The track at Mitsubishi Motors’ Okazaki factory doesn’t have many bumps. It has everything else: jumps, compressions, hairpins, six-inch-high kerbs and some immaculate topiary. But not many bumps. So we can’t tell you how smoothly the i-MiEV Evo might ride on a chilly Tuesday evening commute. Trust us: considering the tortuous entry and exit routine alone, you’d only take it to the office once.
But it’d be a memorable journey. Assuming you had the commitment, you could pull a consistent 1.3g of lateral load on your favourite corner – pure grip of a magnitude that eludes 99.9 percent of road cars. A Ferrari 458, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 or a lightweight track special could equal it. They’d struggle to beat it.
You have to adjust to the super-sharp throttle response before you can get it to go really fast. Rushing on to the power on your way to the exit of a tight bend only invites understeer-related disaster; it’s that easy to ask the contact patches to do too much.
So you ease all that torque in gradually, as you straighten out the steering, and the i-MiEV Evolution comes to you. And then it comes under your spell by another degree, as your entry speeds creep up and the tyres warm, offering you unexpectedly tame adjustability of attitude as you lift off the throttle on your way towards an apex, as well as neutrality on the power on the way out.
Pitch and roll are breathtakingly well controlled, the body resolutely flat even when you can’t hold your head upright through a fast bend. And the steering wheel is light but so accurate, ready to communicate all the time. It’s an electric power steering set-up, there to mitigate bump steer and dial out torque steer as much as anything, and makes the car surprisingly manageable.