The 1995 Lancer Evolution III cemented Mitsubishi’s dominance in rally and performance sedans. While compact and unassuming, the Evo III’s capabilities humiliated pricier rivals. Let’s examine the formidable technologies that made the Evolution III an automotive giant-killer.
More Power and Response
The Evo III’s 2.0-liter turbocharged 4G63 engine generated a stout 270 hp, nearly double the output of conventional competitors. New flow-optimized turbine blades reduced sluggish turbo lag for instant throttle response.
Shorter gearing amplified acceleration, while a larger intercooler tamed intake temperatures. Lightweight crank and cam components helped the motor rev freely all the way to its 7,000 rpm redline. This high-strung powerplant imbued the Evo with true sports car performance.
Balanced All-Wheel Drive Grip
Delivering such extreme power to just the front or rear wheels seemed impossible, so Mitsubishi innovated. Their advanced Active Yaw Control managed torque distribution to all four wheels for incredible traction.
Electronically-controlled differentials could vary front-to-rear torque split from 100:0 to 50:50 as needed. This dynamic vectoring enabled putting the Evo’s power down while maintaining control. Drivers could fully exploit the engine thanks to clever engineering.
Handling Dynamics Taken to Extremes
While acceleration impressed, nimble handling defined the Evo experience. Enlarged Brembo brakes enabled serious, repeated slowing power without fade. Wider 17-inch wheels wrapped in ultra-high performance rubber provided tenacious lateral grip.
The lowered and stiffened suspension, front strut tower brace, and larger anti-roll bars enabled flat, hard cornering and transitions. Steering response heightened for precise turn-in. Agility rivaled dedicated sports cars – unbelievable for a compact sedan.
Functional Aggressive Design
Aggressive functional details visually enhanced the Evo’s racy capabilities. A large hooded scoop fed cool air to the front-mount intercooler. Extended wheel arches covered the wide track stance. Front and rear spoilers generated downforce for stability.
The unique round tail lights stood out from vanilla Lancers. These appearance tweaks were subtle yet amplified the attitude. Form followed function in Mitsubishi’s aero styling.
Legendary Rally Pedigree
The street car’s radical enhancements were thanks to Mitsubishi’s rally program. Racing homologation rules required selling road-going versions. The Evo III housed accurate rally tech like the active center differential and turbocharged motor.
This direct translation of motorsport dominance to the street gave the Evo III an authentic competition aura. On the world’s roads, it dueled like a WRC champ against metal and timing. Each drive became a stage run.
Giant Slayer Punching Above its Weight
Despite a modest sedan shell and economical $25,000 price, the Evolution III could trounce exotics. Its relentless acceleration, composure at high speeds, and tenacious grip humiliated the likes of Porsche 911s and Acura NSXs costing twice as much.
Nothing could touch a Lancer Evolution III’s performance per dollar at the time. It redefined expectations of what a practical four-door family car could achieve. This overachiever attitude won worldwide fame and admiration.
The Dominant Compact Sedan of a Generation
In every measurable category, the Lancer Evolution III broke benchmarks for acceleration, handling, braking, grip, and rally prowess. It thoroughly dominated the sport’s compact field before most knew it existed.
Evolution sedans melded Mitsubishi’s racing expertise with innovative street car packaging. The Evo III stands out as the most focused and capable iteration, cementing itself as an automotive giant-killer for the ages.