Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-400 (2009) review

Published:05 June 2009

Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

Read the stats alone – 403bhp, 387lb ft, £50k, 0-62mph in 3.8sec – and it’s easy to dismiss the FQ-400 as being as out-of-step as an MP’s expenses claim. In fact, that’s just what I did – before I drove it. One hour of enthusiastic pedalling later, I was converted – this is the best Evo X. It is quantifiably better – not just faster – than every other Evo X, and quite possibly the best Evo ever.

Hold on a minute – isn’t that over 200bhp per litre for this Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400?

It certainly is. Mitsubishi UK – just like the 330 and 360, this is a UK-only model – has stuck with the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder 16-valve turbo, but the company has hooked up with well-respected Japanese tuner HKS – a kind of Oriental Cosworth – to unleash even more power.

The extra go comes courtesy of high-flow fuel injectors; a new hybrid turbo that’s specially strengthened to deal with the faster turbine speeds and higher temperatures; a more capable intercooler; plus re-mapped engine management. Best of all, you’re still covered by the Mitsubishi three-year/36,000-mile warranty.

Come on, though, who needs an even quicker FQ?

Speed alone isn’t the point of the FQ-400 – it’s the way that power is delivered. You’d expect a small capacity turbo nutter to be laggy down low, yet it’s daily-driver tractable from very low revs, really picks up its heels from 2000rpm, then blitzes to the horizon from 3000rpm onwards.

It’s a more progressive delivery than the FQ-360 serves up, something that makes it feel a little more predictable, if not quite as banzai explosive as you might expect – though this is without doubt a very, very fast car.

>> Click 'Next' below to read more of our Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-400 first drive

Have they tweaked the chassis to cope?

Indeed they have. The 400 features new Bilstein dampers and Eibach springs for a 30mm lower stance, plus a slightly wider track and stickier Toyo tyres. The ride feels no firmer than the already borderline-firm lesser FQs, but the tweaks have upped agility and given the steering a more progressive, less darty off-centre response.

The brakes too – Alcons replacing the previous Brembos – are just a little less keen to respond instantly, something that sounds bad but actually means the pedal is easier to modulate in its first inch of travel. Stopping power is still totally reassuring.

Still looks like an Evo, though

It does, and the interior is virtually unchanged too – one of the car’s weaker points. That said, spotters will know you’re in something special – there’s a new bonnet, lightweight front bumper, composite re-styled rear bumper, a trapezoidal centre-exit exhaust and lightweight 18-inch wheels.

Verdict

To drop the same kind of money on an Evo as you would on a BMW M3 saloon does seem ludicrous, and even justifying the extra £10k it commands over the next most powerful is hard. Yet the FQ-400 is far more than an FQ-360 with the boost turned up – the dynamics have been carefully honed to offer a more together, more fluid driving experience than any other Evo X. It’s a brilliant drive.

If you want the ultimate Evo, this is it.

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Specs

Price when new: £49,999
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1998cc 16-valve four-cylinder turbo, 403bhp @ 6500rpm, 387lb ft @ 3500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Performance: 3.8sec 62mph, 155mph, n/ampg, n/ag/km C02
Weight / material: 1540kg (est)/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4505/1810/1450

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  • Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review
  • Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review
  • Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review
  • Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review
  • Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400 (2009) CAR review

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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