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RalliArt Lancer Evo V RS450 : Rally

Riding the Evo of Destruction

No Point in beating about the bush. I'll just tell you straight. What you're looking at here is quite probably the quickest form of transportation in the country.

I'm sure crazier members of the two-wheeled fraternity will just think it another half-baked claim from a motoring journalist who's never experienced a super-fast bike. Fair enough, but on Britains's mouldy tarmac this one-off uber-Evo feels outrageously fast.

We've tested every conceivable incarnation of Mitsubishi's homologation special over the years, but none of them comes near the RS450's level of lunacy.

Before delving into the spec, it's worth noting that the car we drove was actually an Evo V. Exactly the same modifications are available on the current Evo VI, it's just that no customer has been barking enough to order them yet. So we had to drive a slightly older one.

To call the RS450 a thinly disguised tarmac rally car would be selling it short. It just has too much power. I'll start from the bottom up: Ralliart begins with a strengthened block and then bins just about all of the standard internals. The crank, conrods, pistons and cams all become competition-spec and they're topped with lightened valves and a special head. Lighter timing gear also helps the quest for even sillier power outputs.

The turbocharger has also been modified to cope with ridiculously high pressures. We didn't see more than 1.6bar during our time with the car, but Ralliart reckons it'll run safely up to 2.3bar.

The true potential of this engine is unleashed by the statospheric boost pressures and the lack of the air restrictor that pegs back power outputs on rally cars. It idles just like any other Evo, slightly lumpy but not even hinting at what it's capable of.

Sat low, wedged into the high-sided OMP buckets inches from the full roll cage and firmly harnessed in, it feels nothing like a road car. The main problem is the competition clutch. It's fantastic for maximum-effort changes but a terrific pain in the backside around town.

Any doubts disappear the first time the revcounter sweeps past 3000rpm in second gear. The RS450 hammers forward at a brutal rate, and I'm speechless. From here on to the 8000rpm limiter it piles on the numbers like few other cars. Ralliart's talk of sub-nine second 0-100mph times is not hard to believe.

Keep the thing spinning above 3000rpm and you can switch the anti-lag system on and scare all lifeforms senseless. The system does have a serious side, though the throttle response is even better with it on.

Part of the reason the RS450 feels so quick is the ultra-short gearing. This car is based on an Evo RS, the pared-to-the-bones rally special without clever differentials and air conditioning but with said special gearbox. Charging up and down through the ratios is a joy but at 4000rpm in fifth it hasn't even reached 80mph. So it's not a motorway cruiser, then.

But it destroys anything else. The RS 450 has no more grip than the standard car, but it does have enough power to extract every last ounce of ability from the chassis. Take, for example, the corner in the main photograph. Last year I drove a new Nissan Skyline R34 round this corner and it couldn't get within 10mph of the speed the Evo carried all the way through. There's something deeply satisfying about seeing not two but four thick black lines laid down on the exit to a corner.

Just as impressive are the brakes. The standard rear Brembos main, but a four-piston AP set-up at the front ups the braking performance substantially.

At 44,000 the RS450 isn't cheap, but there's nothing else like it. It has more performance, grip and sheer dynamic ability than just about any car ever made.

Chris Harris Autocar Magazine

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