One of the longest-serving performance engines of the modern
era is the Mitsubishi 4G63 Turbo. This 2-litre in-line four has powered the
Japanese company to countless rally victories since the late ‘80s – and it
continues to provide excellent bang for buck in the current Lancer Evo.
We take a look at the evolution of this rock-solid hi-po
The first use for the 4G63 Turbo was in the Japanese spec
Galant VR-4 and Eterna ZR-4 of 1988.
The 4G63 Turbo employs a 85mm bore and 88mm stroke to displace
a total of 2 litres and breathes through a DOHC, 16-valve head. The iron block
is also fitted with a pair of balance shafts that reduce vibration and, in early
turbo form, the static compression ratio is a relatively low 7.8:1. These early
examples also use a dual-stage ‘Cyclone’ intake manifold, TD05H-14G turbocharger
and a generously sized front-mount air-to-air intercooler. Output is 151kW at
6000 rpm and 294Nm at 3000 rpm. The only gearbox available initially was an AWD
In 1989 the engine was tweaked to
deliver 162kW in 5-speed manual versions. We believe this extra power comes from
ECU tuning changes. A 4-speed auto version was also introduced but it’s detuned
to 154kW (though still with 294Nm peak torque).
The next year brought another power increase for the Japanese
VR-4 – some RS and ‘Evo O’ versions came with a larger TD05-16G turbocharger
that helps deliver a substantial 176kW along with 304Nm of torque. Auto versions
remain pegged at 154kW/294Nm.
In Australia, the all-paw Galant VR-4 was introduced in 1990.
The local spec car has a non-variable ‘ECI’ intake manifold, a different
ignition system, smaller intercooler and more conservative ECU mapping. The
result of all this is 148kW and 279Nm – less than any of the Japanese-spec
Nineteen-ninety also saw the release of the Eclipse GSR coupe
with an optional 4G63 Turbo engine. The Eclipse was a popular export car for
Mitsubishi and, not coincidentally, uses the same engine as the
Australian delivered VR-4. Interestingly, the Eclipse turbo is available with an
AWD or FWD gearbox – it’s the only 4G63 Turbo car with the option of
And it was about now Mitsubishi decided to get deadly serious
with the 4G63.
To create the first ‘Evolution’ Lancer in 1992, Mitsubishi
ditched the 1.8-litre turbo engine found in the go-fast Lancer GSR and dropped
in a reworked version of the VR-4 4G63 Turbo. The Evolution 1-spec 4G63 features
a big air-to-air intercooler, Inconnel turbine TD05-16G turbo, a higher static
compression ratio (8.5:1), modified port configuration, new injectors and a
lighter piston, conrod and crankshaft assembly. These changes netted a maximum
of 184kW at 6000 rpm and 309Nm at 3000 rpm. The rev limit in these early Evo
Lancers is set to 7500 rpm.
In 1994, Mitsubishi released the updated Evolution 2 Lancer. It
appears that the E2 engine is the same as the previous version except tuning
changes provide slightly more power – 191kW at 6000 rpm.
Also in 1994, the Japanese market received a slightly unusual
recreational AWD with a 4G63 Turbo engine – the RV-R. The RV-R engine is based
on the Lancer Evolution 1’s except it’s fitted with a smaller TD04HL
turbocharger. Output is 162 - 169kW at 6000 rpm and 278 - 289Nm at 2500 rpm
depending on transmission - an auto and 5-speed manual version are available.
In 1995 Mitsubishi released the Lancer Evo 3 which brought a
big aero kit and a 4G63 producing 199kW at 6250 rpm. The biggest difference over
the previous model is a larger turbo compressor and higher static compression
In 1996 Mitsubishi introduced the new-look Lancer Evolution 4
and a totally revised engine layout.
In previous models, the 4G63 had been designed with the cam
drive system on the right side of the engine bay and the flywheel on the
left (as viewed from the interior). But for the Evo 4 (and all subsequent models) the orientation was changed
– the cam drive is on the left side and the flywheel is on the right
The Evo 4’s camshafts are a ‘high-speed’ design, there are
lightweight pistons (providing a lower 8.8:1 static compression ratio), a
straight-runner intake manifold, metal head gasket and an improved exhaust
manifold. A twin scroll version of the TD05 turbocharger is also used to enhance
These substantial alterations improve power to the Japanese
regulation 206kW (at 6500 rpm) and torque swells to 353Nm at 3000 rpm.
Interestingly, a secondary air injection system (aka anti-lag system) was also
introduced. We believe that production versions of the Evo 4 have all the
necessary air injection hardware in place – but the electronic control system to
make it work was reserved for competition rally cars...
In 1998, Mitsubishi released the Lancer Evo 5. The E5 uses
essentially the same engine the previous model except the turbocharger
is slightly larger and boost pressure is bumped up. These subtle changes yield a
noticeable improvement – a claimed 206kW (but more realistically 230kW) along
with 373Nm of torque at 3000 rpm.
The Evolution 6 Lancer made an appearance in 1999 and, although
power and torque figures remain the same, overall engine reliability is
improved. Cooling channels are added to the pistons, the coolant passage layout
is revised (to prevent water pump cavitation), a larger oil cooler is added and
the sump incorporates altered baffles. The rev limit is also increased slightly
(from 7500 to 7600 rpm), an Inconnel turbine wheel is employed in the E6 GSR
while RS versions are available with a titanium-alloy turbine wheel.
The Evo 6 was later updated with the limited edition Tommi
Makinen (aka Evo 6.5). The Makinen’s engine is identical to the Evo 6 except the
RS version’s titanium-alloy turbine turbocharger is used with a less aggressive
compressor wheel. As a result, peak torque (373Nm) arrives at lower revs than
previously – 2750 rpm.
The Current Breed
The ‘grown up’ Lancer Evolution 7 appeared on the Japanese
market in 2001.
The E7-spec 4G63 employs hollow camshafts, a revised intake
manifold, bigger oil cooler, twin-scroll turbo (with an Inconnel turbine wheel
in GSR versions and a titanium-alloy wheel in the RS), triple water spray
nozzles for the intercooler and a low restriction exhaust. Peak power is, of
course, a politically correct 206kW and there’s up to 383Nm of torque (now at
3500 rpm). A 5-speed gearbox is standard.
Interestingly, Mitsubishi also introduced an
automatic version of the Evo 7 which uses a detuned engine. The auto trans E7 –
known as the GT-A – uses a smaller turbo than the manual version and there is no
secondary air injection hardware installed. The output of the Evo 7 GTA 4G63
Turbo is 200kW at 6500 rpm with 343Nm at a low 2750 rpm.
In late’02, the Evo 7 was replaced by the (you guessed it) Evo
8. The Evo 8 has a few mechanical changes aimed at improving overall strength
and efficiency. You’ll find an improved water pump and enlarged water passages
in the turbocharger, forged steel conrods and heavy-duty aluminium pistons.
Engine weight is also reduced using a new exhaust manifold, revised valvetrain
and new air conditioning brackets. The lightweight air conditioning brackets are
the easiest way to identify this engine over the E7 version. A 6-speed gearbox
is also found on certain models.
Evo 8s exported to North America are tuned for low emissions
and to cope with lower octane fuel - and, as a result, output is sacrificed. In
2004 versions, peak power is 202kW and torque maxes at 370Nm. The current 2005
model (including the lightweight MR version) has been upgraded to 206kW.
Interestingly, the Evo 8 sold in Australia has even less power and torque –
195kW and 355Nm.
The latest role for the 4G63 Turbo is in the snout of the newly
released Evo 9 Lancer.
For the E9, the faithful Mitsubishi in-line four has grown
MIVEC variable inlet cam timing, a revised turbocharger, extended reach spark
plugs, two-piece rings and some small efficiency improvements. The Japanese E9
GSR provides greater low-mid rpm torque (up to 400Nm at 3000 rpm) while RS and
GT versions use a magnesium-alloy compressor and generate a huge 407Nm at 3000
rpm. Power output is a quoted 206kW but it’s more likely in the mid 200s – the
Mitsubishi has also released the Evo 9 (in detuned form) to the
Australian and US markets. Both versions generate a genuine 206kW/355Nm – better
than previous export models but still a long way short of the Japanese-spec
Whatever the case, some aftermarket exhaust, air intake and ECU
tuning will have most late-model 4G63 Turbos producing similar grunt. All are
strong and there are plenty of aftermarket parts to suit – there’s nothing to
stop you pumping out 300 kilowatts with relatively few mods.
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