It's so far from being sensible that it's unhinged - and brilliant

What is it?

The FQ-400 is the fastest, most powerful version of the Evo X, and a return for a name last seen on the Evo VIII. This time we have 403bhp, 387lb ft, an electronically limited 155mph top speed, and 0-62mph in 3.8seconds. Oh yes, and a price tag to match.

What’s it like?

In the scheme of things an extra 44bhp doesn’t seem like a massive jump from the already pretty poky FQ-360 (actually 359bhp), being only a 12 per cent increase. The torque boost (24 lb ft or 7 per cent) even less so. But as an experience, or more accurately, an event, the FQ-400 is so much more exciting than these numbers suggest.

Partly because of considerable extra pace, the reduced 0-62mph time undersells how much keener the FQ-400 responds, thanks to a revised low friction turbocharger.

The real transformation though, is in the character. When the Evo X first arrived, we were impressed with its newfound flexibility, but found the new 4B11 engine a touch anodyne - an accusation you could never level at the FQ-400. Given a specific output topping 200bhp/litre, that it is still flexible at low revs is impressive. This is no FQ-400 of old. From 2000rpm it is already pulling strongly, at 3000rpm it feels mighty, and at 5000rpm stupendously quick.

But where the FQ-400 really shines is at higher revs; although peak power arrives at 6500rpm, the FQ-400 will rev to 8000rpm, and unlike the FQ-360 feels happy doing so.

Fuel injectors aside, Mitsubishi haven’t changed any of the engine internals, only the ECU, turbo, intercooler and exhaust, but these alone give a more frenzied angry top end.

It also sounds miles better than the regular FQs, thanks to that new exhaust, complete with a Murcielargo style huge central tailpipe. At idle there is a restless deep burble, which hardens under load and is accompanied by a whole host of whistles and whooshes from the turbo. You really get the sensation of sitting in a proper rally machine. On the over run it pops constantly, and if you come of the throttle sharply at higher revs it produces a full-on rally style rifle crack which is outrageously anti-social, but utterly brilliant.

If all of that sounds like a nightmare to drive, it isn’t. Mitsubishi has solved the regular Evo’s lazy throttle response from idle, and new Alcon six piston calibres improve the already very good brake feel

Lowered by 30mm and running a 15mm wider track, the FQ-400 is even more tightly controlled through the corners. It still steers brilliantly and the extra power means you’re able to better exploit the excellent chassis balance. New lighter wheels mean that despite the lowered ride the ride doesn’t suffer materially, and these come wrapped with even stickier Toyo Proxes R1Rs tyres.

As you would expect Mitsubishi has gone to town on the FQ-400 exterior. In addition to the exhaust, there’s an even more pronounced front splitter, a gurney strip on the spoiler, vented sills and ludicrous number of bonnet scoops. It is completely over the top, but then what do you expect from the maddest version of an already pretty mad car?

Should I buy one?

If you want the most extreme Evo, then this is it. And unlike the last FQ-400, this one is a well-rounded useable machine. The big stumbling block is the price, as £49,999 is unjustifiable next to the cheaper, more powerful M3 saloon. But perhaps that’s the point. The FQ-400 is so far from being sensible to be unhinged, and that’s what makes it brilliant.

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Jamie Corstorphine

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vscona 2 July 2009

Re: Mitsubishi Evo FQ-400

I think we're missing the 'marque' (pun intended) here, the FQ-400 is not in the same class as the M3, AMG,'s on another plane, as is the GTR - comparable hardware would be the Porsche Turbo, GT3/2, Gallardo, R8/10, F430 - in all but motorway, straights and open sweepers the FQ is prolly faster than the GTR and friends - it's still a bargain and has a place in the market as a scalpal sharp super saloon.

38carssofar 16 June 2009

Re: Mitsubishi Evo FQ-400

A few weeks ago there were several '09 regd. sub 1000 mile "ex-management" M3 Saloons for sale on Autotrader/MSN cars @ circa £39.995 ...

racy_jase 15 June 2009

Re: Mitsubishi Evo FQ-400

Rediculous price aside, this sounds like a bit of a deutsch uber saloon muncher! i think a group test is in order!! put this against an M3 saloon (or coupe for that matter!) and i reckon the M3 would struggle! think of all that extra torque and traction! road, track or straight line i reckon it would have it licked! Though the most interesting comparison in my opinion would be with the litchfield type-20 imprezza sti! I think that would be very interesting! especially since said looney scoob is a good £13k cheaper! and with the way the recession's going, you could probably by a new M3 saloon next week with that change! or at least 335i lol