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

Chief tester
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.

Top 5 Track cars

  • Elemental RP1
    Elemental RP1 costs from £75,750

    Elemental RP1

    1
  • BAC Mono
    The driving experience offered by the BAC Mono has an impossibly strong whiff of F1 about it

    BAC Mono

    2
  • Radical RXC500
    Radical’s update of its road car delivers the power previously missing. A Nurburgring record-holder in waiting

    Radical RXC500

    3
  • KTM X-Bow
    The KTM X-Bow has a carbonfibre tub that's mostly exposed and is in many ways it's similar to the skeletal Ariel Atom

    KTM X-Bow

    4
  • Vuhl 05
    Vuhl 05 has a price tag of £59,995

    Vuhl 05

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Mitsubishi range

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?