2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: 4B11 Tuning
December 23, 2010
If you're a Mitsubishi guy, you might have a T-shirt that says, "4B11." This is of course the name of the stout four-cylinder engine that in turbocharged form makes the Lancer Evolution X go. It's kind of famous.
So if you thinking there's some kind of antiquated, second-rate four-cylinder engine under the hood of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, maybe you should think again. You'll find instead a 4B11, which is no bad thing.
This is the engine that Mitsubishi introduced for the new-generation 2008 Lancer. Hyundai actually engineered the fundamental building blocks, which are shared between Chrysler, Hyundai and Mitsubishi. The tuning is down to each company, of course. For the Outlander Sport, this normally aspirated 1,997cc inline-4 puts out 148 hp at 6,000 rpm and 145 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm.
Mitsubishi has put in a lot of the good stuff into this engine. It has electronically controlled, continuously variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams, which helps produce at least 120 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 rpm to 6,500 rpm. Resin-coated pistons reduce internal friction, as does the micro-polished surface of the camshaft lobes. The smart-style alternator also reduces frictional losses, and the electric-assist power steering is really important in this respect as well.
Some effort has also been made to make this engine smooth and quiet. The use of hydraulic engine mounts plus a squeeze-cast aluminum bracket on one side and a steel one on the other (the steel reduces gear noise better than aluminum) do their job, and then there's acoustic insulation on the underside of the hood.
If you're trying to motivate 3,371 pounds with all-wheel drive and a CVT to the tune of 24 mpg EPA City/29 mpg Highway and 26 mpg Combined, this is what you're going to get. Frankly, this is very much the kind of power-to-weight ratio we're going to see in the future in sedans, not just entry-level SUVS. So a 10.0-second run to 60 mph and a quarter-mile in 17.5 seconds at 80.1 mph is pretty much what you're going to get. If you want to go faster, you'll be making friends with the gas pump.
For me, it's not the speed that really matters here; instead it's the sound. If the engine sounds willing, then the time passes happily. Unfortunately this engine does not sound happy. It is quiet when it's idling and fairly composed when it's working hard, but everything in between is far from musical. This is what happens when you have a wide range of lightweight materials all vibrating at different frequencies.
Like so many small-displacement engines, this one needs tuning. But it's tuning for noise, vibration and harshness, not power.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 1,952 miles