After the widebody Lancer Evolution IX MR ARC built for last year's Tokyo Auto Salon, show goers were expecting something just as eye-catching this year. But time was a major factor in the preparation of the company's '08 show car, which as decided earlier on it was going to be the new Evo X. With the car hitting dealerships across Japan on Oct. 1, ARC had just over two months to work on the all-new Evo.
Priorities called for most of the attention to be given to components underhood-but this had its own set of problems. With the arrival of the Evo X, the old and trustworthy 4G63 was sent off to retirement and replaced by the all-new, all-aluminum 4B11. The guys at Mitsubishi changed everything that could be changed, like the engine's position, which now not only sits marginally lower and rearward in the new stiffer chassis but was also rotated 180 degrees compared to the 4G63. This means that the hot side is virtually behind the dashboard and the intake is where the turbine used to sit in previous generation Evos (IV to IX; I through III had the same layout). ARC had to start from scratch with the X but looking at the pictures on these pages, we can safely say they've done a great job with this first set of modifications.
As we arrive at the company's recently relocated headquarters in Fuji city, the snowstorm that has been falling throughout the morning has given way to rain, but the temperature shows no sign of rising. The Evo X is all washed up and ready to go, sitting under the large canopy that covers the area in front of the two adjacent factory buildings. After having seen the car in the halls of the Tokyo Auto Salon less than two weeks prior, we were surprised at how much better it looks out in the open.
The so-called "Phantom Black Pearl" is a very dark hue that tends to hide the smooth flowing, yet aggressive lines of the extremely modern-looking X. ARC tried their hardest to spice up the looks with a set of mirror-effect decals on the sides, roof and front splitter but the car is desperately calling for some aftermarket add-ons to further work on the great base Mitsubishi has provided. As Tanaka-san of ARC explains, "Being a company primarily focused on creating products for the mechanical side of cars, we had to give priority to products that best represent us on the market." That's why, wheels and lowered ride height aside, you'll only find small accents such as heated titanium Mitsubishi badges (front and rear), Colt Speed carbon pillar garnishes and dry-carbon air duct for the center intake on the hood.
All of the eye candy we saw at the ARC booth at the Tokyo Auto Salon was all underhood. As with every ARC car, the first thing you notice in the engine bay is always their aluminum airboxes. In this case, it's a pretty large unit sitting where the stock item used to be. This uses a sealed lightweight box to create just the right amount of intake pressure, all the time sealing passing air away from the engine's high temperatures. An oiled foam filter sits on top and has been proven to offer great filtration characteristics, helping provide a lower intake resistance without letting any nasty stuff through. A second filter is positioned where the stock air guide enters the airbox, allowing the air coming from the grille area to get the same filtration as the one taken in from the top core.