What is it?
The last of the current-shape Mitsubishi Evos, the IX, before the all-new Evo X arrives in early 2008.
It has to be the last one, because they can’t fit any more letters on the badge; this being the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR FQ-360, by HKS. For brevity’s sake, we’ll just call it the MR.
Extra kit on the MR over the FQ includes a titanium-finned turbocharger, carbonfibre front splitter, 11-spoke Speedline wheels and a 10mm front, 5mm rear, suspension drop.
What’s it like?
Oh-my-god quick. If you use all of the MR’s performance the rest of the world seems to be going backwards in a blur. A blur accompanied by manic whoshing, burbling, squeeling and whizzing. Not to mention cackling from the driver.
The suspension (with Eibach springs over the Bilstein dampers on the MR) is firm, but well judged. It copes admirably with most of what British B-roads can throw at it.
The steering is direct and feelsome, though there’s the classic Evo tendency to tram-line. The brakes are also reassuringly anchor-like.
What’s less reassuring is the grip from the Yokohama Advan tyres. They’re ‘cup’ tyres; essentially road-legal racing tyres, and need to be warm before they start gripping. They also don’t cope very well with standing water. In fact, they cope very badly with standing water.