Driven - Mitsubishi Evo X

After the successes that the Evo series have given Mitsubishi in recent times, their teams of engineers and designers faced a challenge in developing a performance car based on the new, larger Lancer.

They’ve succeeded in not only increasing the performance levels, but making a car far more easy to live with. Larger and heavier than before, the engineers had their challenges, but the attention to detail in the new car is very evident. There’s plenty of lightweighting but it doesn’t feel cheap or nasty. There are details galore showing how far they've gone to make this car right for club-level motor sport and beyond - for example the battery and windscreen washer bottle are moved to behind the rear seat.

The MR version, with its impressive dual-clutch setup – drives remarkably comfortably as an automatic around town, but becomes the very devil on the circuit. There are several settings available, and using the flipper gearshift, with traction control off, and in the 'circuit' setting, the car is a ball-tearer. Perfect for weekend motor sport.

The MR benefits also from Bilstein front and rear shock absorbers, Eibach front and rear springs, exceptionally effective Brembo brakes, BBS 18-inch forged alloy wheels (standard Evos have ENKEI 18-inch wheels), HID headlamps, special scuff plates and leather upholstered, heated front Recaro seats, all in the $7000 or so additional cost.

Acceleration is brilliant, grip and poise exceptional. And the car's a lot more civilised than the harsh Evo9 was. Does that mean it's a flabbier car? No. Starting at $59,490 the Evo X will undoubtedly become the car to beat. But that will take some doing…

Engine type: 2-litre 4-cylinder, turbocharged
Torque: 366Nm
Transmission: 5-speed or 6-speed dual-clutch SST
Performance: 0-100km/h 5.0 seconds
Price: From $59,490 to $71,690 at time of review
Main photo & text - Paul Blank (copyright)