• 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

The tradition for  Autocar road tests like this to end with a five-star verdict. This one doesn’t – because there is still room for ‘evolution’ in this i-MiEV.

It didn’t win the event it was designed for. But next year, with a more practised driver and a few mechanical updates, it could. We’d love to see it happen and are withholding the last half star as a motivator.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
A proper zero-emissions rocketship, and father of the next Lancer Evo. Mind-bending

Even if it does become a winner, though, the i-MiEV’s real legacy could be bigger still. The official line is that this car is an accelerated testbed for the components you’ll find in the current i-MiEV and in Mitsubishi’s new breed of plug-in hybrids.

What MMC is not saying is that the next Lancer Evo is highly likely to be a plug-in hybrid and equally likely to benefit directly from work done on the i-MiEV Evolution.

This isn’t just a race car, then; it’s cause for hope that Mitsubishi’s rally-bred performance saloon icon can have a sustainable – and seriously fast and exciting – future.

So there you have it, Evo fans: be careful what you eat for breakfast.

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