Rally bully is back: Evo X reaches SA
It's been a long time coming, but the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X has finally been unleashed on South African roads.
Yet if you want your example of the tenth generation of this world-rally-bred legend, you're going to have to find R699 900 - which is almost double what its predecessor, the R399 900 Evo IX, cost when it arrived here six years ago.
Like all of its ancestors, the Evo X was moulded around WRC regulations, which means a turbocharged 2-litre engine and permanent all-wheel drive.
In this latest guise the engine has dual variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger, allowing it to push 217kW at 6500rpm and 366Nm at 3500rpm.
Power is channelled to all four wheels via a twin-clutch six-speed automated manual gearbox and an active central differential. This TC-SST gearbox allows the driver to choose between 'normal', 'sport' and 'super-sport' modes. In the latter mode, cogs are swopped at 6500rpm, throttle response is more aggressive and the gearbox downshifts automatically on braking for a bend but holds the gear around the corner.
the Evo X boasts fully independent rear suspension, Eibach coil springs at all corners and Bilstein shocks - inverted at the front. The car sits on 245/40R18 low-profile tyres with an asymmetrical tread.
The Super All Wheel Control system (incorporating active stability control, active centre diff, active yaw control and sports ABS) can be set up for numerous driving conditions, from normal tarmac right through to gravel and snow.
For the stopping game, the Evo X has generously sized Brembo brakes with ventilated discs - 350mm at the front and 330mm at the back.
Although the Evo series has always been more about performance than luxury, the X is rather well equipped, standard fare including a 650W Rockford Fosgate premium sound system, climate control, body-hugging Recaro seats, multi-information display and adaptive front lighting.
Complete with a styling package that shouts rice racer, the Evo X is available in four exterior colours - Lightning Blue metallic, Orient Red metallic, Frost White and Phantom black.
Its price of R699 990 includes a three-year service plan, but it could get costly after that with service intervals pegged at 7500km.
As delectable as this rally car for the road really is, though, that price could be a sticky point for many potential buyers. There is lots of exciting machinery to be had for less than this - an Audi RS 3 for R525 000, Chrysler 300C SRT8 for R629 990, Nissan 370Z for R538 525 or a Subaru STI for R589 000 to name just four.
Look out for our driving impressions of the Evo X this Thursday.