previous incarnation of it on Larpenteur Rd with Nima and Kaci in tow. The Evolution IX was a beauty to behold but in terms of sheet-metal magic, the new Evolution (no longer called the Evolution X) was decades ahead of the car it was replacing.

Above is a picture of what the new $32,990 (plus a handsome $5,000 in additional junk any dealer would throw in to bump the price) Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution looks like. It comes with an intercooler turbo mounted to feed the stampeding 291 horses hidden in the 2.0 liter MIVEC engine. All 4 wheels roll on the usual grippy S-AWC (Super-All Wheel Control) AWD (all-wheel drive) setup allowing you for greater control in slippery conditions than any FWD (front-wheel drive) or RWD (rear-wheel drive) automobile.

So why did I bring this up? Was driving out on 10th St today heading west when all of a sudden, I felt a sense of deja-vu. The space time continuum ripped to shreds as time stood still. My hands gripped the now seemingly unfamiliar steering wheel of the Civic as an ominous shadow loomed in at my one O’clock. A black 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX peered out from a back road looking to get onto the busy street. If you’re into cars, you are most likely to understand the immense rivalry between the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX (STi) fans.

Unfortunately for Subaru, ever since Toyota bought a majority stake in Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company of Subaru, it was to be expected that the wild bluestars of World Rally Championship legends was finally going to be tamed. So when the 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX (the WRX STi is eye-candy but is quite a bit more expensive) was unveiled, there was a visual sigh of disappointment from millions of fans across the world. While the exterior design elements focused on function over form, the spongy suspension system on the AWD (All-Wheel Drive) didn’t make much sense. After all, this was an Impreza WRX, not a Subaru Legacy (the car you pick if you prefer comfort with AWD in a Subaru).

It wasn’t supposed to be comfortable. It wasn’t supposed to look like a doorstop. Most of all, it wasn’t supposed to be a Corolla. But for the brief 5 seconds that I got to see it, I could tell it was almost as tall as the ugly Dodge Caliber but the giant turbo scoop on the front brought things into perspective. It was a nice looking ride but then again, somewhat plain-jane like a MazdaSpeed3. The black paint definitely helped.

As I drove by admiring the car (What a hypocrite. I just dissed it right here in my blog in this very post), my eyes fixated themselves on a vertical black-sprayed metal thing behind the front grill and the oval logo. Not sure why but everything was in slow-motion and it felt like I was quickly panning the car to look for something that stood out other than the air-intake hood scoop. Controlling the movements of my eye balls felt like using a dusty old analog computer mouse that needed cleaning and you knew it because of the jerky cursor movements on the screen. I duly noted that this WAS indeed the brand new turbo-charged 224 hp $24,850 Impreza WRX and not the STi nor the Legacy nor anything else. And then, I drove past it.

An album of the British band, The Subways, was blaring out OH YEA OH YEA on my CD player and so I missed the chance to even hear the toned down whimpers of the Mitsubishi Evolution’s once great arch-nemesis. Oh Subaru. You will be loved … again someday.

A couple of videos on the Impreza WRX STi against the Lancer Evolution.


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