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Mitsubishi Evo IX

Broadcast date : 30th April 2006

Evo. For over a decade now that simple name has been striking fear into the hearts of hardened street racers. Mitsubishi Evo. Remember it.

This is the ninth generation Evo, the latest generation of Mitsubishiís rally-bred road-weapon. And yes, itís even better than the Evo VIII.

Quite logically the Evo IX has new-look alloy wheels. But the quickest way to identify the Evo IX is by the gaping front intake for the radiator and new larger turbo intercooler.

There are also ducts to cool the brakes, and the mesh used on the upper radiator intake is wider, giving the Mitsubishi badge a "floating" effect.

The boot-mounted rear wing is now hollow to reduce weight, and a diffuser is fitted beneath the bumper to increase air speed exiting the underbody.

The new front-end increases the low pressure area beneath the car for greater ground-effect turn-in, and the diffuser at the rear aids high-speed stability.

And yes, the motor has received a mega power boost.

The new Evo IX engine delivers 206 kiloWatts, which makes it the most powerful production two-litre engine on the planet. The turbocharger is now made of magnesium and the intake ducting has been lengthened to improve low-to-mid-range torque.

The M.I.V.E.C. valve-timing system has also been tweaked to improve power from idle to red-line.

The four-wheel-drive system features an active center differential to vary torque transfer, and the Evo IXís handling is even crisper than before.

The handling is unlike any other all-wheel-drive car with virtually no understeer.

Itís attention to detail, like the lightening of those Enkei wheels, that endears the car to petrol heads.

The electronic interface for the center differential has been comprehensively re-profiled for the Evo IX. Gugu raved about the Evoís sharp turn-in on the eighth generation car and was astounded to realize that itís now even better.

In addition the car has active yaw control to correct cornering attitude and also aids traction by transferring power to where there is most grip.

Under heavy braking, the advanced Brembo all-wheel-disc system employs an electronic control unit that detects steering inputs as well as lateral G-forces on the car.

The result is superb stability under braking.

The problem that the Mitsubishi faces here is one of recognition. It still has something of a boy-racer-with-wings image, and itís not easily recognizable as an icon in South Africa.

This despite sub-six-second 0-100 times, and a 250 km/h top speed.

Not helping the Evoís cause is its rather retro interior. It has new Recaro seats and lots of metal add-ons, but the overall effect is still something of a mish-mash.

The exterior too is getting dated, although the next generation Evo will feature a complete re-design with super-sporty sheet metal to complement the carís mechanical sophistication.

Mitsubishi Evo IX
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, 1 997 cc
  • Power: 206 kW @ 6 500 rpm
  • Torque: 400 Nm @ 3 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, all-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 5,7 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 250 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 13,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R399 900
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