After countless different models of ever-more ferocious versions over the years, it’s fairly obvious by now what not to expect from a car like the Evo FQ-400.
You’d be missing the point, for example, if you were to expect much in the way of ride comfort from your FQ-400 over a badly surfaced British town road. Nor could you bargain on much sympathy if you were pulled over for doing 87mph in it on the M1. Drive an Evo and you’re either in the club or out of it, which means most normal folks think you’re a complete lunatic behind the wheel.
Nor, however, do you expect to pay 47 grand for a car like this. One of the core appeals of Evos past has been their ability to offer twice the real-world performance for half the price of most so-called more exotic rivals – and that’s fine when the starting price is £30,000 or less. At nearly 50 grand, however, the Evo’s giant-killer status moves into an entirely different arena. And unless it can deliver, well, let’s just say it’ll be walking on extremely thin ice.
On the other hand, although we’ve been programmed to expect Daley Thompson-style heights of all-round dynamic prowess from our Evos, performance of the kind offered by the FQ-400 has not so far been part of its repertoire. And in the end that’s what the 400 is all about: an ability to go and stop more dramatically (much more dramatically) than any other Evo in history.
How does the FQ-400 achieve such instant iconic status among an already iconic brand? In short by dishing out 405bhp at 6400rpm and 355lb ft at 5500rpm, sufficient to send it to 60mph in 3.5sec and eventually to over 175mph. To attain the required power and torque most of the engine’s key components have been replaced, except, interestingly, the crank.
There’s a much bigger Garrett turbo, stronger forged pistons, forged conrods, a beefier cylinder head, an entirely new exhaust system, a bigger Motec ECU and a far more efficient fuel pump. Unsurprisingly, the clutch has also been heavily uprated and is effectively now a competition unit, although the gearbox and basic suspension set-up are unchanged from those of lesser models.
Despite the fact that there’s an acknowledged school of thought that says it’s impossible to reliably get such a huge amount of power from the Evo’s standard 4G63 2.0-litre block, engine tuners, Flow Race have squeezed an extraordinary 202.5bhp per litre from the motor. Incredibly, Mitsubishi says it’s sturdy enough to come with a full three-year factory warranty.
Just 100 FQ-400s will be built and all will be offered with free driver tuition (which is a wise move, assuming Mitsubishi can find 100 punters bold enough over the next two years). Mind you, the engine spec alone will be enough to sell this car to some customers.
Visually, you can pick the 400 from its weedier brethren in several key areas. The roof sports a row of carbonfibre fins, which bear more than a passing resemblance to a punk hairdo. There are also black Team dynamics alloys, funkier door mirrors, a much deeper carbonfibre chin spoiler and even different wiper covers. These are also fashioned from carbonfibre and have the word Ralliart stamped into them. Some folks will no doubt find this an irresistible feature; others will consider them pretty naff.