Marking over two decades of continuous production, during which no less than 10 generations of the model were made and millions of fans were created, Mitubishi’s Lancer Evolution nameplate is about to enter its final year, but not without one last battle cry in the form of the sports car’s most powerful variant yet. Some say and hope that the said model will be previewed by a concept car that’s scheduled for the upcoming 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon, which runs from January 9 to 11, 2015, called the Evo X HKS Concept Final.

While Mitsubishi has made it pretty clear that the Evo X will be the last of its kind, with a future replacement model most definitely switching to a hybrid powertrain and no rally heritage, there is still some life left in the current generation. In the fall of 2014, a Mitsubishi USA spokesperson let it slip that a limited "going away" edition of the Evo X will be launched in 2015, albeit that may not the model that is set to hit the Tokyo Motor Show.

Featuring a rather monstrous performance upgrade courtesy of known Japanese tuner HKS, the Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final has a rather unassuming exterior look even though it packs a knockout punch underneath that vented hood. No less than 480 horsepower are squeezed out of its four-cylinder, thanks to a HKS turbocharger, new intake and exhaust system, a better intercooler and a new ECU. Just like in a regular EVO X GSR, the power is sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.

Currently there is no official confirmation about the possibility of the car entering production, but the signs do point to something of the kind. The only bad news is that it will most likely be limited to its home market, although UK and U.S. versions are also likely to follow in the summer of 2015. Until then, the Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final represents a pretty nice way to end a legendary lineage of rally-inspired sports cars.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final.

  • 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X HKS Concept Final
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    480
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.2 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    186 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    37500 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

Despite the unholy levels of performance that its 480 horsepower four-banger has on tap, the overall look of the Lancer Evo X HKS Concept Final is almost like that of a sleeper, with little details to differentiate it from a standard Evo X GSR model. A "frozen" matte paint now adorns most of the body panels, while parts of the grille get a black-chrome finish.

The "Darth Vader’s ride" look is completed by a set of black, 19-inch, multi-spoke, forged alloy wheels from RAYS, which are shod with Yokohama Advan Neova performance tires. Other than that and the addition of subtle "HKS Concept Final" stickers on the doors, you would probably confuse the model with any other black-on-black Evo X out there. Hopefully, the true "final edition" variant of the Evo will get a slightly more differentiated exterior design.

Interior

There are currently no interior images with the HKS Concept Final, but from the single official photo of the exterior we can see that the Recaro bucket seats are identical to those of the original model. We can probably expect some carbon-fiber inserts, some extra Alcantara on the steering wheel and maybe a numbered plate in the limited-edition variant, but other than that the interior ambiance should be identical to the production model. The overall look isn’t what you would call modern though, as the Evo X was introduced back in 2007. Even so, "coziness" and "luxurious" have never been part of the Lancer Evolution dictionary, which is probably for the better as it would have detracted from what the model used to be all about.

Drivetrain

Powered by a thoroughly reworked variant of the 4B11T engine from the base Evo X, the HKS Concept Final sends no less than 480 horsepower and an undisclosed amount of torque at the wheels through Mitsubishi’s S-AWC four-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring. The ginormous amount of power probably comes with a hefty amount of turbocharger lag, but nothing is certain until someone tests how the engine actually puts the power down via those Yokohama Advan Neova tires.

HKS achieved those numbers thanks to an all-new, larger turbocharger, a redesigned intercooler, a new intake and an exhaust system, all of which manage to work together thanks to a new ECU. Acceleration numbers are unavailable at this moment, but considering that the UK-only FQ-400 variant could hit 60 mph in under four seconds, we can expect the more powerful HKS model to be even faster than that.

Prices

Since this is technically just a concept car for the time being, there are obviously no prices available, but when Mitsubishi and HKS do decide to make it as a limited edition model you can expect the Concept Final to become the most expensive production Lancer in history. The UK-only FQ-400 was available starting at just under 50,000 British Pounds (approx. $78,000 as of 12/29/2014), so the 480-horsepower Japanese monster would likely exceed that number.

Competition

Subaru WRX STi

2015 - 2016 Subaru WRX STI High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 548611

With a lineage whose length coincides with that of the Lancer Evolution, the Subaru WRX STi has always been the number one Nemesis for the Mitsubishi model. Partly thanks to more WRC victories under its belt and more successful road-going variants, the WRX STi has a much brighter future though, especially since its latest generation was launched in 2014 and is now just at the beginning of its career. With that being said, the regular WRX STi’s performance numbers don’t stand a chance compared with the 480 horsepower delivered by the Mitsu, so from that perspective this is a battle lost from the start.

On the other hand, there are plenty of tuners that can tickle the internals of the WRX STi’s boxer engine and give it a bit more oomph. Now that the model is only available in sedan guise, it is still the only true alternative to the Evo, no matter how much performance has been squeezed out of it. Too bad that in the end it will outlive its rival from Mitsubishi.

Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG

2014 Mercedes CLA 45 AMG High Resolution Exterior
- image 499293

I know what you’re saying, but bear with me for a moment. On paper, the CLA 45 AMG and the Evo X, even in HKS Concept Final form, are very much alike. Both are FWD-based all-wheel-drive compact sedans and both are powered by a two-liter four-pot that has been turbocharged into oblivion. Even though that may be the case, the CLA 45 AMG is obviously part of a very different breed of performance cars and there is almost nothing that looks rally-inspired on the model.

With "only" 355 horsepower and a naught-to-60-mph acceleration time of 4.4 seconds, the smallest Mercedes-Benz sedan doesn’t quite sit on the same pedestal as the modified Evo X, but from some points of view it could be a pretty good alternative. One of those is in regards of pricing, believe it or not, as the CLA 45 AMG starts at just under $50,000 in the U.S., a smaller sum than what Mitsubishi would request for a 480-horsepower limited-edition Evo X.

Conclusion

Despite offering more power than any other Lancer before it, there is something truly sad about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X HKS Concept Final, and no, it’s not its mouthful of a name. It is the fact that despite having a history of almost 23 years and 10 generations, the Evolution is about to meet its maker. Sure, it may be at some point replaced by a sporty hybrid, but this rally rig turned street car will soon be no more.

What a better way to end an era than with a bonkers, close-to-500-horsepower variant, though? The HKS Concept Final is nearly twice as powerful as the first Evo back in 1992, making for a pretty awesome way to kick the bucket. I’m just hoping that the concept car will spawn an equally bad-ass production variant that will be available in all traditional markets. Maybe its eventual success will even convince Mitsubishi not to retire the Evolution nameplate for good, as there is no shortage of old-school Evo fans around the world.

  • Leave it
    • Just a concept car for now
    • May be built for Japan only
    • Probably very expensive
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