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Mitsubishi Evo vs Nissan GT-R

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Mitsubishi Evo X SST and Nissan GT-R go head to head in this comparitive review.

4 stars

VALUE from $66,390

3.5 stars

VALUE from $168,800

Less than half the price and just as much fun as the GT-R. Huge five-year overall warranty (and 10-years on drivetrain) is impressive. Evo gets the dual-clutch robotised manual box with slick - shifting six cogs and a superb chassis with suspension adjustment. The seats are both comfortable and supportive but then the Evo shows up its budget Lancer origins. It takes the edge off the ambience, nothing tears down the exhilarating performance. After all, that's what you're paying for.

The price looks like it kills this comparison. It doesn't.
The GT-R is designed to do roughly the same thing as the Evo - get you as quickly as possible from A to Z while minimising a mid - journey trouser change-but is
more than twice the price. That said, it's also $90,000 cheaper than a Porsche Carrera S. Features are extensive as 2011 is V-Spec standard. The car is also very well built - a surprise for past Nissan owners - while looking like it's carved from a block of granite.


It's all under the body: adjustable suspension through three modes, electronically-monitored "active" centre and rear diffs that constantly allocate power to the wheel with traction, a sports setting in the sequential gearbox to sharpen up the action, aluminium body panels,
close - ratio steering and a new-breed of Evo's traditional 4G engine, the 2-litre 217kW/366Nm 4B11.

Lots here as Nissan changes 70 per cent of the mechanical components in the 2011 model.
The 3.8-litre V6 ups power/torque to 390kW/612Nm; the front brake rotors are bigger at 390mm; yaw and pitch help the electronics distribute power to the four wheels; the transmission has a super-fast "R-mode" and an eco-mode called "save"; the dampers are now made of aluminium; and there's hectares of carbon-fibre, magnesium and alloys in die-cast, forged and sheet formats. It all helps get the 0-100km/h time down to 3.0 seconds.

3 stars


4 starsDESIGN

Add-ons lift the conservative styling of the Lancer's exterior from a rep-mobile to something a bit special,
though it's the exhaust noise that says it all. Body is effective - four doors, five seats, spacious boot-but except for the front Recaro sports seats, the cabin is as you'd expect from a model that sells from $21,490.
To be kinder, the new and more aggressive nose, bonnet, tail-mounted spoiler and spidery 18-inch Enki wheels help to identify the Evo.

Carved from stone using an angle grinder. The wedged side glass, Star Wars trooper angled body panels and the sheer size of the GT-R make it unmissable. Side by side, it makes the Evo look like a child's toy. The cabin is black - natch - and crammed with flickering lights, switches, knobs and lots and lots of numbers plus comfortable seats. It certainly doesn't feel threatening and you begin to wonder what the fuss is about. Then you start the engine.

4 starsSAFETY 3 starsSAFETY

Lancer was Australia's first affordable five-star car.
Nothing's changed. Evo has all the same merits-including electronic stability and seven airbags-but arguably adds extra passive safety by its dynamic all-wheel drive grip.

Not tested. Aside from the crash test, the GT-R is a mobile wonder of electronics designed to maximise stability including all-wheel drive, continuous stability and traction assessment over four wheels and humungous brakes. Has six airbags and tyres are specially-designed Dunlop SP Sport MAXX 600 run flats.

4 starsDRIVING 4.5 starsDRIVING

Compared with some earlier Evos-the 6.5 was my favourite-the X initially feels benign. Run it in full-auto and it'll live quietly and without complaint in the suburbs. Get it to the track, however, and it'll raise the hairs on your neck. Flick the console lever to "sport", tune the diffs to "tarmac" and move the stubby gearshifter to the manual mode. Crank the engine over, pull on the right-side paddle shifter on the steering column and bye-bye competition. Scratch the lancer surface and it's an explosive package. But don't think its on-road gentility transfers to the track.The Evo is made for someone who knows how to drive, especially the ability to exploit its twitchy characteristics through the fast corners. Fun, but watch out in case it bites.

Where the Evo goes from personable to positively offensive in a matter of seconds, the GT-R delivers its threat with more composure. It's easier to drive and more comfortable, quieter yet comparatively heavier and more readily shows its bulk. But what performance! Even in full auto mode the engine rushes in a seamless line - unbelievably quiet and smooth - to the tacho's redline and effortlessly dispenses with lesser cars. On the Wanneroo Raceway it bites the tarmac and only starts a mild four-wheel drift when pressed too hard or when it hits the rubber left by previous racecars. Always, it is composed and controllable with excellent chassis feedback that's only let down by a vague steering feel. A wonderful piece of machinery.

4 stars image
4.5 stars image


Based on having fun - and a family at home - you may win the argument with the wife over the Evo. It's a lot of fun, but figure out where you're going to have that fun. The GT-R is an expensive coupe that is delightfully easy to punt and unbelievable in its fun factor on the track. Price is, of course, the big issue here. Bang for your bucks goes to Evo; thrill factor to the GT-R.

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 9 comments

  • @ Steven A. I agree the Evo is legendary in its own right BUT! It far behind in regards with the GT-R’s own legendary resume. Ever since the Hakosuka to the GTR32 days, the GT-R blood line has been setting the bar and making motor sports records along the way. It has been banned, thrown with record high weight handicap because of sheer dominance, the blood line is simply is the most motorsport successful sportscar Japan has ever made. Heck it even was the reason changed Grp. A changed its rulebooks! Evo did dominate in the rally before but, its futile compared to what the GT-R line has done.

    GT-R badge =  JDM Supercar. Evos = JDM performance sedan.
    If you have the money then go ahead with the GT-R. If you don’t, then by all means get the fast four door! I currently own a Skyline GT-R, and a CT9A Evo. Both are fun to drive, the Evo can be a daily (but I don’t). While the GT-R is the weekend car.

    BNRCT Posted on 20 March 2014 1:41am
  • GT-R badge = JDM Supercar. Evos = JDM performance sedan.  No match, if you have the money go ahead w/ the GT-R. If not then by all means get this quick four door.

    BNRCT Posted on 20 March 2014 1:23am
  • John evo is not your mums lancer, its a different in many aspects compare to the regular lancer, i bet you drive your mums corolla or havent driven an evo before lool

    Teej of Melbourne Posted on 14 February 2014 11:12am
  • I drive an Evo-X MR. Its my everyday car. I love it. Its a poors man’s GTR. It handles like a pocket rocket. Only people who own an Evo can understand its power. I couldn’t afford a brand new GTR. But even if I had a $180 grand lying around I wouldn’t get a GTR, its the best super car in the market but as an all round vehicle it sucks big time. I can’t scare the shit out of my friends in the national parks with a GTR…. the look on their face is precious.

    Jogi Mandapaka of Sydney, Australia Posted on 12 February 2014 12:15pm
  • Evo is in so many more people’s price bracket, given you get so much pleasure as a drivers car I would rather have 2 Evo’s and get them TMR factory modified. More practical and same cost as one GTR. Great value for 2 cars that can run 0-100 in around 4 seconds

    Andy of QLD Posted on 05 July 2012 3:32pm
  • These two cars are in completely different categories.Id be shopping the Evo against the WRX or the far less expensive Megane RS 250 Cup Trophee. Yes they are thrilling,but so is a similarly priced Maloo with a comparable 0-100kmh,when driven well.With a 0-100kmh of 3 seconds,the GT-R is in the rarified supercar league with unmatchable bang for buck and the added advantage that its an excellent daily driver with 4 seats.As much as they have cachet,history and desirability,none of the Europeans are in the same league as a value for performance statement.A genuine camparo would be against a 911 GT3 that costs 270K more.Otherwise,why would Porshe be so upset when Nissan took the Nurburgring?Points to Nissan for being a genuine game-changer and forcing the Europeans to come to the value party.

    christopher james of croydon Posted on 30 December 2011 9:52pm
  • 4 stars value rating for the and 3.5 stars for GT-R? Sorry, but the reviewer has the value comparison completely wrong. Value is all relative and the GT-R is miles ahead of the Evo in terms of value relative to performance (these are performance cars, aren’t they?). There are any number of cars around the same money as the Evo with similar performance eg. STI, 135i etc.
    However, there is nothing around the GT-R’s money with equivalent performance. You need to go to multiples of the GT-R’s price before you reach performance parity - Think 911 turbo, 458, Aventador.

    John Posted on 10 September 2011 9:03pm
  • The Mitsubishi Evo is a legendary vehicle thats almost started its own religion, there is no denying is absolute brilliance. I’m not sure how this comparison can be made as these vehicles are completely different but at $100k more for the Nissan its obvious the Evo is the real world winner here. And anyone considering a European vehicle in the similar price range as the Nissan/Datsun certainly would NOT consider a GTR.

    Steven A of Sydney Posted on 07 September 2011 2:49pm
  • What point is there running a comparison between these two? If you’re looking at a GT-R you’re much more likely to be shopping it against an M3 Coupe, and RS5 or maybe the new Merc AMG Coupe, not your mums Lancer.

    John Posted on 07 September 2011 1:44am
Read all 9 comments

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