Which is better? Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution vs. Subaru Impreza WRX Sti

The age long battle between JDM legends Subaru Impreza WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is a constant discussion point amongst JDM enthusiasts. Both vehicles feature all-wheel drive, turbocharged, four cylinder engines. They are both four door sedans, however the test Subaru vehicle in the following footage is the wagon version. It is said that the wagon Impreza handles better than the sedan due to weight balancing. The handling advantage over the Lancer is offset by Mitsubishi's MIVEC technology that yields a power band where valve lift and duration is modified for optimal power gains. These two cars are comparable, but which one is better?

Drive train comparison
The Mitsubishi does not offer a symmetrical all-wheel drive system even though it is typically favored by JDM enthusiasts. The Mitsubishi does not have a true center differential! Subaru features a longitudinal drive train with true center differential, while the Mitsubishi features a front wheel drive based center differential. The EVO is basically a front wheel drive vehicle with the rear wheel drive axle branched from the front wheel drive line. This is where Subaru has the advantage because they have a true center differential and an authentic symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi drive train layout

Subaru drive train layout
Engine balance
Beyond the drive train layout, the balancing of the engine is completely different. Subaru uses a flat four cylinder engine while Mitsubishi uses an upright, inline four cylinder setup. The top heavy front end of the Mitsubishi caused by a front biased drive train and tall heavy engine really reduce it's handling capabilities and induce nose plow. All of the weight is up front and very high, which produces unfavorable driving impressions. Subaru's flat four cylinder keeps the center of gravity low unlike the Mitsubishi engine. Combining this ultra low center of gravity plus a truly symmetrical all-wheel drive system leads the Impreza to track style domination.

Mitsubishi engine profile

Subaru engine profile
Power comparison
That being said, the Mitsubishi has it's advantages over the Subaru as well. It is much easier to make high amounts of power with the inline four cylinder engine for much cheaper price. Basic bolt on modifications can push an EVO well over 400 awhp. Driving in straight lines such as drag strips, the EVO can dominate out of shear power and more bang for buck. As long as you keep it going straight, the EVO will win! Enter the corners, and Subaru's low center of gravity and true center differential all-wheel drive system will take control of the race. It's all about your driving style, and technically both vehicles are aimed to satisfy two completely different markets.

According to our research above, the Subaru Impreza should win on this curvy course. Pay special attention to how the Impreza handles compared against the Lancer through the corners and you will see how a well balanced vehicle with low center of gravity can dominate in the corners.When you apply physics to automotive tuning, you can easily be amazed at how much basic elements of engine balance, drivetrain layout, and engine performance can all play a role!

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Source: Tampa Sports Car Examiner

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