Mitsubishi has revealed the Evo IX, although UK buyers will spot little difference from last year’s VIII MR special edition (right). The third and final version based on the current Lancer, the IX has a two-year lifespan before an all-new Evo X arrives in 2007 with the new Lancer range, built on a platform developed with DaimlerChrysler.

The only major difference is the introduction of variable valve timing to the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, while there are also tiny tweaks to the bumpers and front light cluster. Mitsubishi’s UK subsidiary will again offer upgrades to 320 and 340bhp from the standard 280, although there won’t be a IX version of 2004’s 400bhp special edition.

Pricing has yet to be finalised ahead of the June launch, but expect nothing more than a minimal rise due to the intense competition from both Subaru and ‘grey’ importers.