These are the first pictures of the car that is likely to have Tokyo motor showgoers flocking to the Mitsubishi stand next month: Tagged ‘Concept-X’, the muscular new four-door previews 2007’s Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, the latest addition to the triple diamond marque’s rally-bred road car dynasty.
Insiders confirm that the concept is ‘very close’ to the production car, which goes on sale soon after standard versions of the new Ford Focus rival Lancer mid-way through 2007. The styling follows that of the five-door Concept Sportback, unveiled at last month’s Frankfurt show, but designers have added a touch of extra aggression for the Evolution version with its extra Naca bonnet duct, deeper front spoiler, pronounced rear diffuser and high WRC-style rear wing.
Expect a big step forward in cabin quality over the current car’s plasticky affair, though Mitsubishi is at pains to stress that the Evo will not be moving up a class to take on the BMW M3 and Audi S4.
Power is likely to come from the familiar formula of a turbocharger mated to a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing at least 300bhp, now breathing through beefy twin tailpipes exiting either side of the diffuser in place of the current car’s single big-bore item. But for the Evo X that power will be provided by an all-new unit as the ageing 4G 63 block is finally retired, having provided motivation for quick Lancers since the Evo I of 1992.
The new engine’s punch will be fed to all four wheels, true to Evo tradition, using an updated version of Mitsubishi’s sophisticated four-wheel drive system, incorporating an active centre differential and active yaw control.