Following Mitsubishi's Evo VI Tommi Makinen was always going to be a hard job, and the 2001 Lancer Evolution VII (based on an all-new Lancer Cedia platform) was less well received. But torque rose to 282lb ft and the Evo VII also boasted a new Active Centre Differential that worked in conjunction with a revised Active Yaw Control and four-wheel drive to provide even better handling.
More modern, definitely still an Evo
Alongside the standard £29,995 GSR version UK buyers could also choose a FQ-300 model for £31,495 and a less-focused 2002 semi-automatic Evo VII GT-A (which lacked Super Active Yaw Control or an Active Centre Differential). Once again de-kitted RS models were sold in Japan.
Mitsubishi's more aggressive and smaller-looking six-speed Evo VIII received greater media acclaim when it followed in April 2003. Standard UK cars were now priced lower at just £26,999, plus there were also £28,999 FQ-300 and £31,999 FQ-330 versions to tempt performance junkies.
The Evo VIII MR (which stood for Mitsubishi Racing) followed in February 2004, with a new turbo control system plus FQ-300, FQ-320, FQ-340 versions. A heavily revised, range-topping FQ-400 model was also produced - just 100 of these extreme Evos were made and a detuned five-speed Evo VIII 260 was also launched. The last Evo of this era - the Evo IX - hit UK shores in March 2005, boasting MIVEC variable valve timing and the now de rigueur FQ-300, FQ-320, FQ-340 and FQ-360 variants.
These are the last Evos to feature the much-admired 4G63 engine and are some of the best Evos to buy right now, as Simon Norris stresses: "From the Evo VIII MR onwards the Evo regained its edge, culminating in the Evo IX with its larger turbo, MIVEC and a much stiffer chassis." These models make the best starting point for serious tuning too.
Buy if: you're seeking the ultimate Evo performance at a sensible price, great base for further tuning
Don't buy if: you're looking for a long-term future classic
We found: 2005 Evo VIII, silver metallic, full service history, 375bhp, 67k miles, £8,995
Poor: Less than £7,995
Good: £8,000 to £13,000
Special Editions: FQ-340 £9,995-£13,995, FQ-360 £15,995-£21,995, RS £7,995-£13,995