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Headline:FastSaloons.com Evo FQ-330 Road TestDate:09/06/2004
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloons.com Evo FQ-330 Road Test  
 
 

FastSaloons.com
Review

 

Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-330



Our Thoughts
Will an Evo ever be too
powerful?

How quick is FQ?

Will the farmer mind that I've driven through his field?


 
   
 

Background

Mitsubishi announced towards the end of last year the introduction of a more powerful and well equipped model - The FQ-330 combined a couple of changes to the engine - an additional ECU and larger waste gate to increase turbo pressure to 1.4bar - liberating 20% more power. This was combined with different Ralliart-branded seats and satellite navigation in the form of SmartNav. The full details can be found HERE.

 

1st Impressions - Exterior Styling

 
 


Subtle colour, not so subtle car
The external appearance of the FQ330 is identical to that of the FQ300 we tested in September last year (click here). Identical is not entirely true - the car has FQ-330 badges on each front wing and the boot in place of similarly positioned FQ-300 badges.

Barring that the biggest difference for us was the colour. The light metallic blue colour is about as subtle as an Evo is ever going to be. It is markedly different to the bright yellow FQ300 we tested. Hiding a bright yellow Evo is nigh on impossible. In fact the closest I could come up with was in oil seed rape fields like the ones in some of the photos.

Hiding a light blue Evo is still a tall order but at least the font size is smaller when your 'shouting' down the road.

 

Interior Styling

 
 

Blue dials, blue seats and lots of toys
As mentioned briefly the interior is also pretty close to the FQ300's. However the Ralliart branded Alcantara seats certainly lift the cabin up a notch or two in the hard-core stakes. In addition to the looks they are really comfortable even on long journeys, furthermore they grip you and hold you firm regardless of the g-forces that the suspension and Mother Nature are imposing on you.

We weren't able to test the SmartNav system as it requires an integrated phone - however this system is offered in similar cars and drivers we have spoken to think the system works pretty well.

As normal the driving position, steering and gears are all good. The driver feels at one with the car almost immediately.

Trim levels and general cabin ambience are towards the basic end of the market. I'd kinda like to see someone go to town with the interior a little to see how many more people (from my kind of motoring - M5, E55, RS6, S-type R world) would defect. Perhaps a niche for someone to explore ?

 
 

Ride, Handling & Steering

 



330bhp and 'standard' suspension
As we said in the FQ300 review a stationary Evo is missing the point. Never more so is this true in the FQ330. The extra power needs no extra mechanics, tweaks, strengthening or electronics - the chassis can take it and more. Such is the evolution of this car.

In practice we found the car was more likely to provoke oversteer than the FQ300. Throwing the car at a corner you can actually feel the car push out the rear - the effect is amazing as the car powers through the corner maximizing grip and traction as it advances. The car feels very well balanced even when you try your damnedest to upset it.

The steering is very positive and you feel totally in control of the car regardless of the situation.

The brakes in this car were interesting and probably took the most time to get used to. There was very little pedal movement and the feel was extremely hard. To begin with I was actually starting to think something was wrong with them, although there was obviously not - based on the way the blurred scenery came rapidly back into focus. In fact once I got over the feeling, I completely forgot about it - the lack of pedal movement even diminished as my head recalculated my movement. Like most things in the car, stamping on the brakes results in abrupt and efficient loss of speed - no drama - just what it says on the tin - brakes stop car.

That leaves just one thing - the acceleration - boy does it do that. You only need to ask the TVR (T350c) driver about it. Like most responsible adults (do they actually exist?), I don't engage in childish behaviour on the road. However, my analytical mind does throw out questions from time to time, that I feel I really must answer. Such was the situation when I left my house one afternoon. I was sat at the end of one of the side roads, close to the house, waiting for a line of traffic to pass so that I could pull out onto the main road. In the line of cars was a pretty fantastic looking T350c, and my mind went in to motion….

So when eventually six or seven cars passed and I was able to join the main road, I made it my mission to join the TVR. Thanks to amble acceleration I was able to quickly position myself behind the TVR and started to look forward to a bit of open road. My patience was not tested very much and soon we were at a roundabout after which was a small stretch of dual carriageway. I ensured that Mr. TVR knew what I was planning, by following him a little closer than normal around the roundabout. What happened next was a grave mistake for him and a certainly impressive recommendation for anyone considering buying an Evo. As we exited the roundabout the passenger in the TVR lifted his hand out of the targa roof and waved goodbye to me. A few hundred yards down the road a bemused TVR driver looked through his rear view mirror at a light blue Evo still sat happily on his bumper. That was all I needed to settle the question in my head and so ended the experience. The TVR driver obviously was also happy to remove himself from the situation as he turned off at his first opportunity.

 

Engine, Gearbox and Performance

 
 


330bhp / 315lb ft from just 1997cc
Ecu and wastegate change = + 25bhp and +15 lb ft. That's 330bhp and 315lb ft torque. We haven't got the exact weight of the FQ330 but if you factor a weight c. 1410kgs (that of the FQ300) that gives an impressive 230bhp/tonne and 220lb ft/tonne.

Quoted 0-60 is 4.4secs but Autocar managed that in the FQ300 so that is conservative. We struggle to match Autocar figures but even though the best we could manage was a 5.28 seconds to 60, we were able to hit 100 in under 12 seconds - Thus setting the fastest FastSaloons.com roadtest time. Full figures listed below:

 
Acceleration0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80 0-90 0-100
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII FQ330 (VIII (12/03 - 04/04))
(4.4)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII FQ330 (VIII (12/03 - 04/04))
FastSaloons.com

(1.82)

(2.98)

(3.81)

(5.28)

(6.48)

(7.89)

(10.04)

(11.97)
*All FastSaloons.com stats are performed on private roads and repeated several times with the average displayed.

 

Practicality

 



She is a mistress who will spend all your money
in return for a great time - you have been warned !
We noted the excellent rear legroom resulting from the size of the car and the slim sports seats in our FQ300 test. Same applies here - as does the boot space.

Economy Mmmm - your really interested in that ? Ok well when we test the FQ300 we ranged between just over 10mpg (enthusiastic driving) and 25mpg for longer (more relaxed driving). So the FQ330 is not going to better that. I'd guess at 14mpg for fun driving and low twenties for longer runs.

Amusing stories seem to be the order of the day, so here is another one. I limped the car home with a very empty fuel tank (and no wallet), picked up the wallet and drove on air to the nearest petrol station. Put in £15 of Shells finest, set off home again, persuaded myself to take a little longer way back. Arrived home with the empty tank light on again - oh dear.

 

Conclusion

  Fantastic sports saloon - one of the very best. Epic amounts of acceleration, deceleration, grip, traction and poise. Create a refuelling system similar to that used by the air force for mid air refills and you could live your life in the car, forsaking all others.

Be realistic, the Evo is going to be a little rich on your pocket with its thirst and need for regular checkups. Accept this and in return you get a lot of thrills. In the FQ330 you are actually getting a bargain - the list price for the seats and the satnav alone is £3833.66. So asking £1,500 for that AND the increase in power is a bit of a no brainer.

There's some good news and some bad news about this car: Alas, the FQ330 has already been consigned to the archives as the new MR range is coming soon from Mitsubishi. So the good news is the car is always going to be limited in numbers. The bad news is there is always a new boy on the block, taking advantage of the increase in the standard cars power and badged FQ-340. Worse still, whispers have it that a VFQ model with 400bhp is also on the cards - albeit to only 30 lucky owners.
 
Neil
 
 
Related Links:

Mitsubishi Press Release for Evo VIII FQ-330

Our Review of the Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-300

Full Set of Photos taken during the test


Have your say about this review....In our Forums


Mitsubishi's UK website












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