In defense of the 4B11T

Following one of the most popular tuner engines of all time is hard. What came after the RB26? The Barra? The SR20? Exactly. So following the 4G63 was a tough job.

But here’s the thing about the 4B11T - it’s always been in the wrong car. If it had been born into the Evo 9, it would have been a legend. But instead, it ended up in the Evo X. If you put it in the 3,285 lb Evo 9, it would be a monster. In the 3,527 lb Evo X, no one gives it credit for how special it is. It addresses several shortcomings of the 4G63, makes more power, and does it less weight and more reliability.

Despite being based on the Mitsubishi version of the World Engine (a loose Mitsubishi-Chrysler-Hyundai engine sharing partnership), the 4B11T only made it into two vehicles:

2007-2016 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

2008-2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

And that’s a shame. It has an aluminum block, semi-closed deck, continuous variable valve timing on BOTH intake and exhaust cams, a faster spooling turbo, and a timing chain - all for 23lbs LESS than the 4G63. It also has fully floating pistons and a direct-acting valvetrain, which means it could meet NVH without the need of a heavy and power-sucking balance shaft.


All that leads up to a significant advantage in area under the power curve.

Illustration: Road Race Engineering

The entire article from Road Race Engineering (circa 2010) is great. I highly recommend it if you want a deeper technical dive.


Is this the ultimate version of the World Engine?

Now this is an interesting question. The “World Engine” is actually still around. So the 4B11T’s cousins can be found in the Kia Stinger and i30n/Veloster N. In those applications, it makes 247-271HP and have had a series of serious issues. In the EvoX, it made 290HP in stock form and could handle considerably more without imploding/exploding thanks to a really bang-up job by Mitsubishi to sure up most potential failure points. I would say that to date, it’s arguably the ultimate version of the World Engine and while it was too late to win 90s/00's rally championships, it’s a really stout engine that deserves more praise than it gets.


My #1 Gripe


That plastic engine cover. C’mon...

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