The Evo has nine lives, as these pictures taken in Germany prove. Described by insiders as a ‘half-step’ from the current Evo VIII MR, the Evo IX is due to arrive in the UK around April or May next year, and the few cosmetic changes are obvious in these pictures. A tiny front bumper restyle, new ‘shark-fin’ treatment at the back of the roof, a new rear diffuser and restyled rear bumper are all that will distinguish the IX from the VIII. Unlike the transition from VII to VIII – where the mechanical changes included the addition of a six-speed gearbox, revised active yaw control and centre diff and a revamped interior, this time the oily bits remain unfettled. According to company insiders, the changes made when the Evo VIII MR was introduced earlier this year, bringing a weight reduction and better ride and comfort courtesy of suspension tweaks are deemed inadequate. The new version is said to be little more than a 2005 model-year update, rather than a wholesale change. The IX is the last Evo to be built on the current platform. The Evo X is due early in 2007, based on the next-generation Mitsubishi Lancer platform that will also underpin a Ford Mondeo rival from Dodge. Mitsubishi is continuing to work with DaimlerChrysler on established projects, despite the recent dispute that led the two to end their alliance.
Mitsubishi UK has also moved to increase appeal for the entry-level VIII 260, cutting the price by £1000 to £22,999 and offering free servicing for the first year. The company was also ticked off last week over an advert for the Evo that was judged to flout the Advertising Standards Authority’s code by encouraging dangerous driving. The ASA decided that phrases such as ‘speed, poise and awesome ground-covering ability’ and ‘0-60 in just 4.4 seconds to set the pulse racing’ made speed the predominant message and were ‘irresponsible.’