On The Road In The Mitsubishi Evo FQ400

I hope you’re sitting down. I have just driven a £50k Mitsubishi Evo. This isn’t a custom-made job either, but a walk-into-the-showroom-and-tick-a-box car, the Mitsubishi Evo X FQ400.

On first glance it appears to have had an accident with the Halford’s parts department and come out with lots of garish plastic add-ons. On second glance you’ll notice wings on wings, carbonfibre front spoilers and a centrally mounted rectangular exhaust. This is not a car that blends into everyday traffic.

Inside the FQ400 there is less of the add-on garishness, though the bass box of the Rockford Fosgate sound system in the boot is carried over from the other highly specced Evo X models. But analysing the looks and wincing at its appearance is not the point of this car; it is about pure A-to-B speed, and boy can it do this well.

As a massive rally fan growing up with the North York Moors and Dalby Forest as my playground I have a natural predisposition for this sort of car. But I was always one to fall on the Subaru side and, with them being the most recent factory team competing, I still stick with that bias. Off the special-stage, Subaru’s last road car that really hit the spot was the RB320 and I really loved that car. It would take something special to top that, and our old long-term FQ360 never managed to outpoint the RB320 in my rally-nutter affections.

But this car is no FQ360. Sitting behind the wheel of the FQ400 and starting the engine, you suddenly get a feel this car is something else. There’s none of the aural numbness of the 360, with a low growling exhaust note reverberating around the car. One you would expect to hear on a forest gravel stage, and with the overrun pop you would associate with a fire-breathing rally monster.

The suspension has been lowered and the track widened, livening up the chassis response and leaving you more engaged in the driving experience. The steering response feels more accurate than the FQ360’s, and this gives you more confidence to attack roundabouts (or any other non-straight bits in your way) much harder than you’d think possible. The roll that was found in other Evo Xs has been eradicated and, with highly rigid, lightweight Bilstein dampers and Eibach coil springs on each corner, the car has the predictability that lower-spec versions really could do with.

Point it in a straight line, flex the right foot and you are bounding over tarmac as quick as many supercars. Hitting 60mph in 3.8 seconds feels quicker with the accompanying soundtrack from the four-cylinder, turbocharged 2.0-litre lump. Add to it the lower ride and some sticky Toyo Proxes R1Rs and this has to be one of the quickest vehicles over UK’s miles of B-roads.

The surprise with the FQ400 comes in the form of fuel efficiency. Despite being eye-wateringly quick and leaving your insides pushed firmly against your rib cage while cornering, it has good fuel economy. Well, that is relative, but compared with the slightly less muscled FQ360 it averages a good 2mpg better when gunning across country. Though Mitsubishi have purposely tuned the engine to deliver improved emissions and be a little less thirsty while adding the extra 40bhp, so maybe it should be expected.

It may save you money on fuel but the initial outlay won’t do. I always equate cars to their potential purchase if my lottery numbers ever appear. This car is one I would have to shortlist for a first trip to the dealers when the cheque arrives, but – and this is a big one – I think I would have to have multi-millions to justify spending £50,000 on an Evo X with bits cut out. In my non-lottery garage I would still choose the Impreza RB320.


Comments (107) Join the discussion on the forum

  • MrKipling43 25 Aug 2009

    You'd have to MENTAL to buy this car when you can have the Beemer for as-near-as-makes-no-difference money.

  • steebo888 25 Aug 2009

    50K for an evo 400 is insane. I would rather but an evo6 for 7-8k and tune it up for alot less money

  • mrmr96 25 Aug 2009

    MrKipling43 said:
    You'd have to MENTAL to buy this car when you can have the Beemer for as-near-as-makes-no-difference money.
    It's not a BMW. They are different cars designed for different purposes. The Evo is still expensive for what it is, though. I agree with the chap above who would buy a lesser model and modify it.

    However, the range topping FQ400 will always be something special, but might only be bought by mega enthusiasts who desire the 'purity' of a factory spec car over one that performs the same and is cheaper but requires aftermarket fettling to do so.

  • Garlick 25 Aug 2009

    I didn't even drive this car when it came in to the office as it really didn't appeal to me in any way.

    One mans meat etc......

    Apologies, this comment adds nothing to the thread

  • vz-r_dave 25 Aug 2009

    What is all of this Halfords nonsense? It was never used previously and has now become some arrogant and ignorrant slur. It looks like a race car and the parts have been developed that way. If you think it looks like its been through Halfords you have obviously never watched a race series nor understand anything about aerodynamics. (thats not a direct comment just a generalisation)

    If I had 50K to spend it would be fairly hi up on my list. Its as fast as pretty much everything in its price range. Especially round the track, IMO that is what makes it worth the 50K asking price.

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