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Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition announces the end of an era

Late last year, Mitsubishi announced plans to send off the Lancer Evolution with a limited-edition model called Final Edition. Although the U.S.-spec version of the sports sedan hasn’t been unveiled yet, the Japanese-spec model went on sale a couple of days ago.

When viewed from the outside, the Final Edition stands out from a stock Lancer Evolution thanks to a black chrome radiator grille, gloss black trim on the lower front bumper and the air vent bezels as well as a model-specific emblem on the trunk lid. The sedan rides on black BBS wheels wrapped by high-performance tires.

Inside, a commemorative metal plaque engraved with the car’s serial number reminds the passengers that they’re not riding in a run-of-the-mill Evo.

Related: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander unveiled in the Big Apple

The widespread rumors that indicated the Final Edition would pack over 400 horsepower were seemingly unfounded. Mitsubishi has not made any major mechanical modifications, meaning the Final Edition carries on with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 291 horsepower and 300 foot-pounds of torque. The only noteworthy upgrade is the addition of sodium-filled exhaust valves.

The turbo four sends power to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission and a highly sophisticated all-wheel drive system called Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) in Mitsubishi-speak. The sedan reaches 60 mph from a stop in less than five seconds.

Just 1,000 examples of the Final Edition will be available in Japan, and Mitsubishi expects that they will all be spoken for in a matter of hours. The similarly-exclusive U.S.-spec Final Edition will be detailed next summer.

What’s next?
Sadly, Mitsubishi will not introduce a direct successor to the Lancer Evolution. The company has all but confirmed that its next Evolution-badged model will be a high-performance off-roader, a move that reflects its shift towards a SUV-centric lineup. Speaking with Motor Trend late last year, Don Swearingen, the vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, explained that the Evo’s time “has come and gone.”