Driven: 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR Touring

By Seyth Miersma

November 18, 2009

--Palm Springs, California

We're fresh from the driver's seat of the newest addition to the Lancer Evo fast family, the mildly more grown up MR Touring model. Mitsubishi has got a lot happening at its event in Palm Springs, California this afternoon (stay tuned for much more from this desert trip in coming days), but we felt we'd be remiss if we didn't check in with a few quick thoughts about the new Evo.

For those of you who haven't heard, the new Touring version of the Evolution is aimed at a slightly more mature buyer than its big-winged brothers. The standard Evo's tea-tray wing has been replaced here by a super subtle lip spoiler, making the car considerably less noticeable, right of the bat. Touring also receives a hot set of BBS wheels, a fully leather interior, a power sunroof, and heated Recaro buckets. Perhaps the most changing feature of the new Evo however, is the extra sound deadening material that has been stuffed in the car.

One of our biggest gripes with previous Evolutions was the raucous exhaust note that came throbbing out of the tailpipe, no matter how one worked to keep the revs down.  Don't get us wrong; we love a spirited engine note as much as anyone-for a certain period of time. After a while, especially if doing any kind of suburban or urban humdrum driving, that blat from the back starts to wear on one's nerves. Touring has tackled this problem in a savvy way, leaving more than enough throatiness to enliven the senses, while seriously dialing back the low-speed thunder. It's a compromise that we think makes the Evo a better all-around car.

Thankfully, the loss of the huge wing and the addition of the sound-stopping stuff seemed to have more or less cancelled each other out from a weight standpoint. The new Evo is only about 30 pounds heavier than the standard MR, meaning the car feels as dynamically sound as ever. We didn't notice a bit of difference over our, admittedly short, scoot through the desert this afternoon-the Evo still felt hugely accelerative, sweet handing, and grippy.

The only obvious downside of the MR Touring (other than the lack of a manual transmission, still available in the GSR only) is the pretty hefty price tag. An MSRP of $40,990 brings the top-dog Lancer into the territory of some pretty refined competition. We have no problem seeing the Evo compete dynamically with the likes of BMW and Audi, but we're not sure the overall quality is there yet. Still, we smell some compelling comparison tests in future-this isn't the last you'll hear about the Evo MR Touring from the Winding Road team.