There's a reason Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution has the name it does. The car has been evolving as a rolling test bed for Mitsubishi since its inception in 1992. Rather than build a new car and re-badge it with each new model cycle, the company has simply added the next consecutive number after the now iconic nameplate, "Evolution." That's because historically, each new Evolution has essentially been the technologically improved version of its immediate successor. Consider this: The first six Evolutions were built on the same core chassis, practically defining them as a step in evolution.

But it's obvious that the game has changed in 2008. Mitsubishi is going after a different demographic altogether, and they've changed more than a few things substantially to net the client they seek. That's fine and dandy, but what we want to know is whether this car is worthy of the "Evolution" badge-does it have that extra degree of "special" that made the old car so good?

He Said, Mitsubishi Said
Head developer Ryugo Nakao says, "...to date, the main thrust has been how fast we can make them [go]... But in our view things have now changed. Today's new generation of super high-performance machines need to deliver more than absolute speed; they have to wrap that speed in safety and in comfort." In a nutshell, Mitsubishi's goal is to go after the people who've grown up, bought the boring cars associated with growing up and misshauling ass.

As you might expect, the company intends to reconcile these opposing demands with a series of acronyms-the first, and perhaps most critical, is the Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamics system, which is comprised of Active Yaw Control (AYC), an Active Center Differential (ACD), ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and finally, Active Stability Control (ASC).

If that wasn't a mouthful, a dual-clutch Sports Shift Transmission (SST) takes the place of a six-speed manual in the Evo MR, and the 4G63 has been chucked in the dumpster, in favor of a new 4B11T engine. The new mill of course has a new turbo and, lest we forget, is bolted to an entirely new chassis.

Mitsubishi says we're looking at a car that can straddle the fence between performance and comfort. But don't panic just yet. Let's have a look at the systems before we judge, shall we?

Perhaps the single biggest difference between an Evo IX and an Evo X is the addition of a system that Mitsubishi calls S-AWC. In an effort to regulate the massive number of acronyms that have been accumulating in the Evo's repertoire, the company came up with one all-encompassing term to describe all of the systems at once.

The Significance Of Ayc As A Component Of The Big Picture
Easily the most important part of S-AWC is AYC. The Evo X is hardly the first Evo to have this tasty little system, though it will be the first America-bound Evo with the technology. The fact is that the Evo has been employing the AYC since 1997, when it was introduced in the middle of the Evo IV cycle. In a nutshell, AYC is able to distribute torque between the two rear wheels (torque vectoring) after it has been distributed by the center differential, to aid turn-in. Think of it as an understeer eraser.

It does this by using two hydraulic clutch packs, which regulate the torque on each rear axle. The system gained the word "Super" in the Evo VIII and "S-AYC" in the Evo IX, because the latest iteration used a planetary gearset, allowing a more aggressive torque split than previous systems.