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First Drive: Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII MR FQ-400 - on sale now

Mitsubishi

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Review

Two words – dogs’ twitchers. They could end this road test report here. The Evo FQ-400 is that good. Built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Mitsubishi in the UK, the FQ-400 is the epitome of the Evo ethos – fast, mean and menacing. If Mad Max were remade for 2005, the Toecutter would undoubtedly be driving this version of the Lancer.

With 405bhp the acceleration is almost unfathomable and the Evo just asks, practically demands, to be revved to the limit.

What is even more impressive is that it just seems to get quicker and quicker, so much so that you will have to remind yourself – and your customers – that there is an enforced speed limit in this country.

Motorways can be dangerous ground, too: 80mph feels about 30mph, despite the big bore exhaust howling away underneath you, and it’s all too tempting to depress that right pedal and find yourself wondering why other cars are moving out of your way.

But the Evo is all about real driving, country lanes and twisting B-roads, and this is where it comes into its element. It’s one of those cars that can outdo your own level of bravado, and despite it’s unnervingly good grip and superb handling, still demands some respect, particularly in the wet.

The pin-point precise steering is possibly the best around and together with the lovely slick gearbox and ultra stiff suspension this is a car that lets you be Harri Rovanpera for the day.

In terms of looks the FQ-400 has subtle differences over the next quickest Evo, the FQ-340. A new carbon fibre front lip spoiler, Ralliart aero mirrors and unique ‘sharks teeth’ rear vortex generator fins – designed to reduce drag and increase downforce – are the main differences.

With just 100 being produced for the UK, owners are assured of exclusivity. At the time of writing, Mitsubishi already had 56 orders, without any test drives, which illustrates the Evo’s cult status.

At just under £47,000 it isn’t cheap, but once you’ve driven one you’ll understand.

Strengths:Insanely quick, fantastic grip and handling
Weaknesses: None – it’s almost perfect
Opportunity:Limited production ensures exclusivity
Threat: Potential licence loser
The USP: The best Evo ever
Price: £46,999
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 405bhp, 355lb-ft
Transmission: 6spd manual
Performance: 0-62mph 3.5sec; 0-100mph 9.1sec; top speed 175mph+
Efficiency: TBA
CAP RV (30k/3yr): £17,600 (38%)
Rivals: Subaru Impreza WRX STi WR1, BMW M3, Mercedes C55 AMG, Noble M12, TVR Tuscan

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