Evo flagship now faster and more drivable. Still a little one-dimensional, but unforgettable all the same.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evos don’t seem to hang around very long – neither at traffic lights, nor in the showroom. Mitsubishi has rung the changes through its most iconic range of cars at breakneck pace since it first began importing the Evo in 1999; since then, there have been three generations of the car. This is the fourth – Evo number nine – and this model in particular is as fast, as expensive and as desirable as it comes: the £32,999 FQ-340.We drove its lesser-powered rangemate the FQ-320 in May; it left little to be desired in the performance stakes. A supplementary engine ECU, however, endows its big brother with 345bhp at 6800rpm and 321lb ft of torque at 4600rpm, which officially translates into 0-62mph clocked in 4.3sec.In actuality, this car is quicker than both statistics imply, yet very different to drive than its immediate predecessor, the 330-badged Evo VIII. Burying the accelerator from standstill in an FQ-330 produced a similar effect to being launched out of a catapult: the turbo boost would build with savagery the closer you got to the redline, and it was too easy to run into the rev-limiter if you weren’t ready with the next gear ratio. The FQ-340 gives up much more of its power in a surge between 4000- and 6000rpm; by comparison, it’s a little less frenetic to drive flat out, but also feels even quicker through the gears.All the other characteristics of the Evo’s driving experience – pin-sharp steering, aggressive throttle pedal and unbelievable four-wheel-drive traction – remain, but in a package that’s even faster and slightly less edgy to drive. Just as the badge implies, it’s quick with a capital ‘F’. 

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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