I stole Autocar’s current Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X last night, keen to see how a performance icon has managed the transfer to a completely new model after, well, increasingly frayed incarnations from VII to IX.
Did I enjoy it? Yes and no. Many of the traditional Evo strengths are still present: incredible turn-in, great balance and traction, the constant belief that the transmission is one step (slip?) ahead of you. Oh yes, and the fact that there’s no torque whatsoever beneath 2000rpm (well, I still find it charming, anyway). And it’s quick, of course; once the whoosh sets in you get a terrific prod in your kidneys.
But (didn’t you know there was a ‘but’ coming?) at the heart of the latest Evo is the Twin Clutch SST gearbox, yet another take on the ‘semi-auto’ theme with steering wheel-mounted paddles and a press release boasting of previously unimaginable shift times. The irony of this is not lost on me, because a few years ago, Mitsubishi released an automatic version of the Evo VII. And we laughed.