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Mitsubishi Evo 9 2005 Review

You won't need to be a hero to have fun safely in this potent four-door sedan.

Various sections of the demanding track had been turned into chicanes with witches hats that played to the strengths of the Evo– unbeliev- able get up and go, eye popping brakes and almost peerless drive out of corners.

This is the latest incarnation of a world championship winning rally car and it's better than ever. Almost forgot, the price has come down nearly $8000 on the earlier Evo 8.

Cleverly priced at $56,789, Evo 9 represents the pinnacle of Mitsubishi's road going automotive aspirations – the show piece, the hero car in Mitsu's range.

But you won't need to be a hero to have fun safely in this potent four-door sedan, it makes mug drivers look good and has high levels of primary and secondary safety.

Big changes this time around include the adoption of variable valve timing on the inlet side for more power and better response. A clever hydraulic system advances or retards the inlet camshaft to optimize output at any given engine speed.

There's also a six speed manual transmission replacing the previous five speeder and weight is down by about 60kg thanks to the wider use of aluminium for the roof, door intrusion beams, bonnet and front guards. The roof is fixed using similar techniques to an aircraft fuselage with rivets and crimping to deliver a stronger roof, kilograms lighter.

The 2.0-litre, turbo, four cylinder engine is now good for 206kW/355Nm most of which is accessible across a wide spread of engine speeds to about 7500rpm.

It's been revised for improved reliability and passes Euro 4 emissions regulations.

Handling and stability is enhanced through the use of an active yaw control system that monitors and changes various functions of the vehicle to maintain stability. It's controlled by one computer.

The differentials also contribute to Evo 9's prodigious grip and drive.

Braking and suspension is carried over from the previous model but the front struts are upside down units to reduce unsprung weight.

Minor external and internal changes make the Evo 9 better looking and more functional. Climate control air, cruise control and an excellent audio system are now included in the package. The previously tacky looking interior is spruced up through the use of carbon fibre and titanium look fascia. Sports seats have large side bolsters and are a blend of suede and leather. The wheel, gear knob and hand brake all leather-clad.

An excellent new anti theft feature is Diamond Trac based on GPS satellite position monitoring and remote control of the vehicle if needed. If someone steals the Evo9, it can be disabled remotely and the owner knows its precise location. The Evo 9 also features Datadot protection.

Plenty of dress-up and performance accessories are available to customise the Evo9 including a sports pack with BBS wheels and Bilstein dampers.

Mitsubishi says the Evo 9 will sprint from 0-100kmh in 5.7 seconds but it feels quicker than that. Well have to test that one on home turf.

It is a beautifully balanced car to drive and is extremely difficult to get out of shape.

The full time all wheel drive is electronically controlled and the 17in tyres offer plenty of traction.

A dash operated three mode centre diff optimizes the drive system for tarmac, gravel or snow driving conditions.

Evo 9's direct competitor is Subaru WRX STi which is a little more unruly and is dogged by turbo lag in the lower revs. The Evo suffers no such problems. It is highly specified rocketship that will satisfy the most discerning driving enthusiast and will be freely available through Ralliart Mitsubishi dealers.

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