Mitsubishi Evo X: haven't we seen this before?
After years of concept cars and teasers, Mitsubishi today finally showed the production version of the new Evo X. This is a company that just loves to drip-feed information - and even this car is called an 'exterior design study'. But company officials make no bones about it: this is the finished car that goes on sale next year.
Whet my appetite - how powerful is the new Evo?
There is still no full mechanical spec on the car since we last saw the Prototype X concept at Geneva, itself one of a string of Evo concepts. But the production car is known to feature the latest four-wheel drive system (dubbed S-AWC2) and a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine developing around 290bhp. The UK market is preparing to offer tuned versions, as with today's Evo IX. The Evo's turbocharged engine is easily tuned and the barmiest official iterations have topped 400bhp; unofficial tuners have doubtless tweaked the boost even higher.
Right, so they've issued some teaser photos and no new information?
Essentially, yes. The only nugget of information we've picked up is that the UK has changed its mind on the transmissions; instead of taking only the new six-speed automated, DSG-style manual transmission, it will now offer a proper manual option, too. Around a fifth of buyers are expected to take the stick-shift. Mitsubishi has dragged the Evo's launch out, probably since it's the brand's only model to make big headlines. The company is slowly turning around its business after the disastrous split with DaimlerChrysler a few years back, and new products like this slicker, more grown-up Evo, the radical i city car, and new commercial deals with PSA to co-build off-roaders suggest the company is well on the road to recovery. The company today announced its annual results and it's in the black for the first time since 2002. However, global sales fell in 2006 by 8 percent - despite a 6 percent increase in Europe.
The new Evo looks a lot slicker
It certainly does. The X is more grown-up and Mitsubishi acknowledges the time has come to move the Evo away from its baseball-hat and in-yer-face roots. So this time, it is edging upmarket - officials even whisper about rivalling German premium brands. That's some boast, and in all likelihood a pipe dream. But the Evo is certainly growing up and that can only broaden its appeal.
So when can I buy the Evo?
When will we finally get the full lowdown on the Evo X? Not until August, when we finally get to drive the car, ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. British buyers won't be able to buy one until next March, nearly a year away. The wait continues...