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Mitsubishi Evo Lancer VII



THE Mistubishi Lancer Evo VII is a Gran Turismo video game in the real world.

From the rally car fizz-whoosh of the turbo as you accelerate and bang through the gears, to the spooky, world-beating levels of grip, the savagely fast Evo VII is a lesson in just how far technology has come - how to make life hyper real.

I doubt there are more than half a dozen road cars in the world with as much grip as the Evo. Even on muddy, mulchy roads in winter the wheels did not scrabble for traction once as the electronics constantly won the battle over nature and physics to force 276bhp through the tyres. But beyond this almost unreal composure is where the video game ends and real life starts.

The Evo VII is scarily quick and each gearful of fizzing and whooshing vigorously pins the driver against the seat. It will do 0-62mph time 4.3 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155mph. Blimey!

The Brembo ventilated discs do a great job of stopping the car, but they need a good old-fashioned stamp to get them working at full potential.

The steering whips the nose instantly in the required direction but a consequence is the car handles bumps with the pliancy of an ironing board and while the Recaro bucket seats hug, the steering wheel could be more adjustable to find an ideal driving position.

The Evo is not very comfortable, but then it's a welding torch away from being a full-blown rally car.

The inside of the Lancer is more mature than previous plasticky incarnations, but still no masterpiece. It has some silvery knobs and dials like a hi-fi and a differential readout that said 'Tarmac, Gravel, Snow'. I didn't really look at them too much: it seemed sensible to concentrate on the road and assorted hard, stationary roadside objects flashing by.

An Evo VII is many user-chooser's dream, and many will be bought with company money. The combination of the 2.0-litre intercooled turbocharged engine, four wheel drive, Active Centre Differential, Active Yaw Control and the TV images of some madmen flinging them through Scandinavian forests will prove too much of a draw for many drivers.

There is not a CO2 figure available as yet, but then what is the point? This is fantasy fleet. There is no doubt it will be taxed at 35% of P11D, as will the Subaru Impreza WRX, or BMW M5.

At £29,995, the Evo is not cheap, and certainly running costs will be fairly astronomical. The old Evo VI did 19mpg, and this model should be no better. The Evo VII is neither the most logical nor financially viable fleet car, but sometimes rationale be damned - life is too short.

The choice is rather like an 'It girl' thinking of giving up her champagne: she might be better off without it, but will life ever be as much fun again?

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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