Road test 

Car: Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution FQ-400

Prices: £50,799

Insurance groups: 20 - 44

Performance: Max Speed: 155

Fuel consumption:

Standard safety features:

Dimensions: L4,495/w1,845/h1,480

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution FQ-400
SPEED FREAK
Mitsubishi is showing just what its Lancer Evo is capable of with the FQ-400 model.

With supercar-humbling performance and advanced all-wheel-drive chassis technology, it's a formidable vehicle.

At some point, the car industry's horsepower war has got to end and that end might just be in sight. The big German marques have reached an armistice of sorts but it's one born out of necessity as concerns mount that a sports saloon on general sale probably shouldn't have a whole lot more than 600bhp. Even in the no-holes-barred supercar sector, the Bugatti Veyron has succinctly ended years of incessant one-upmanship with its 1,000bhp nuclear strike. Against this backdrop, Mitsubishi still shows little desire to call a bhp ceasefire. Its Lancer Evolution may not operate at quite such a rarefied level but down the years, it's always shown itself to be good for a jaw-dropping performance figure or two. The latest is the 403 horses charging around the engine bay of the Evo X FQ-400.



Whether you think the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution FQ-400 is good value at £50,000 depends on whether you see it as one of the fastest real world driver's cars in existence or a budget compact saloon with a mean streak. With 403bhp and a 3.8s 0-62mph time, it's manically quick and can still seat the whole family. A smarter interior and a posh badge and it would be unstoppable. As it is, all but the most committed Evo nuts will probably settle for a less extreme version.



The previous generation Lancer Evo IX ventured into 400bhp territory in FQ-400 guise and it was generally accepted to be an ill-advised move. The dustbin lid turbocharger needed to boost the car's 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine to a power output of that magnitude took a while to get into its stride, producing an unsatisfactory lull at low revs before the maelstrom was unleashed and everything went absolutely mental. That was the last generation of the Evo built on the original Lancer platform but today's Evo X model, based on more modern foundations, should have a better stab at coping with power of this kind.



So how exactly do you get 403bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine when most other manufacturers would employ something like a 4.0-litre V8 or a twin-turbo 6-cylinder unit to achieve the same results? The years of experience that Mitsubishi's engineers have in fettling the Evo's bombproof four-pot obviously helps here. They've fitted the obvious higher specification turbocharger with low friction bearings, a high temperature turbine and a strengthened thrust bearing to sharpen response and reduce lag. The turbo's cooled air supply is provided by an upgraded intercooler and the combustion cycle itself it jazzed-up by motorsport spec high-flow fuel injectors. A big bore stainless steel exhaust and an extensively re-mapped ECU provide the finishing touches to an engine that will take the FQ-400 from standstill to 62mph in 3.8s and generate its 525Nm maximum torque at 3,500rpm.



The Evo FQ-400 has a whole farmyard of grunt and your heart goes out to the transmission system tasked with deploying it. Mitsubishi's Super All Wheel Control (S-AWC) set-up, the one found across the Lancer Evo X range, gets the job and it's got a variety of tricks up its sleeve to ensure things run smoothly, or as smoothly as they can. There's Active Stability Control, an Active Centre Differential, Active Yaw Control and Sport ABS to keep the FQ-400 out of the bushes. Meanwhile, the 4x4 S-AWC system can be set in Tarmac, Gravel or Snow modes which adapt the settings of the various systems to suit the conditions.



The Lancer Evolution isn't known for hiding its considerable light under a bushel and as the flagship version, the FQ-400 is an appropriately imposing sight out on the road. There's a composite front bumper moulded around the trademark Lancer grille which features carbon fibre elements on this model. The enlarged bonnet vent allows heat an easy escape route and a 30mm drop in the front ride height beings everything closer to terra firma. If anything, the rear view of the FQ-400 is its most striking with the multi-finned Vortex Generator running along the roof, a super-sized spoiler and a splitter beneath with the huge letterbox exhaust at its centre. Owners could conceivably slap on a couple of numbers and turn up at the start line of a rally stage without being given a second glance, such is the aggression in the styling.



With a wider track than standard Evo models and upgraded suspension featuring Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers, the FQ-400 is more than merely an exercise in raw power. The handling package has been enhanced to match the searing pace on offer but Mitsubishi has been careful to retain the everyday usability that has always been at the Evo's heart. Practicality is relative but if you can live with a firm ride and a fruity engine note, the car's generous rear passenger space and sizable boot make it an almost unique proposition amongst thoroughbred performance cars.



Many manufacturers will charge in excess of £100,000 for a car matching the Evo FQ-400's performance figures. But Mitsubishi will let you have one for half that. If that still sounds like a lot of money, perhaps the equipment list will help convince. The car comes with the full works as standard, the highlights including a 30Gb hard drive based stereo system, DVD satellite navigation and automatic HID High Intensity Discharge headlights.



Lots of people will spit out their tea at the idea of paying £50,000 for a breathed upon compact saloon and well they might. To justify the FQ-400 you need to try and group it together with the other cars that can match its performance. There simply aren't many of them at any price and fewer still can seat four with space spare for a spot of luggage as well as blasting through the 0-60mph sprint in under four seconds. With a conspicuous lack of direct rivals, the ultimate Evo is an interesting proposition. Its biggest hurdle may be convincing buyers that it's worth the £10,000 premium over an FQ-360 with a 'mere' 354bhp.



Once the asking price has been overcome, the FQ-400's economy and emissions are unlikely to be too big an issue but be warned that this car will drink unleaded at a rate of knots if its full performance potential is utilised. On the plus side, Mitsubishi's reputation for reliability is well founded and the Evo mechanicals should prove reliable even in this precocious state of tune. A three-year/36,000-mile warranty is included on all models.



Performance car manufacturers live to outdo each other, whether it's on top speeds, lap times or power outputs but in raw performance terms, it might be a while before the Lancer Evo FQ-400 finds itself playing second fiddle to a sub £50,000 rival. With supercar-humbling performance and advanced all-wheel-drive chassis technology, it's a formidable vehicle. Better still, you could conceivably run one as an everyday family car, budget permitting.



There's substantially more to this FQ-400 than a bigger turbocharger. The mechanical changes made over its understudy, the Evo FQ-360, are designed to render this range-topper a more capable proposition in every respect. Anyone who's experienced the FQ-360 will understand what a challenge that was for the engineers but the modifications are far reaching and the FQ-400 is an astoundingly capable car with a price-tag to match. Most will settle for a lesser Lancer Evo but this is Mitsubishi showing what it can do and it's hard not to be impressed.



Performance car manufacturers live to outdo each other, whether it's on top speeds, lap times or power outputs but in raw performance terms, it might be a while before the Lancer Evo FQ-400 finds itself playing second fiddle to a sub £50,000 rival. With supercar-humbling performance and advanced all-wheel-drive chassis technology, it's a formidable vehicle. Better still, you could conceivably run one as an everyday family car, budget permitting.



So how exactly do you get 403bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine when most other manufacturers would employ something like a 4.0-litre V8 or a twin-turbo 6-cylinder unit to achieve the same results? The years of experience that Mitsubishi's engineers have in fettling the Evo's bombproof four-pot obviously helps here. They've fitted the obvious higher specification turbocharger with low friction bearings, a high temperature turbine and a strengthened thrust bearing to sharpen response and reduce lag. The turbo's cooled air supply is provided by an upgraded intercooler and the combustion cycle itself it jazzed-up by motorsport spec high-flow fuel injectors. A big bore stainless steel exhaust and an extensively re-mapped ECU provide the finishing touches to an engine that will take the FQ-400 from standstill to 62mph in 3.8s and generate its 525Nm maximum torque at 3,500rpm.



The Lancer Evolution isn't known for hiding its considerable light under a bushel and as the flagship version, the FQ-400 is an appropriately imposing sight out on the road. There's a composite front bumper moulded around the trademark Lancer grille which features carbon fibre elements on this model. The enlarged bonnet vent allows heat an easy escape route and a 30mm drop in the front ride height beings everything closer to terra firma. If anything, the rear view of the FQ-400 is its most striking with the multi-finned Vortex Generator running along the roof, a super-sized spoiler and a splitter beneath with the huge letterbox exhaust at its centre.
See also in this category...

Other cars by this manufacturer...

Disclaimer | Website Designed and Maintained by Advertiser Web Services

The Newark Advertiser Co Ltd website and the contents of its pages are © Advertiser Media Group, Unit 9 & 10 Halifax Court, Fernwood Business Park, Cross Lane, Newark, Notts, NG24 3JP. Reproduction in any form, printing or downloading of part or all of the contents is forbidden without specific written authorisation from the company. No part of contents of the Newark Advertiser Co Ltd website may be reproduced on or transmitted to or stored in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.