Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-400

Hottest Evo yet looks set to return legend to the top of the performance chart

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Finally the Evo X has the bite to match its reputation! The FQ-400 provides the intense, raw, thrilling drive that gave earlier Evos such a dedicated following. While the laggy low-down power delivery is a flaw, it adds valuable character and is soon forgotten once the revs rise. The five-speed gearbox remains a disappointment, but our biggest gripe is the £49,999 price – buyers will have to look past everything from a BMW M3 to a Porsche Cayman S before opting for the FQ-400.

“THE fastest and most extreme Lancer Evolution ever released!” That’s the headline-grabbing claim Mitsubishi is making about its new flagship FQ-400. Charged with getting the Evo back to the top of the adrenaline junkie’s wish-list, the range-topper has had some welcome drama injected under the bonnet.

The 2.0-litre powerplant has a remapped ECU, motorsport add-ons and a revised turbo – and the result is 403bhp! Fans will recall a hot FQ-400 version of the Evo VIII built in 2004, but with an over-tuned, aftermarket feel this car never made it into the marque’s hall of fame. Will its 2009 successor fall into the same trap?

Well, with bonnet scoops, carbon fibre trim and a bodykit, the new FQ-400 certainly gets noticed. It has immense road presence – and a burbling, popping exhaust note to match.

Unleash all of the Evo’s 403bhp and you’d better be ready. At first the turbo lag causes a marked lack of acceleration, but as the revs rise so does the immense surge in pace. Unfortunately, buyers still have to put up with a gearbox offering only five ratios and a long-throw shift. Making smooth changes isn’t easy – rival performance models have more accomplished transmissions.

Thankfully, the firm’s chassis know-how means staggering efficiency in corners. At first the light steering doesn’t inspire confidence, but lowered suspension coupled with a 20mm-wider track provides effortless cross-country pace. Add the abilities of the Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC) four-wheel-drive system and the FQ-400 gives real confidence.

Despite a surprisingly soft pedal feel, the upgraded brakes are strong, helped by the super-grippy Toyo tyres. Even more impressive is the ride quality, which isn’t uncomfortably stiff. Only the FQ-400’s price will wipe the smile off your face – at £49,999, it’s £10,000 more than the FQ-360. It will take a true Evo fanatic to pay that!

Rival: Nissan GT-R At £56,800, the mighty Nissan GT-R is well within the sights of buyers of the FQ-400. With its huge visual impact, supercar-beating dynamics and incredible pace, the GT-R is a tough machine to beat.

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