27 Mar 2014

The Legends Are Back - The New Subaru WRX STI And Mitsubishi Evo X

Mitsubishi and Subaru. Two colossuses of world rallying who dominated the stages for years (a long time ago) are both back with top flight cars that are surely made for rallying.

First it was Subaru.  The Impreza, synonymous with Richard Burns, Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz, slowly turned from a screaming nutter-mobile into a rather boring hatchback.  Its most recent incarnation has a 1.6 litre engine and does 0-60mph in 12.3 seconds.

But at some point the Impreza we love and cherish became the WRX and even that got a bit staid and so-so and for a while wasn't available in the UK.

Then Subaru announced the WRX STI and said it would be available from 1 May and it'd cost £29k. The world rejoiced (probably).  The new WRX STI looks like a fast Subaru should and has a 2.5 litre boxer engine that punts out 296bhp, allied to a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Subaru WRX STI
Subaru WRX STI

Then it was Mitsubishi, who announced yesterday that it would be launching a 40th anniversary special edition Lancer Evolution X FQ-440 MR which produces 440bhp from its turbocharged inline-4.  It'll cost £50k, has a suitably daft name and will only be available in Frost White.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-440 MR
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-440 MR

For a generation of petrolheads Subaru and Mitsubishi entered the coolest cars in the coolest form of competition and had the coolest drivers.  Then as world rally went in decline so too did the car buying public's appetite for mental Japanese saloons.

Nowadays WRC comprises Ford, Hyundai, Citroen and Volkswagen - all very admirable efforts but none has the kudos of Subaru or Mitsubishi.

So what plans do these two ex-giants of world rally have for their new nutter-bastard motors?

Subaru has announced it will take the WRX saloon car racing. On race tracks. Mitsubishi has announced...nothing.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.  This is not good enough. We the petrolheads and race fans of the world want, need to see the new Evo and WRX on the stages in the world rally championship.

We want to see these twin Japanese titans take on the Polo, Fiesta, DS3 and i20, spewing mud, ice and gravel and sliding sideways around tarmac hairpins on tiny roads on the edge of some sheer cliff face with a big name driver at the wheel.

This is what the Evolution X FQ-440 MR and WRX STI deserve. And, frankly, so do we.  Please see to it Mitsubishi and Subaru.

By Matt Hubbard