What is it?
This is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X GSR FQ-330 SST. It’s the mid-point of the three-tier Evo X range (until the nutty FQ-400 arrives) and it now gets Mitsubishi’s dual-clutch SST transmission, which was previously only available on the 291bhp FQ-300.
The FQ-330 also has the big-piped sports exhaust from the FQ-360, although it doesn’t get any of the carbonfibre aerodynamic trimmings from its bigger brother.
Perhaps most significant, however, is that the torque limiter, which allowed only 50 per cent of twist in first gear on early FQ-300 models, has gone.
What’s it like?
Not to put too fine a point on it, bloody marvellous. The SST-equipped Evo X FQ-330 could well be the sweet spot in the Evo X range.
The combination of the removal of the first gear torque limiter and the extra 38bhp transforms the Lancer’s performance off the line. The FQ-330 SST turns the Evo X into the traffic-light sprinter the occasionally lethargic FQ-300 looked like, but never was. The SST gearbox feels much smoother and more positive than in early Evo X’s, too.
On the motorway, and on fast, sweeping A-roads, the six evenly spaced ratios make the FQ-330 SST a much more relaxed companion than the FQ-360, with its gritty five-speed manual, could ever hope to be.
The rest of the Evo X experience is much as you’d expect. The manic power delivery, tremendous four-wheel drive traction and unbelievable levels of grip make the FQ-330 one of the fastest cross-country machines aside from something like a Nissan GT-R. And even then we doubt if the Nissan would easily put clear air between it and an Evo.
There are, of course, the traditional Evo X downsides of tacky interior plastics, heavy fuel consumption and a rock-hard ride, but the Evo X FQ-330 SST manages to mix in more everyday usability than any other Evo variant without compromising its turbo-nutter nature.
Should I buy one?
Even though you’re getting close to Porsche Cayman territory with the Evo X FQ-330 SST’s price tag, as a four-seat point-to-point missile, there is very little to touch an Evo, at any price. And the FQ-330 SST is probably the best of the lot.