The Mitsubishi Evo X was the last of a breed in more ways than one. These days, the upper end of the hot hatch market has muscled in on the Evo’s everyday-supercar-beater territory and it, along with that other icon of rally-derived performance motoring the Subaru Impreza, has lost its unique status.
Perhaps Mitusbishi knew the writing was on the wall when it developed the Evo X. This had an all-new engine with an aluminium block (and, usefully, a timing chain rather than a belt) a more grown-up design and a brief to deliver a more sophisticated, more rounded driving experience. Heck, it even had a dual-clutch gearbox.
And yet, the old magic was still there, especially if you went for one of the spiced-up and supremely fast FQ 360 or FQ 400 models, combined with the meaty five-speed manual.
Then there’s the chassis. Mitsubishi calls its four-wheel-drive system S-AWC (Super All-Wheel Control) and it includes Active Yaw Control and an active centre differential among other clever goodies. The result is astonishing grip, traction and handling agility. And a very big smile on the driver’s face.