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Mitsubishi Evo VIII MR FQ-400
We weren’t sure if the FQ-340 should have been RFQ-340.
With the FQ-400 perhaps it should have been AFB-400 Absolutely ‘flipping’
Will the FQ-400 prove a step to far, or just another
notch in Mitsubishi’s bed post ?
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Mitsubishi decided to build a car to celebrate it’s 30th birthday in the
UK, there was only really one car that could do them justice, and that
had to be the Lancer Evolution. So to celebrate they planned the
ultimate evolution of the evolution.
As a starting
point Mitsubishi used the MR FQ-320, a pretty impressive beast in the
first place. Extensive reworking of the engine meant they finally extracted
a massive 405bhp and 355lb ft out of the familiar 1997cc 4G63
On the road this equates to a 3.5 second
0-60mph time, 9.1 seconds to 100mph and a top speed in excess of 175mph.
It also means that the MR FQ-400 is not only the fastest Mitsubishi car
ever launched in the UK but it is also the fastest accelerating four-
door saloon car ever produced by a major manufacturer.
of engineers put together by Mitsubishi UK’s motor sport department
worked on the development of the FQ-400 over a six-month period. The
team comprised of specialist partners such as Rampage, Owen Developments
and Flow Race engines. The biggest challenge wasn’t to just get over
400bhp but to make it reliable enough to be used every day.
most significant change that was made was the addition of a new, bespoke
Garrett turbocharger that was designed by Owen Developments. Owen also
developed a cast stainless steel exhaust manifold and exhaust elbow.
To cope with the additional power the engine internals were
Omega forge pistons
HKS forged con rods
HKS steel head gasket (1.6mm)
Jan speed high flow sports
HKS head and big end bolts
High pressure fuel pump (Zytec ITP116)
HKS iridium spark plugs
The clutch was also upgraded in response to the cars extra
power. An Alcon competition derived (240mm) high clamp mode, heavy duty
clutch complete with a Cera-metallic 6 paddle sprung centred drive plate was the final configuration choosen.
Owen Developments were also responsible for retuning the Motec
ECU unit. The changes allowed for more precise control of the boost
levels, ignition timing and fuelling. In addition Owen also alter the
ECU so that it can be used as a data logger too. Everything from the engine speed
and temperature to the oil pressure can be stored and then used by
Mitsubishi engineers to offer diagnosis in the unlikely event of a problem.
The car’s only other
mechanical addition over the rest of the MR range is the addition of
some extra stopping power. To this aim the car gets Alcon 6 pot Monobloc
front brake callipers combined with 343mm (up from 320mm) twin piece
curved vein discs and Ferodo DS2500 brake pads. This not only gives the
car great anchors but also provides excellent feedback for the driver.
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1st Impressions - Exterior Styling
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I have seen two FQ-400s previously to the one
now sat outside my house. Both were at motor shows (MPH04 and
Autosport International) and both times I was seriously
affected by the looks. All Evos look a little Mad Max, but
this one really looks like an extra from the film. On the road
the effect is lessened slightly as you are able to view the
car from limitless angles, some which hugely flatter, some
|Mad Max to the Max
- Dark Grey, Black and Carbon fibre all round. |
For me the best angle is from the front,
thanks to the new carbon fibre lip spoiler which attaches to
the front apron of the car. This has two effects one to lower
the car and the other is to widen it. Either way it is a look
that suits the Evo.
One of the more contentious
changes for me is the use of the Ralliart aero mirrors. These
help smooth the airflow along the sides of the car but for me
don’t assist the looks department. If anything they look
like the mirrors have been tilted in when you parked and
you’ve forgotten to tilt them back out. Having said that
looking through them from the drivers seat is far more
enjoyable as it reminds you that you’re driving something a little
out of the ordinary, not that you’ll need any reminding.
The most obvious exterior change, besides the front
lip is the shark tooth roof spoiler. I have to confess I
wasn’t immediately aware of what it was and it’s use other
than looking cool and mean. Its use is a vortex generator,
basically it helps reduce drag and increases downforce. So now
you know. Not that I expected Mitsubishi to fit something for
reasons other than functionality.
The car gets gloss
black Team Dynamics alloy wheels. These are basically the same
wheels as found in the rest of the MR range but are
differentiated by the colour. As before they represent a 3.2kg
saving over the existing Enkie wheels.
is the addition of PIAA high performance light and wiper
upgrades. The wipers are a magnet for potential thieves thanks
to being finished in a carbon fibre effect and being badged
Ralliart. Again their performance is the main concern and both
So there are plenty of pointers for
people in the know. As for the rest of the population they can
look at the red FQ-400 badges on the front doors and bootlid.
The use of red, compared to black, again differentiates from
the rest of the MR range.
The car is available in
four colours: Gun Metal Grey, Cool Silver, solid Red and solid
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Inside there is very little to suggest the anniversary model.
In fact you’d be hard pressed to notice any differences at
all. The only real difference is that you get cloth recaro seats
with dimpled-effect ‘high-grip’ shoulder supports. The seats
themselves are badged Recaro and to my mind aren’t anywhere
near as attractive as the ones that are fitted to the
(which are a mixture of leather and Alcantra).
|Interior takes a
backward step from the FQ-340's |
all the Evos theres is a unique plaque on the centre console
below the gear stick. The car we tested was MR FQ-400 #002..
Personally if I was spending £14k more (than the FQ-
340) on my FQ-400 I’d have expected a more impressive
interior. I guess you could reassure yourself that Mitsubishi
spent all the money on performance – although it still left me
a bit cold.
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Handling & Steering
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There is a risk
of us beginning to sound boring in this section. Every Evo we
have tested the FQ-300, FQ-330, MR FQ-340 and this MR FQ-400
are absolutely untouchable in this area. No saloon car can
combine the amounts of grip, agility and general poise that
the Evos possess. Further more our own Evo VIII 260 which has
a slightly lower specification all round, is a totally
impressive machine that rewards and flatters all levels of
|Power is nothing
without an Evo Chassis |
I was however slightly worried what effect a
further 65bhp and 24lb ft would have on the cars ease of use.
I need not have worried though, and whilst the car is easier to upset it possess the
same levels of poise and even when you do over cook a
corner you never feel anywhere near panic. The car truly is
easy to drive, most people could cover ground faster in this
car. Given its performance that is a great tribute to the
underpinnings. So too is the fact that Mitsubishi only deemed
it necessary to upgrade the brakes. Everything else is as
found in the FQ-320.
Ride is on the
hard side, but not quite as hard as you’d expect. Certainly
not enough to disuade you from using the car, if anything the
gearbox and clutch would probably cause you to not drive it
There is a certain level of tram lining under hard
acceleration on uneven roads but this is never more than a
sensation as the car still reacts to your inputs.
steering is again like the rest of the range very direct. The
feeling is of a total connection between the driver and the
car. There are few cars that are this direct and it really
adds to the feel of the car. Given this cars performance it
can make the car feel edgy at speed and it requires subtle
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Engine, Gearbox and Performance
| || The
MR FQ-400 takes the familiar 1997cc 4-cylinder (4G63) engine
and adds a bespoke Garrett dual ball bearing turbocharger.
The full range of Evo engines :
clearly moves things into supercar territory pitted against
such exotica as a Porsche Carrera GT (3.9secs) or my personal
favourite a Pagani Zonda (3.7secs) or a hardly shabby BMW M3
(5.2secs). In this company the FQ400's sprint to 60mph in 3.5 secs is hugely impressive.
So too it’s 0-100mph time of 9.1secs Not to mention the (unrestricted) 175+mph top speed.
|405bhp and 350lb ft
3.5secs to 60mph and 9.1secs to 100mph
speed (without the limiter).
What’s more impressive though is what we described in the last section and something that TopGear clearly demonstrated
a few weeks back. In the programme Jeremy Clarkson pitted a FQ-400 against a Lamborghini Murceillago on their test
track and the two came away on very equal terms. No clearer demonstration is required.
Driving the car you get a mixture of stares, heckles - particularly off spotty teenage boys (actually not just
spotted variety), gawps and best of all looks of apprehension from drivers, driving cars that shouldn’t need to be
at all apprehensive. Porsche 911, Maserati Coupes and TVR in my own personal experience. Nobody took the car on,
all let it pass, respect was given.
So how fast is the car in the real world. First impressions were positive, although I couldn’t help feeling a bit
disappointed that I was still able to breathe. Having said that, get the gearing right especially from a
standstill and your eyes may water. It moves from being very fast to 'swear word' fast as you get into tune with the
gearing. That may sound like it’s all or nothing but its more gradual than you’d think there is no sudden arrival
of power. The car’s sweet spot is basically between 5 and 7k rpm, this is where the car erupts. Traction is definitely not a problem
but Mitsubishi’s claimed 0-60mph time of 3.5secs eluded us on the day and we only managed 4.6secs.
Full results :
FastSaloons.com figures are recorded over several runs with the average result taken. All tests carried out on
|Acceleration||0-10||0-20||0-30|| 0-40 ||0-50 || 0-60 || 0-70 || 0-
80|| 0-90 || 0-100 |
|Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII FQ400 (( 04
|Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII FQ400 (( 04
Aurally the engine sings with a deep voice, and is certainly the noisiest of the latest crop of evos. It’s bassy
voice barks out under acceleration and whilst still not as memorable as other engines it still will provide an
appropriate sound track to go with the in car thrills.
All is not perfect though. The gearbox is noticeably more notchy than previous Evos we have tested. In particular
selecting sixth gear often caused us trouble. Paired with this the Alcon clutch is not the easiest thing to live
with when driving around town. It had a high bite and as such can be awkward when in traffic, parking or generally
trying to manoeuvre at low speeds. At speed things become more acceptable although it still takes some getting used to.
As we have noted before the Evo VIII provides plenty of front and rear legroom and a decent sized boot.
Something that most of the cars that competes against the FQ400 would be hard pressed to come close to.
So you have a supercar in a practical body.
|Thirsty certainly, but not quite the George Best we were expecting.
Here we generally talk about fuel economy and alas Mitsubishi do not publish official figures for the FQ-340 let alone
the FQ-400. So the only numbers we can relate are those of the MR FQ-300 and MR FQ-320:
I was pleasantly surprised by the fuel economy; I’d put it about the same as the FQ-340. Certainly not in the 3-4mpg
bracket that Mr. Clarkson was suggesting. Even when we were pushing the car hard or doing a series of performance
tests, the needle didn’t suddenly drop. So again the FQ-400 appears to be a supercar without George Best’s thirst.
Mitsubishi have again honoured the same warranty period (3 years, although with the added stipulation of a limit of 36k
miles) and servicing interval of 4,500miles as the rest of the Evo range. A big step for Mitsubishi, given the
200bhp/tonne statistics and the likely abuse these cars will get. We were impressed with this on the FQ-340 to do
this on the FQ-400 is even more impressive.
Basically this conclusion must compare the car to it’s own siblings in particular the FQ-340 priced at £32.999.
This was a car that we loved and although it itself carried a £3,000 premium over the not-much less powerful FQ-320
we felt it was probably worth it. But an additional £14k ? The car has some external changes, numerous mechanical
changes, same underpinnings, and no internal changes and of course substantially more power.
Whether the FQ-400 is worth the premium over the FQ-340 is going to be a pretty irrelevant point. People who will buy this
car will want the fastest. At £47k it has rivals in all shapes and sizes, buying such a basic car will require someone
who is a real enthusiast. It’s not clear to me who will buy it, or how many Mitsubishi will sell of the limited run of 100
cars. Either way it will continue to be a rare site on the road. Was there a good business case for the car ? I’d like
to see it. Does this car sum up Mitsubishi’s unique approach to performance cars? Hell yeah. Who else sells five very
fast versions of the same car? Even Mercedes can only muster three (S55, S600, S65). The FQ-400 is a halo car for
a range of car that doesn’t really need one. It is a fingers up, celebration of Mitsubishi cars. We love it for that,
would we buy one ? Probably not, the ‘standard’ 260 and the far from standard FQ-340 are as much car as you’ll ever
really need on the road.
As for classic TV moments an FQ-400 all over a Lamborghini lap after lap will rate very high on my favorite list. Another
classic is the feeling you get at a traffic lights, looking over at someone in a supercar and seeing them visibly
wince. Whether that alone is worth £47k it’s getting pretty close…
One last thing if you do decide to buy one, Mitsubishi are providing a free of charge driver training course at a
series of test tracks throughout the UK. To make sure owners can safely make the most of the cars super-performance.
Supercar drivers you have been warned.