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Tuning in to raw power

autos Updated: Jul 21, 2010 18:45 IST
Shapur Kotwal

A big NACA duct for a nostril, maw hung low and turbo whistling softly, the Evo X drips menace. No Attention Assist needed here — this car is an eyeball magnet.

This is India’s first imported Evo, the Evo X, but is it as fun as the ones that came before it?

Interiors
The Evo X has impressive Recaro seats with carbon-fibre trimmings and massively supportive sides. The driving position is fantastic, but the seat doesn’t adjust for height or reach.

This version comes with a six-speed, DSG-type, double-clutch gearbox and magnesium paddles attached to the steering column. The 2.0-litre motor fires with a soft blast from the twin rear exhausts, the dual silencers probably the only cosmetic bit on the car.

The aluminium motor under the aluminium hood is all-new and not an evolution of the famous 4G63 motor. The initial take-off is not very strong, and this is understandable as Mitsubishi is wringing 291 bhp out from a 1.9-litre motor with a turbo.

Performance
Nevertheless, the auto gearbox takes care of the lag and downshifts when you put your foot down, the Evo exploding forward after only a bit of a wait. But this car isn’t about low-end pulling power; it’s all about the performance delivered with the turbo on song, shovelling masses of boosted air into the engine.

Drive it hard, in the part of the powerband, and the Evo lives up to the hype. Above 3000 rpm the lag evaporates, and power delivery is linear and strong. The tug from the four-wheel-drive system pins you to your seat, and the motor loves to spin.

There’s no let-up in power as the twin-clutch gearbox has already pre-selected the next gear, the tachometer flicking back momentarily before you’re slammed in the thick of it again.

The best part of the powerband is 4000 to 6500 rpm, where the Evo feels fast enough to hang onto the tail of a supercar. Sixty to 120 kph takes 5.4 seconds and the X accelerates just as hard up to 180 kph and beyond.

But the new motor lacks the spike in turbo boost present on the earlier car, and also some of the earlier Evo’s tuned feel. This car also doesn’t like doing standing starts. The SST gearbox seems reluctant to allow the motor to spin hard before you dump the clutch and that means you don’t take off swiftly.

Even with all systems switched off, we couldn’t better a zero to 100 kph time of 6.6 seconds. Part of the problem is that we couldn’t test the car on 97 octane and were forced to run on regular 91 octane.

Drive
First impressions are of effortless pace and grip. There is little body roll and the X feels composed despite the cornering speeds and howl from the tyres. It’s very enjoyable, and has an accurate, weighted steering.

Push harder, brake later, carry more speed into corners and get on the gas earlier, and that’s when the Evo shines. And it’s only then that the strong brakes, fantastic turn-in, incredible poise and great feedback make going a real treat.

The Evo feels more capable on everyday streets. Performance is devastating even at 80 per cent, the chassis is confidence-inspiring and you seem to want to extract more performance.

With a bit of care, you can take it over bad roads, the 140 mm of clearance and stiff springs of great help. There’s good rear seat space and even some amount of boot space.