Original Article - Auto Express UK: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/58...lasts_off.html
Could this be the ultimate in practicality and performance? Spotted on test in Japan, it's Mitsubishi's soon-to-be-launched Evolution IX Estate - and Auto Express's spy photographers got the first-ever pictures.
Making a surprise debut on a wet Tsukuba race track near Tokyo, ahead of its unveiling next month, the newcomer completed three fast laps before disappearing from view. Sources said the car was undergoing its final phases of testing and running back-to-back with the saloon to establish a series of quick lap times for comparison.
At the end of the day, Mitsubishi's research and development test team declared the results were far closer than expected. Originally, they'd anticipated the estate's extra 100kg bulk would add at least two seconds' time difference around the two-kilometre track.
But the gap was less than one second. According to a spokesman, the carrier's rear end actually improved its weight distribution, which gave better traction than the saloon.
Just 2,500 Evo IX Estates are to be made, and the car will only be available here as a grey import priced from around £20,000. It shares the same chassis, six-speed manual gearbox and 2.0-litre turbocharged engine as the saloon. Expect a 0-60mph sprint time of around five-and-a-half seconds.