RE: Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-440 MR | PH Used Review

RE: Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-440 MR | PH Used Review

Saturday 9th November

Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-440 MR | PH Used Review

The last of the Lancers went out with such a bang that it still resonates today



Back then...

Remember when the cars of the World Rally Championship were really cool? Like really, really cool? When you were either Subaru or Mitsubishi, blue or red? It feels like an eternity ago, yet the last direct descendant of that special era, Subaru's Impreza-succeeding WRX STI, has only just discontinued production. Its departure closes a chapter that once included Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution, a car that itself bowed out of Britain with the final Evo X four years ago - a decade since its maker last fielded a factory effort in the WRC and 40 years since Mitsubishi first entered the UK.

Having arrived eight years into the Evo X's life, the FQ-440 MR was already a dinosaur - but with 440hp produced by its heavily boosted 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, Mitsubishi's 40-car run-out did far more than leave with pride; it threw rebellious punches at the incoming class of super hatchbacks that ultimately spelled out its demise. The Mercedes-AMG A45 and Ford Focus RS and even the BMW F80 M3 looked outgunned next to the FQ-440. Here was an Evo X capable of hitting 60mph in 3.8 seconds. It was plainly a thumb in the eye to the model's detractors - and a deity for its fanbase.

To achieve its remarkable 440hp and 412lb ft of torque peak outputs, the Evo X was given a spec list befitting the British aftermarket tuner scene. Its 16-valve unit used motorsport high-flow fuel injectors and was force fed by an HKS turbo, which worked with an intercooler endowed with Janspeed-supplied piping. The intake and exhaust systems were also provided by the esteemed UK tuning firm, while Eibach lowering springs, larger Alcon front brakes and BBS 18-inch wheels completed a long list of upgrades. It pushed the price to Β£50,000, which was, well, a lot. You were only Β£5k short of F80 money.


Nowadays...

Direct comparison with the cars it once called rivals is no longer relevant because almost instantly, the last-of-the-line Evo X FQ-440 achieved mythic status. Encountered now, it is clearly a product of that once celebrated era; not even the boisterous Focus RS can square up to its muscular form, nor does an M3 provide such an unyielding focus on being driven quickly. Just look at those bonnet intakes, roof slats and the rear wing. It is impossible to coast in traffic without drawing attention; if it's not the volume of the exhaust system, it's that spoiler. This won't appeal to everybody.

The FQ-440, considerably more so than its lower-powered siblings (FQ400 included), feels honed. You'll need to make your peace with that, and the alway-tense quality of the ride which sees those 245-width boots incessantly pushed into unseen road imperfections. If that doesn't wear you out, the drone of the exhaust might. But it's honest. Honest enough to feel like an old dog at times, with the six-speed twin-clutch automatic (the hunt for performance in the FQ-440 meant the quicker-shifting SST was the only option) hesitant and clunky at low speed, adding to that butch aura but also hammering home the point that this Evo would rather be let off the leash.


Do that, and the FQ-440 comes into its own. The motor, which has a still remarkable 220hp-per-litre, comes alive at 3,000rpm and sending its 1.6-tonne burden hurtling forward. There's no questioning the claimed output here, and the SST gearbox suddenly feels fit for purpose when asked to do its job at 7,000rpm. The same is true for the exhaust, which makes brilliantly authentic race car sounds. Miss an upshift and the motor chatters into its redline; lift the throttle after a few seconds of pressing it into the carpet and there are crackles of unburnt fuel. The powertrain alone gives the Evo X an exciting USP.

Its party piece, of course, is Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control four-wheel drive system. It practically forces you to turn your driving style on its head, with the front-mounted limited-slip differential complaining when you opt for closed throttle corner entry because it wants for an always-on-the-power approach. You can genuinely feel the effects of the car's active centre differential forcing more torque rearwards, so yaw angles are increased with your right foot, not palms. The steering is numb, yes, but you become so focussed on squeezing more and more throttle on during corners that it's easily forgiven. A delicate B-road machine the Evo X FQ-440 is not. It's as angry and antisocial as you'd like.

It's just a shame that the car's firm ride doesn't equate to the sort of body control that would these days become apparent at speed. While it feels sharp on the nose, the FQ-440's damping quickly runs out of answers when you really load it up, the mass of its large body seemingly too hard to control without second grabs from the shock absorbers. The Evo X pitches and dives on the power and brakes, so in comparison to the hunkered stance of younger performance machines, it's much less athletic. It even scuffs the front splitter over bumps when you're hard on the anchors, meaning you're somewhat encouraged to wind things back a notch or two.


Should you?

It might not be the on-the-limit hooligan those earlier WRC-influenced cars were, but the FQ-440's comparable youth does at least lend it a smartly laid out cabin that still manages to just about offer enough present-day functionality to feel modern. There's an infotainment system, USB port and Bluetooth, while the FQ-440-specific Recaro bucket seats lose no ground to the best of today's alternatives and the eight-speaker sound system adds exactly the right amount of Max Power to proceedings. All of that helps its cause as a car you might use regularly, even if the on-road performance - and scary intervals between services - suggest that it is better left to weekend duties.

If, in the unlikely case you can find one of the 40 FQ-440s for sale (the last one we Spotted was snapped up quickly in September), you'd need to be an Evo anorak to feel comfortable with its price. The cheapest we've seen on the classifieds is Β£35,000, but low mileage cars have gone for so much more that we reckon Mitsubishi's UK press car, number 40 of 40 and with only 7,000 miles on the clock, is easily worth more than Β£50k. That resistance to depreciation makes a high-quality FQ-440 about the same value as a new AMG A45 S, a car that has near identical performance credentials, better body control and the very latest tech fitted - not to mention a manufacturer warranty.

Viewed from another angle though (the one any likely Evo buyer would adopt) it has no real current-day rival in terms of history or character. Rather its rival are from the same manufacturer - where lower numbers in the generational pecking order far outweigh the FQ-440 in terms of handling charm. But it remains the quickest, silliest Evo - and for all its flaws, that's a designation well worth celebrating. And let's face it, If you're seriously and single-mindedly in the market for something like an Evo X FQ-440, then absolutely nothing else will do.


SPECIFICATION - MITSUBISHI EVO X FQ-440 MR
Engine:
1,998cc, inline-4
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 446@6,800rpm
Torque (lb ft): 412@3,100rpm
0-62mph: 3.8 secs
Top speed: 157mph
Weight: 1,590kg
MPG: 27
CO2: 240g/km
Price new: Β£50,000
Price now: c. Β£35,000-Β£50,000

Search for a Mitsubishi Evo X here









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Author
Discussion

gigglebug

Original Poster:

1,382 posts

69 months

Evolved

2,302 posts

134 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Love Evo’s, have had four and own one now but ever had the same desire to own the X.

The SST box would put my right off this straight away.

4g63, manual box, Ohlins, Alcons, PS4s and a stage 1 tune makes for a superb weekend fun car.

wab172uk

1,458 posts

174 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Somehow the Evo X never hit the same spot as the previous cars. The car looks heavy in it's design.

Auto gearbox would put me right off too.

Think the Evo X came out just as cars with similar performance joined the party, but were better everyday propositions without the bad boy image, and needing to be serviced every 3 days.

Plus, I was always on the Subaru side of the Jap Rally rep fence

aarondbs

676 posts

93 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I love an Evo having had the pleasure of an EVO VII. I also had a modded Subaru WRX in the distant past too. I, like a previous poster, never felt the X was as muscular and purposeful as the previous. I was always outwardly on the Subaru side but inwardly felt the VII better than my 2003 Subaru

Augustus Windsock

1,822 posts

102 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
For; performance and handling
Against; looks and gearbox
Sorry but I’d rather hunt out a mint, low miles Evo VI TME.
To me, it’s no different to Subaru, they had a sweet spot but the later cars moved further away from it.
Red corner or blue corner?
I’d have either but only in earlier versions I’m afraid...

lee_erm

823 posts

140 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
You could pick up a Nissan R35 GTR and go on a around the world holiday for the price of one of these.

Edited by lee_erm on Saturday 9th November 10:29

CooperS

3,855 posts

166 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I test drove a FQ-350 in blue with carbon fibre everywhere. Whilst it wasn't my cup of teal it was rapid in the wet driving out of Edinburgh. But low teen MPG and rather frequent service calls meant it was to pricey.

chunder

627 posts

193 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
For way under half that you could get a fully prepped monster V that would roast it on track or road, look better and potentially appreciate.

Then get something to commute with the change.

Well, that's what I did anyway but each to their own smile

Two Slips and a Gully

688 posts

39 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
lee_erm said:
You could pick up a Nissan R35 GTR and go on a around the world holiday for the price of one of these.

Edited by lee_erm on Saturday 9th November 10:29
wow, such valid points

cerb4.5lee

12,803 posts

127 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
An auto just doesn't seem right in a car like this for me. Loved all of the earlier generations of Evo though. cool

bitofayank

8 posts

16 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Always thought I wanted an Evo, due to grand tursimo, WRC rose glasses and the fact vape smoking flat brimmed drove WRXs. However now that I’ve grown up and can afford one, there are such better things to sit in these days. It would really only be a collectors car or a weekender...Or it’d belong in the insane daily driver thread

yonex

15,515 posts

115 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Surprised at the weight if this? 1600kg?

cerb4.5lee

12,803 posts

127 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
yonex said:
Surprised at the weight if this? 1600kg?
That does seem heavy and I guess the auto gearbox plays its part. I always thought that the earlier Evo's were around the 1400kg mark.

big_rob_sydney

2,373 posts

141 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I've no doubt its a beast, but look at the power to weight. 1600/440 = 3.63.

You could get an earlier version of rally rep (blue or red, either way), and at around 1300 kg, you only need 358 bhp to be in the same ballpark, which is very easy. And, you have a car that is lighter, which means it can handle braking duties with greater possible efficiency, along with being able to carry more corner speed before momentum flings you into the hedges.

And if you started with a WRX type RA at 1185kg, you only need 326 bhp. Tuners can easily exceed these figures, so if I'm really blunt, I dont see what the big deal is regarding its outright performance envelope. If anything, the argument here is around rarity, but then the problem is, the body is essentially the same as its underlying donor car, with minor tweaks, as is the engine.

This wont compare to a 22B, which had extensive body and engine tweaks, and was a direct copy of the 97 WRC, albeit it with a road focus and an engine that was 2.2 instead of 2 liters.

fido

14,215 posts

202 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Acceleration aside .. it has a top speed of 186mph (estimated). I wonder how many times this is repeatable, or if you have to service it again after the attempt.

FN2TypeR

6,373 posts

40 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
gigglebug said:
That has been sitting there for years, I always check to see if it has gone or not when I drive past

gigglebug

Original Poster:

1,382 posts

69 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
FN2TypeR said:
gigglebug said:
That has been sitting there for years, I always check to see if it has gone or not when I drive past
I’d spotted the add a while back but I’m can’t tell from it whether it has been for sale the whole time or not. The description makes it sound as if they have had it on display since new but only decided at a later date to put it up for sale. Maybe you would know one way or the other? It’s an interesting proposition for anyone who absolutely must have one but realistically how many folks is that likely to be? With the rapid progress of the power race in the small car segment the headline grabbing feature that this car possessed, when compared with it contemporary rivals, has all but been made redundant by it’s more modern equivalents, especially when you take it’s asking price into account. I still wouldn’t begrudge anyone buying though, I think that it looks ace personally.

Niffty951

1,786 posts

175 months

Sunday 10th November
quotequote all
Enjoyable read that. The writing style reminded me of an early EVO piece.

It's nice to get a sense of how it might feel without owning or driving one and that's how I feel about the car really too. I'd queue up for a passenger ride at a track day but don't really have a desire to own one.

I did love the light footed nature of the classic STi though. With a little boost increase it felt like surfing a wave of infinite power. The engine on boost just threw the car and contents down the road as if it has no weight and it would corner a quick S-bend like no other car I've encountered.

I'd love to steer an early EVO to compare, I imagine it being very similar.

EvoFQ440

1 posts

Sunday 10th November
quotequote all

I guess performance wise and for driving comforts, the FQ440 is the most desirable of the Evos.

My first car many, many years ago was the Tredia, a 1.6L turbo charged saloon which I kept for a few years until it fatally overheated after accidentally putting it into turbo mode while driving down the M3.

But by then I was wanting something a little quicker, having had the taste of what a 1.6L could do, so I upgraded to the Lancer 2000

Back in the day the Lancer was a little known box car; the Evo’s hadn’t yet arrived and only those few in the know showed any respect.

I fondly remember driving down the motorway only to find a rear driver, often in a Saab or RS Ford, flashing for me to move over; and when instead I would put my foot down; they would invariably back down after failing miserably to get past. After a few attempts, I would generally let them pass and I guess it was only when they finally went by that they would see the words Turbo 2000 on the front spoiler.

In the years after, the Evo’s came along and the 250BHP Lancer was no longer the competitor it used to be.

I have driven the FQ440, and while it’s a great car it doesn’t provide the same excitement; maybe it’s because there is no longer any point in putting your foot down. Anyone seeing the FQ440 MR badge and spoiler as they approach know exactly what they are up against; so there is no longer the thrill of the surprise.

Probably the best EVO’s are as most acknowledge, the 6.5 editions. They are lighter, more versatile and generally a better everyday experience.

Having said that, if I can’t have both, I would take the FQ440 and keep it safety in the garage for the occasional weekend outing.

tjlees

1,372 posts

184 months

Sunday 10th November
quotequote all
Evo TME or 7 are the ones to have imho.

This is costly bloatware, but still with the horrendous service and maintenance costs - at least it’s got a marginally bigger tank - always had to plan fuel stops when adventuring out with the evo 6 over a weekend.

Miss those jap firecrackers on trackdays making you feel like a driving god - well part from the service bills