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Friday, January 16, 2009


If there's one thing U.S.-based automakers do efficiently, it is the naming of their cars. Chevrolet Malibu, right? Add LT or some such thing, and you've got it. Even when it comes to more tightly wound and desirable cars, you're still bound by certain limits: Ford Shelby GT500. Meanwhile, a similarly timed introduction from the Germans results in the Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI Quattro. Seriously.

Then there's this from the British importer of Japanese products: the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-360. Preferably, that's shortened somewhat officially to be the Mitsubishi Evo X FQ-360. To anyone with any car knowledge, the Evo X FQ-360 would do. And yes, that FQ-360 is necessary. It's significance is nothing to sneeze at.

In the UK, Lancer Evo X buyers have the option of upgrading their 290-horsepower car by about £5,500 and gaining 34 horsepower. This bump takes you to the Lancer Evo X FQ-330. Note the title of this post - we're aiming higher. Spending a minimum of £8,000 more than the base price of an Evo nets you the 354-bhp FQ-360. 

Now, 0-62mph statistics aren't the only thing, but they do tell quite a story. The FQ-330 will chop about 3/10ths of a second from the base car's time. Another 3/10ths will fall by choosing the FQ-360. Fuel mileage, an absolutely terribly fantastically unimportant detail with Lancer Evo X buyers, suffers slightly with the FQ-360. It's probably no more than 2mpg in real world driving.

"Simply put, it's not the car we were hoping for," evo magazine said regarding the run-of-the-mill Lancer Evo X. The British magazine is not all about Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions, mind, and they're not all about horsepower either. So when the regular Evo X didn't impress as it should have, it was no guarantee that the FQ-330 or FQ-360 would either.

"Be in no doubt, when it comes to acceleration this Evo has lost none of the breed’s bare-faced aggression," wrote Roger Green. "Grip and traction levels aren’t just high, they’re faintly ridiculous, feeling utterly unshakeable even when you think you’re pushing hard.....The steering is light, particularly around the straight-ahead, and has lost a little in terms of detail compared to Evos of yore. The brakes too take a similar period of acclimatisation as there is little pedal travel and the huge Brembos bite hard." Ah, but Roger Green's final statement on the FQ-360 might take you by surprise.

"Overall, then, the FQ-360 is a qualified return to form. As a black-top warrior it resolutely gets the job done – there are gnarled roads where nothing will travel faster. But for us a few of those gritty teenage kicks are still missing. And that’s a shame." That's
evo's word, which basically means absolutely bang-on the money in these parts. How unfortunate.

Nevertheless, what Roger Green admitted to is a wonderful thing. The Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-360 will accelerate to 60mph in 4 seconds. With a carbon fiber chin spoiler and a vortex downforce generator with eight fins at the rear, 355mm Brembo brakes at the front of the car, and just 3,440 pounds (1,560 kg) to carry, the FQ-360 is surely capable, even if it has lost some of the old WRC-derived passion.

Oh, but the expense. Forget directly comparing UK prices with U.S. currency exchange - that's not the way automotive pricing works. Brits pay a lot for cars. Simply convering the base price of a UK Lancer Evo X to USD would result in an American paying $41,646, despite the fact that the Lancer Evo X lists for $33,685 in the States. Were the FQ-360 to be available in America, it figures that the £35,499 UK price (which converts to $51,869 today) would give an FQ-360 MSRP of about $45K. 

In other words, Canadians would pay about $56,000 for the privilege, about $15K up on the price of a basic Evo X. In Australia, where they pay the equivalent of £18,757 for basic Evo X privileges, one would assume the Evo X FQ-360 would be under $50,000 AUD. 

But hold on. You can register your interest for the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X FQ-400 at this official Mitsubishi UK page. Price? Too much.

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