So here it is: the full loony-tune(d) Evo X. We’ve wondered what this car would feel like since we drove the standard model
late last year. The new Evo X is a fine car, but its chassis is almost dismissive of the standard engine’s 291bhp.
The FQ-360 GSR is the top of the range (official) Evo X. The engine is more powerful, the car is loaded with standard kit and there are a few bodywork additions. The FQ-360 is only available in the UK.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-360... that's a bit of a mouthful!
It is and it points to the fireworks under the bonnet. The Evo’s new die-cast aluminium 4B11 engine was designed to deliver greater torque at lower rpm and more power in standard form than the outgoing 4G63 motor. Combine this with a 12kg weight saving over the old cast-iron version and you’ve got a lower C-of-G and great basic template for some serious tuneability.
HKS goodies (ECU remap, induction kit and new fuel pump assembly) result in a power jump from 291 to 354bhp. Torque is up to 362lb ft from 300lb ft.
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A 63bhp jump sounds fairly impressive, but is it peaky with masses of turbo lag?
Nope. In reality the FQ-360 feels substantially quicker than the 291bhp version. The power delivery is smoother than the outgoing motor and there’s less turbo lag, but this is still an engine defined by its top-end surge.
There’s something, well, so uniquely Evo about the way the four-cylinder MIVEC variable valve timing system works with the added boost to deliver high-rev punch. Chasing the redline results in some impressive stats too: the FQ-360 sprints to 62mph in 4.1 seconds. That’s six-tenths faster than the standard Evo X and 0.2sec quicker than a Porsche 911 GT3.
Hang on. What’s with the manual? Shouldn’t the Evo X have a double-clutch gearbox?Not the FQ-360 version. Mitsubishi UK would dearly love to mate the quick and efficient twin-clutch SST (Sports Shift Transmission) to the bonkers motor but diplomatically states that the SST needs more ‘durability testing’ with the higher output engine.
We’re not complaining. There’s something pure about the Evo X’s five-speed manual. The ratios are perfectly spread to combat the FQ-360’s lunging power delivery and the brake, clutch and gearchange are so precise and meaty that it’s a pleasure to use all three pedals, two sticks and one wheel… Click 'Next' to read the rest of the road test
How does that extra power affect the handling?
In a good way. Somehow the extra 63bhp has liberated the Evo’s inner animal, resulting in a far more adjustable and playful drive.
On track, the standard car tends to glue-down on the exit of corners – which is exactly what the active centre diff, yaw control and stability management wants it to do. With the FQ-360 you can continue to adjust your line inwards with the throttle way after the apex. Not a full-on powerslide but a balanced and deeply satisfying four-wheel drift.
Despite its standard-fit HDD sat nav, 30GB music server and 650 Rockford Fosgate stereo, the £37,999 FQ-360 GSR isn’t cheap. However, in Mitsubishi UK’s own words ‘[we] think we can get people out of their German performance cars’.
We’re not so sure. All Evos, including the X, appeal to a certain type of buyer – those who ‘get’ what the Evo offers (sensational performance, handling and driver interaction) and don’t spend long contemplating the opposition.
In isolation, the FQ-360 is a gripping and beguiling performance car, but consider this: BMW’s sublime twin-turbo 335i M Sport is £3500 cheaper…