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Holy Moly, nothing sacred left. I like it.

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For years, its deadliest rival has taken the glory for performance load-lugging, but Mitsubishi is about to hit back.

Exclusive images in the current issue of Auto Express magazine reveal an estate version of the Evo VIII testing in northern Europe, and the car is set to teach Subaru's Impreza five-door a thing or two about mixing pace and practicality.

We first broke the news about how Mitsubishi was planning an estate in March 2001, but the new body style is just starting to take shape. The aggressive lines of the saloon have successfully transferred to the five-door, but don't expect it to be as raw as the rally-bred booted version. The new model will make do with 'only' 220bhp - 80bhp less than the range-topping FQ four-door - and will be far more refined and comfortable over long journeys.

Although the Evo VIII's awesome 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is likely to be replaced with a detuned 1.8 version, performance will be impressive. The 0-60mph sprint will take 5.5 seconds, while a top speed of 155mph is expected. Mitsubishi's hi-tech stability control systems will help keep the car, which is likely to cost from £23,000, on the straight and narrow.

This practical addition to the Evo line-up will end Subaru's monopoly on sporting estates and bring the firms into direct competition. However, the newcomer also has more refined opponents, such as Audi's RS4, in its sights.

The estate pictured here was part of a convoy of Mitsubishis, including the lower-powered version of the Evo VIII, which is due here late this year. Chris Thorp

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 
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