• i-MiEV Evolution is Mitsubishi's first factory entry into the Pikes Peak hill climb
  • Suspension is via double wishbones
  • No doors mean you have to get in feet first through the window
  • Front splitter helps the car to produce ground effect and a negative lift coefficient
  • This is the smaller of two spoilers designed for the car
  • The only thing behind the rear axle line is the diffuser
  • Headroom is unusually generous for a closed-cockpit race car, legroom, however, is severely limited
  • Instrument binnacle is lifted straight from the production i-MiEV
  • Power socket for the on-board lithium-ion batteries
  • Key and starter buttons sit next to switches for three cooling fans
  • Pads attached to the side of the cabin are handy for resting your knee on during cornering
  • The i-MiEV is supercar quick to 60mph
  • Acceleration above 60mph is blunted by the car's single gear ratio
  • Electric motor's power delivery made the i-MiEV's handling characteristics difficult to predict
  • Grip limits are high and the i-MiEV responds keenly when pushed hard
  • Wieldy and responsive, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV Evolution is the best hillclimb car in the world, probably

Autocar’s timing gear pretty well doubled the complexity of the i-MiEV Evolution’s functional cockpit. There’s a racing bucket seat, a fire extinguisher, two pedals, a handbrake and a steering wheel. And besides an instrument binnacle from a production i-MiEV, there’s little else.

Getting in is one of those processes that spry Japanese men make look deceptively easy, like eating a whole steak and rice pudding with chopsticks. For the heroically proportioned, it’s tricky. A step helps. As does a five-man support crew.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The cabin’s a strangely relaxing place, once you’re over the trauma of getting in

There is no door, but you can pick either side to start from, before lowering a leg on to the seat, bracing yourself against the spaceframe, hitching the other leg over and then threading your torso sideways and down.

The detachable steering wheel makes this a little easier, but only in as much as The Times crossword is made easier by possession of a pen. Once in, you realise how low the solitary seat is, and how high the scuttle (which doubles as a spoiler to compensate for the lack of windscreen). Barring the highest extremities of the front wheel arches, you can’t see any point of the front of the car.

Legroom is modest – particularly for a 6ft 4in tester. Padded knee rests are provided to keep you comfy when pulling high lateral forces through corners. 

Want a boot? Of course you don’t. You’ll be more grateful for MMC’s traditional hand-painted Japanese luck charm dangling behind the driver’s seat.

The ignition is engaged via an old-fashioned key and starter button, the Mitsubishi's transmission via a rotary knob.

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