There’s a lot to be said for good seats, and the gorgeous new smoke-grey leather and Alcantara Ralliart bucket jobs are the first thing you notice when you assume the position in this, the new Mitsubishi Evolution VIII FQ330.
That’s right: 330, which means those crazy folks at Mitsubishi UK have squeezed yet another 30bhp out of that originally 276bhp turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-litre twin-cam engine.
And another special edition is no surprise; some 90 per cent of UK Evo buyers opt for the up-specced FQ300 over the standard car, so it seems the extra grunt and extra kit formula works. A supplementary ECU and revisions to the wastegate actuator to increase boost pressure from the FQ300’s 1.3 bar to 1.4 bar provide the extra bhp. And that’s not all – there’s a further 15lb ft of torque arriving 500rpm higher at 5000rpm.
On the road you don’t immediately notice the change. But there’s more torque from around 2000rpm – which means going from 50mph up to a shade over the legal limit is an effortless surge in top – and with peak power coming in 600rpm later, the 330 just seems to rev and rev, giving more power the whole time.
A quick thrash in a 330 with less than 1000 miles on the clock left our 5000-mile FQ300 seeming a little jaded, and Mitsubishi reckons Evos get even quicker the more miles they put on. Certainly Mitsubishi’s 0-60mph estimate of 4.7sec seems conservative, particularly as we set a 4.4sec time in an FQ300 for this year’s 0-100-0 challenge.