For some performance car fans, the letters E, V and O mean more than GTI ever will. Mitsubishi's Lancer has recruited a dedicated following over its 13-year lifetime, and the firm has just launched the ninth version. We took to the wheel of one of the first UK models to see what is changed.
As with many of its predecessors, the Evo IX is more extreme in Britain than anywhere else. Mitsubishi's UK importer offers the standard entry-level 305bhp variant badged FQ-300, but then adds its own modifications to produce the 326bhp FQ-320 and the range-topping 345bhp FQ-340.
All models are powered by the same engine, which made its debut an incredible 18 years ago. The unit benefits from Mitsubishi's MIVEC variable valve timing technology to produce a wider spread of torque, a higher power output and better fuel consumption.
The firm claims a 0-62mph time of 4.5 seconds and a 157mph top speed for our FQ-320 test car, and we do not doubt either figure. The previous Evo VIII offered breathtaking pace, but the IX improves power delivery with enhanced throttle response over a wider rev range. To go with the added pace, the suspension has also been revised. The result is a set-up which flatters the Mitsubishi's hi-tech electronics, giving the Evo even sharper turn-in, while the four-wheel-drive system feeds the optimum amount of torque for maximum cornering speed, providing superb handling and grip.
The Lancer's styling has remained largely unchanged, with revised light clusters and new bumpers giving a more aggressive edge. Another plus point to the improved performance and looks is that prices will remain the same. Evo fans will be on cloud IX...