Can you believe it's been 20 years since the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution – or 'Mitsubishi Evo' – was launched in the UK?

The hotter version of the Japanese marque's mundane saloon didn't come to the UK until its sixth generation because earlier models weren't homologated for Europe.

It finally arrived in the UK for the first time on July 11 2000, the first model to hit the market being the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI Tommi Makinen Special Edition, which was sold through the specialist Ralliart division.

The first batch of over 250 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIs were specially prepared for the UK market with extra corrosion protection, instruments that read in miles per hour, additional security features, and a number of extra features like an integrated rear fog lamp and a UK owner’s manual.

Evo VI Tommi Makinen Special Edition

All of that cost £32,995 – around £49,000 in today's money – and all 250 were sold out in a matter of weeks. Following that success, every subsequent 'Evo' made it to the UK – the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution eventually spanned ten generations on four different platforms until the line was discontinued in 2015.

The first nine models were all powered by Mitsubishi's legendary 4G63-T turbocharged four-pot, with power figures ranging from 260 hp to 400 hp. From the Evo VIII, the top-end FQ badge was introduced. Those models got the higher-powered engines, which were tuned in-house by Mitsubishi Motors in the UK's Ralliart division.

All of course came with a signature rally-inspired four-wheel-drive system which, depending on the model, incorporated Active Yaw Control (AYC) on the rear differential, limited slip differentials on both front and rear axles, and an Active Centre Differential (ACD). When the Evo X arrived traction and stability control, and a six-speed dual clutch transmission were added.

The final Mitsubishi Evo, the Lancer Evolution X FQ-440 MR (pictured above) arrived in 2015. Just 40 were made, all of which sold in a matter of hours at a cost of £50,000.

All in all a total of 5,728 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions were sold in the UK between 2000 and 2015.

Gallery: 20 years of the Mitsubishi Evo