2007 Mitsubishi Lancer FQ-360
The Brits have developed a penchant for tuning Mitsubishi Evos. Two years after the official importer indulged us with a 400hp FQ-400 version of the Evo VIII, it's back with a 366hp version of the Evo IX. The FQ-360 (FQ really does stand for f*cking quick) was developed by Mitsubishi UK's tuning division, Ralliart, costs the equivalent of $66,700 and is sold with a proper warranty.
The transition from 406hp to 366hp might initially seem like a retrograde step, but there's method in the madness. By pursuing outright power, the engineers compromised the FQ-400's driveability and the 360 is a bid to right that wrong. "With this car, we wanted to deliver the best possible driving experience, rather than concentrating on a headline-grabbing power output," says Ralliart's Paul Brigden.
This is reflected in the dyno figures. The FQ-360's peak torque output of 363lb-ft is 8lb-ft better than that of the FQ-400 and it's produced 2200rpm lower down the rev range at 3200rpm. The FQ-360 delivers 80hp and 74lb-ft more than a stock US-market Evo IX.
Against the clock, the FQ-360 is slightly slower than the 400: zero to 60mph takes 3.9 seconds instead of 3.5. But in the real world, the difference is marginal. Not only is the 360 more tractable than the 400, it is also massively faster than a stock car. Above 3000rpm, this car's thrust is otherworldly. You flex your right foot, hang on to the Momo wheel and let the horizon come to you.
The Bilstein-developed suspension is unchanged, which is no bad thing. The Yokohama Advan AO46 tires have little trouble dispensing the extra power, at least in the dry, and the brakes still feel up to the job. UK cars also get the full complement of computerised trickery, including Super ABS, Super Active Yaw Control (AYC) and an Active Center Differential (ACD). Unconcerned by the increase in performance, these systems continue to help rather than hinder the enthusiastic driver. It's difficult to think of another car that uses high technology so well.
Styling revisions amount to a carbon fiber chin spoiler, a carbon rear vortex generator and some Speedline alloy wheels that mimic those of the tarmac-spec rally car. Officially, these are designed to help generate downforce and reduce unsprung mass, but in reality they're more about helping FQ-360 owners differentiate their cars in the eyes of the Evo cognoscenti.
Interior changes are even more modest. Look hard and you'll spot the Ralliart Sports Meter Kit that occupies the spot below the stereo. Three dials display battery voltage, turbo boost pressure and, most usefully, oil temperature. All are welcome.
The FQ-360 represents the dying embers of the original Evo concept. Soon the UK will receive the subtly (very subtly) tweaked Evo IX MR, but then attention will focus on the all-new Evo X, which will debut at the Tokyo show in October. In 10 years' time, people will look back on the FQ-360 as the finest example of a fabled breed.
|2007 Mitsubishi Evo IX FQ-360|
|Estimated Price||35,539 ($66,700)|
|Engine Displacement/Type/Valvetrain||1997cc, in-line four, aluminum block and head, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, MIVEC variable valve timing, turbocharged and intercooled|
|Claimed Crank HP||366hp @ 6887rpm|
|Claimed Crank Torque||363lb-ft @ 3200rpm|
|Drivetrain/Layout/Transmission||Transverse front engine, four-wheel drive, six-speed manual|
|Curb Weight||2775 lb|
|Weight Distribution (F:R)||61:39|
|Suspension (Front/Rear)||MacPherson strut with inverted Bilstein shock absorbers, anti-roll bar/multi-link with Bilstein shock absorbers, anti-roll bar|
|Brakes (Front/Rear)||12.8-in. vented discs, four-pot aluminum calipers/11.8-in. vented discs, two-pot aluminum calipers (Brembo)|
|Wheels (Front/Rear)||17x8 aluminum|
|Tires (Front/Rear)||235/45ZR17 Yokohama ADVAN AO46|