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A blog about the cars I drive

I say goodbye today to an old favorite

Driving the Mitsubishi Eve on the on the racetrack.

My one and only hero shot — on a track at 2008 launch of the 10th-generation Mitsubishi Evo.

With all this talk about the Ford F-150, I’ve been neglecting one of my favorites. Until this morning, there’s been a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in the driveway. The Evo — short for Evolution — is a compact, all-wheel-drive sport sedan that’s faster than snot on ice and has slot-car handling. It goes where you point it, without hesitation, and when you need power, it’s always there. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four makes 291 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque.

Clearly, someone scored some track time in the Evo tester before it got to me.

Clearly, someone scored some track time in this Evo,  before it got to me.

In the $35,000 GSR trim, the lethal little engine is paired with a five-speed manual. The $39,000 MR gets Mitsu’s excellent double-clutch automated manual.

This is one of the rare cases where the stick is quicker than the DSG. In a straight line, at any rate. A good driver can coax a 4.4-second 0-60 run from the GSR; the MR runs it in 5 seconds flat.

It’s also a beast on the track. Big fat 40-series 18-inch performance tires weigh in with tons of grip and the steering is not just lightening-quick, but also accurate and communicative. It’s been a long time since I drove a car that responded with the hair-trigger reactions of the Evo.

In fact, my one and only automotive hero shot (above) was shot at the 2008 launch of the 10th-generation Evo. What the photo doesn’t show you is that soon after this, I lost my nerve during a left-to-right transition and lifted my throttle foot. After executing a lovely 180, I got the black flag, removing me from the track.

Luckily, the guy running the session only wanted to check the tires before sending me back out.

Speaking of tires, these guys have been through the mill. Obviously, somebody spent some time at the track in my tester before it got to me.

Regrettably, Mitsubishi is pulling the plug on the Evo. This is its final year of production and that’s a sad thing.

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