Sports cars can be fun, the power you feel behind the wheel on the road is, well, intoxicating. But have you ever thought about driving a high performance car on the dirt roads? Watching cars driving on dirt roads is much more exciting than on asphalt or paved roads. The excitement when the car bounces around, and as it slide through those slippery corners, the adrenaline as you miss a tree or stone by 5cm is invigorating. I personally have never tried driving rally, but it looks like a lot of fun. I've been into the WRC, and Rally Cross since I was in high school, and have always wanted a Lancer Evolution 6, but of course, at the time, my budget was a mere one thousand dollars, and the Lancer Evolution was not sold in the USA until the Evolution 8.
So let's take a look at the two main rally cars from Japan. The Subaru WRX STI, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Although, Mitsubishi hasn't been a in the Rally scene for quite some time, they are still producing a rally style car as the WRX competitor, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR
Engine: 2.0L MIVIC DOHC 16-Valve Intercooler Turbo
Max Power: 221kW (300PS) / 6500rpm
Max Torque: 422N・m (43.0kgf・m) / 3500rpm
From 32,500 USD
A stock Evo GSR sports a 2.0L MIVIC DOHC 16-Valve Intercooled Turbo with 300PS of power at 6400rpm. With all that power, how is it transferred to the ground? Apparently, the Evo has an S-AWC system, meaning the car transmits more power to the wheels with the most traction on the ground. If your front left tire has less traction, the system will translate the power to your other three tires with more traction, when you lose traction on the right side, more power will be translated to the left tires. This is a great system for those who are looking for a better control on the rougher roads.
Mitsubishi only uses a 5 speed manual transmission for their Evolutions. If you opt for the TC-SST automatic version, you get a 6 speed transmission. But in a car like this, why would you get an automatic transmission?
Overall, the car is technically sound, and has a fantastic system for the everyday driver, but for the enthusiast, most of us will be looking for 6 gears, and less computer traction control. Not only this, but there hasn't been much development in technology from the Evolution 6 to the current Evolution 10 leading me to believe that Mitsubishi doesn't care much about their beloved Evolutions anymore.
Subaru WRX STI
Engine: Boxer 2.0L DOHC Turbo
Max Power: 227kW (308PS) / 6400rpm
Max Torque: 422N・m (43.0kgf・m) / 4400rpm
Symmetrical AWD with multi-mode DCCD
From 31,500 USD
The STI sports a 2.0L Boxer Twin Scroll Turbo Engine, in which gives it more boost sooner, allowing for the higher torque at lower rpms. At 2400rpm, it puts out 90% of the max specified torque. Translating all that power to the wheels is a 6 speed manual transmission, allowing for better control, and a fun drive. And powering the wheels is a multimode Driver's Control Center Differential system allowing for more control of how much power you are sending to the front and rear tires.
The STI is a beautiful car, but there are so many out there that it makes them much less unique than say a Suzuki SX4 or the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. But in all reality, if you asked me "would you drive an STI?" I would say "Yes" in a heartbeat.
With all being said and done, the STI is a magnificent piece of engineering. However, with the number of Imprezas out there, owning an STI is just not as appealing when everyone has one, and you can see one at every corner stop.
Well, personally I am a fan of both cars, because, well...Rally. But at the end of the day, looking at the advancements in technology, and performance in each car individually, I would go with the STI, only electric blue in color, because STI, blue, gold rims. But if we were in the world of Back to the Future, and I had a Time Machine, I would definitely buy an Evolution, in red, specifically. But, my take on this is get what you like, and what you like to drive. Because a car is not only a form of transportation, it is a way of life.