Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Mitsubishi has always used turbocharged 2.0-litre engines in its Evo models and the X is no exception. It’s available in three outputs – 300bhp, 330bhp and 360bhp and as you’d expect performance is blistering in each. Even the entry-level FQ-300 accelerates from 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds. This model is also the only one available with the SST (or Sport Shift Transmission) automatic gearbox which uses two clutches for super-fast changes.

Opting for the SST keeps the 0-62mph the same but while it’s very smooth it doesn’t really suit the Evo X’s character. Even in the sportiest of the gearbox’s three settings (which is intended for the racetrack only) the changes aren’t very snappy and although acceleration is effortless, it’s not punchy or involving. Despite this the automatic is still expected to be chosen by more than half of buyers.

The other choice is a conventional five-speed manual which also features in the FQ-330 and FQ-360. With respective 0-62mph times of 4.4 and 4.1 seconds the more powerful models can rival most supercars and they are as rapid and exhilarating to drive as the figures suggest. Both come with a five-speed transmission but the lack of a sixth speed is noticeable on the motorway and the engine is noisy when cruising.

In May 2009 the FQ-330 SST version was introduced which has the same 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds as the manual car. Top of the range is the rocket-like FQ-400 which, as the name suggests, boasts 400bhp. It was launched in June 2009 and covers the 0-62mph benchmark in a thunderous 3.8 seconds, while there’s immense pulling power in any gear at almost any revs.

As you’d expect this is the Evo X’s forte. Pitch it into a bend and the amount of grip is staggering – the steering is pin sharp with great feedback and there’s minimal body roll through corners thanks to the stiff body shell. Traction is excellent and even in the wet it is superbly surefooted and equally agile making it great fun to drive. The strong and responsive brakes further inspire confidence while a sophisticated stability control system (called S-AWC) keeps things in check.

The four-wheel drive Evo X is also happy pottering around town with light steering at lower speeds – although the huge turning circle makes tight manoeuvres tricky. The FQ-400 is more extreme and has a wider track and lowered suspension, giving it even better cornering prowess, if that were possible. It’s also fitted with upgraded brakes to deal with the extra power.