When Universal made the no-brainer decision to put a second installment of "The Fast and the Furious" into production, one of the very first questions the suits asked themselves was "What corporate partners can we round up?" They talked to Honda, they talked to Ford, but they made their deal with Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi's cousin (through German relations) Dodge. That's why there are Dodge Rams and a Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder ("It's all sueded out!" said Tyrese) in the movie. And that's why this Lancer EVO VII gets a prominent role in the movie as one of the two primary rides of hero-dude Officer Brian O'Conner (Paul "Pretty Boy" Walker).
While the EVO VIII is now in U.S. Mitsu dealer showrooms wearing extortionate prices and a new nose, when "2F2F" was entering production the Evo VII was still the slickest EVO of them all. Unlike the other movie cars in this test, this one started production of the film as a brand-new piece of equipment and showed up in Fontana with just 178 miles on its odometer. It must have had its ass thoroughly kicked for at least 150 of them.
Mechanically, this EVO VII is stock, from the Brembos doing the stopping to the turbocharged 276-hp, 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve four, five-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive system responsible for propulsion.
What's not stock is the House of Kolor lime gold paint, the custom graphics, the Dream (D.A.M.D.) body kit, the 18-inch Motegi Racing wheels and the inevitable Toyo T1-S tires. One interesting modification is the adaptation of APC Lancer taillights to the wider EVO rear fenders. It either looks too funked to funk or absolutely perfect--it's your call. So it should perform pretty much like a stock EVO VII, right?
Well, no. At Fontana, the best run for this particular EVO was a 15.3-second rip through the quarter mile at just 88 mph and a lackluster 7.3-second trip to 60 from a dead stop. "It feels choked off," Jacquot says coming back from a run. "Like there's something in the intake sucking off all the horsepower. It feels like it's been driven hard and put away wet. It's down on power, definitely." A stock EVO VII will blitz to 60 in 5.2 seconds and spit out the quarter in 13.4 seonds at 103 mph. Maybe an hour and a can of Gumout could cure this EVO.
Or maybe it's terminal. We don't know.
As disappointing as the acceleration is, the handling is all still there. The EVO's 0.94g skidpad orbit matched the pink S2000's for best in the test and the reflexes are quick and direct. Sure the steering wheel is skewed so it's not straight up when the car is headed straight, but otherwise the essential tastiness of the EVO chassis remains vivid. The engine may have been beat, but the chassis still felt fresh. And unlike the Skyline, which had its all-wheel-drive system disabled for filming, all four of the EVO's wheels are still driven.
The big question about this car is why Mitsubishi didn't insist that it have the new nose it's bolting on the EVO VIII it's now selling here? From a marketing standpoint, wouldn't it have made sense for this high-profile movie car to look like the car Mitsu is selling as much as possible? Then again, if we knew anything about marketing, we'd be selling cars instead of writing about them.
|"2 Fast 2 Furious" Brian O'conner|
2002 Mitsubishi Evo VII
|Engine Code:||4G63|| |
|Type:||In-line four, iron block, aluminum head|| |
|Internal Modifications:||None|| |
|External Modifications:||None|| |
|Engine Management Mods:||None|| |
|Layout:||Transverse front engine, all-wheel drive|| |
|Drivetrain Modifications:||None|| |
|Wheels:||Motegi Racing|| |
|Tires:||Toyo T1-S, 235/45ZR-17|| |
|Quarter Mile Time:||15.3 sec.|| |
|Quarter Mile Speed:||88.0 mph|| |
|0-30 mph:||2.5 sec.|| |
|0-60 mph:||7.3 sec.|| |
|30-50 mph:||2.7 sec.|| |
|50-70 mph:||4.0 sec.|| |
|Lateral Grip (200-ft skidpad):||0.94g|| |
|60-0 stopping distance:||125 ft.|