THE new Evolution— I much prefer Evo — can be a riot on a closed, safety- first racetrack.
It is fast, responsive, sharp and refined. It will also hold a drift that goes on and on.
Not that I would recommend such anti-social behaviour on the road.
On the other side of the action, the cabin is improved and the design of the centre stack is making a good bid for premium class.
But the press preview cars — admittedly pre-production build — showed too much variation to carry it off properly. And while the body generally looks good, the high rear wing cuts across the rear vision.
But all that is forgotten when you get going.
Even my all-too-short test drive was enough to prove the Evo has finally managed to combine performance with comfort.
Unlike the harsh ride of the previous models, the new Evo is compliant over bad surfaces, and yet the car is tackflat through corners.
There is always plenty of go on tap and the twin-clutch gearbox is a superb tool to dig it out, changing seamlessly and cleverly in every mode.
Coupled with all that, the steering is almost faultless, with the kind of response that is sharply attentive without being twitchy.
I was punting the car through rain on greasy hill roads and it never looked like getting out of step in what would have been tentative motoring in any other car.
The Evo’s all-wheel-drive system is so good that grip is as tenacious as most wellsorted cars in perfect weather.
On a dry road it should be nothing short of astonishing.
I am still uncertain about the premium appeal of the Evolution, but I am certain the new Evo is going to slap smiles across across Australia — and force a few frowns on STi drivers.