As mad as the last Evo, but with a better chassis

Our Verdict

Mitsubishi Evo X

The Mitsubishi Evo X is an epic supersaloon, but needs a sixth gear. Manual FQ360 the best

What is it?

The full-fat 354bhp version of the Evo X, only available with a conventional five-speed manual gearbox. Sadly the SST dual clutch transmission offered in the basic FQ-300 Evo isn't up to handling the torque of the upgraded motor - although a beefed-up version of the semi-auto gearbox may well follow.

The FQ-360 also makes do with just five transmission ratios rather than the six fitted to the Evo IX, because the five-speed gearbox is more resilient for competition use. The additional power comes from changes to the exhaust, intercooler, ECU and fuel pump rather than any modifications to the engine internals, leaving service intervals unaltered at 10,000miles.

To distinguish the FQ-360 from lesser 300 and 330 models, the Lancer’s clean lines are festooned with carbon-fibre add-ons, including a bulging lip spoiler, comb-like roof spoiler (think Evo XIII FQ-400) and what's described as a 'vortex downforce generator'.

What’s it like?

Visually a bit of a mess, all that carbon-fibre pretty much ruins the Evo X's good looks. Other than that, it's monumentally good, with far more of the old Evo whoosh-bang turbocharged power delivery than the sensible new FQ-300.

The new, free-breathing exhaust system means more of the engine's grumbles and whistles get to the cabin. There is more shove than you'd find in the lesser Evos - quite a bit more - but the 360 remains linear in its delivery from 3000 rpm to the redline.

The old-fashioned gearbox is a treat, too: the gearchange is quick and accurate and the clutch has a well-judged weight to it: not too heavy but with a bit of purpose.

On maximum attack, the manual isn’t going to match the SST for speed of shift, but the level of mechanical interaction it brings, plus the far quicker (and reliable) pick-up from a standstill more than makes up for this. It feels like it's missing a taller gear for motorway cruising, though.

Should I buy one?

The FQ-300, particularly with the SST transmission, has taken the Evo in a new direction, one that is more refined and more useable. For some this will be a good thing, but for those (most likely owners of previous generation models) that think the X is missing a bit of the old Evo spirit, then the FQ-360 is the one for you: as mad as the last Evo IX, but with an even better chassis.

Jamie Corstorphine

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Comments
3

24 May 2008

I saw the Evo X yesterday being driven into a garage for delivery and it looked quite 'technical' and crisp in its Rally White colour. Can't say I'd be tempted but I'll certainly enjoy seeing these scorching machines about on the roads in the near future.

24 May 2008

Is the 'comb-like roof spoiler' not the same thing as the 'vortex downforce generator' ?

25 May 2008

Very Nice! I wish the FQ360 would make it to the states.

Right now we have to tune the Evos ourselves.

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