The Evolution was originally intended only for Japanese markets but demand on the 'grey import' market led the Evolution series to be offered through RalliArt dealer networks in the United Kingdom and in various European markets from around 1998. Mitsubishi decided to export the eighth generation Evolution to the United States in 2003 after witnessing the success Subaru had in that market with their Impreza WRX, a direct competitor in other global regions.
Japanese-spec cars were limited by a gentleman's agreement to advertise no more than 276 hp (205 kW), a self imposed limit, 280hp (210kW) by the state, a mark already reached by Evolution IV. Therefore, each subsequent version has unofficially evolved above the advertised power figures, with the Japanese-spec Evolution IX reaching a real power output of around 321PS (317hp/236kW).
Various versions available in other markets, particularly the UK, have official power outputs up to 405 bhp (302 kW). Even standard components are considered 'tuned' compared to other vehicles. For instance, the flywheel on normal cars weigh about 12-15 kilograms (26-33 pounds), but Evolution flywheels weigh a mere 6 kilograms (13 pounds) for very quick engine response.