Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400

Fastest Mitsubishi Evo X yet is also the best handling. But is it for you?

Evo rating
  • The best Evo X so far…
  • …is about X grand too much

Fifty grand is a whole hill of money by any measure. M3 money, in fact. So spending that sum on an Evo X would seem like a brave, possibly misguided move. Ten grand more than the next one down and you only get an extra 49bhp? And it needs diagnostic down-time every 5000 miles? Chalk it up as one for the lunatic fringe. Or have we got the FQ-400 wrong?

Turns out we have. In the four-tier world of the Evo X line-up, the biggest step change is from FQ-360 to 400. Ignore, if you can, the extra ducts, scoops, slats and carbon trimmings – they’re nothing more than a visual diversion. The engine is worth touching on as it now delivers 201.7bhp per litre thanks to a remapped ECU, a more airy intercooler, a revised turbo and ‘motorsport specification’ injectors. That’s thought to be a world record for a production car, by the way.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

But the area where New Zealand-based WRC Developments (responsible, along with Ecutek, for the whole UK FQ line-up) has made the biggest difference is in the suspension. Track widths are up 20mm front and rear, and the whole body sits 30mm lower. Those are big shifts and they make a big difference.

For starters the carbonfibre front splitter occasionally scuffs expensively on rough roads. More stiff track-car than supple rally car, then? Not a bit. In fact the FQ-400 still appears to have plenty of vertical travel (hence the scuffing) and, better still, what movement it has is beautifully, spongily damped. Softer than expected it may be, but the detectable dose of pitch and dive is reassuring, a measure of how hard the car is working, and the FQ-400 combines this with more poise and precision than any of its siblings. Not to mention traction and grip, although that’s largely down to the semi-slick Toyo Proxes R1R tyres. It’s still not as pointy and agile as a IX, but the changes make a genuine difference.

There’s even a proper engine noise. Droning is out, in its place a gruffer note with delightful poppling on the overrun. It doesn’t accelerate like a party popper, either. From 3700 to 7700rpm the delivery is aggressive and sustained, but won’t give you or your passengers whiplash. It’s now a nice engine to use – extremely responsive and very hard working.

The problem, as ever with the Evo X, comes in the three-way equation between cost, driver appeal and image. Yes, this is the ultimate Evo and would run rings round an M3 from Aberystwyth to Bala, delivering both savage speed and genuine enjoyment. But ask yourself this: do you want to look like an 18-year-old Lotto winner with a Demon Tweeks fetish?

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1998cc, turbo
Max power403bhp @ 6500rpm
Max torque387lb ft @ 3500rpm
Top speed155mph (limited)
0-60mph3.8sec (claimed)
Price£49,999
On saleNow

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/1-series/203095/bmw-128ti-revealed-as-direct-hot-hatch-rival-to-vw-golf-gti
BMW 1 Series

BMW 128ti revealed as direct hot hatch rival to VW Golf GTI

BMW has revealed a simplified front-wheel drive hot 1-series called 128ti that will sit below the M135i performance flagship
16 Sep 2020
Visit/nissan/370z/201879/nissan-z-proto-revealed-v6-twin-turbo-six-speed-manual-and-a-catch
Nissan 370Z

Nissan Z Proto revealed – V6 twin-turbo, six-speed manual, and a catch

It’s the Nissan sports car we’ve been waiting 11 years for, but don’t hold your breath for it in the UK
16 Sep 2020
Visit/advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Used car deals of the week

We’ve perused the used car pages so you don’t have to. Here’s what caught evo’s fancy this week
16 Sep 2020
Visit/audi/s3/203084/audi-s3-2020-review-the-original-posh-hot-hatch-reformed
Audi S3

Audi S3 2020 review – the original posh hot hatch reformed

Probably the best S3 yet, but still not a class-leading entertainer
15 Sep 2020