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Headline:FastSaloons.com Mitsubishi Evo IX FQ-320 reviewDate:02/02/2007
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).OurRoadTests
   
Review:FastSaloons.com Mitsubishi Evo IX FQ-320 review

 
 

FastSaloons.com
Review

 

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX FQ320



Our Thoughts
All things Evolve, but can Mitsubishi's Evo improve any further ?
 
   
 

Background

One of our favourite cars here at FastSaloons is the Mitsubishi Evo. It never fails to impress not just in its ferocity but also with its balance and general ease of use. There are only a few cars that can compete with these credentials and precious few can be bought for a similar cost.

The last Evo we drove was the Evo VIII MR and in particular the spectacular 400, a car created for just the UK market and a real flight of passion with out-and-out performance ambitions.

In comparison the new IX that weíre testing here boasts a number of Ďevolutionsí. The one that weíre most interested in, is not visible but itís the heart of the car, the new MIVEC engine.

MIVEC effectively matches the inlet valve timing to the engine speed and load. This in turn improves the engines breathing at high revs whilst also stabilising the combustion process at lower revs. The later helps both efficiency (3% improvement in economy) and probably more important to our readers the throttle response.

In addition has also revised the turboís diffuser. Experience gained from the rally cars has shown that by lengthening the diffuser helps boast low-end torque and in turn provides a measurable (10%) improvement in engine responsiveness throughout the rev range.

A final mechanical change over the MR VIII is shorter rear springs. This was found to to give the rear better grip and also improve the effectiveness of the Super AYC (active yaw control) both of which mean better cornering stability.

For the record Mitsubishi sold 2,400 Evo VIII and Evo VIII MR Cars between May 2003 and June 2005. A high target for the IX to match.

Exterior Styling

Those not intimately familiar with the Evo VIII may miss the complete list of changes that have been made to the exterior of the Evo IX. To assist you and help preserve your eyesight here is a summary of all the changes:

 


Subtle changes keep the very familiar Evo looks
At the front, the bumper has been altered to improve airflow (Note: even the familiar Mitsubishi bonnet badge has been changed to help this). In particular and probably the aspect that you will readily notice is the addition of circular intakes for the intercooler. These are placed on either side of the front air dam and are quite striking. Also revised are the light clusters.

From the rear, a new diffuser has been added to the bottom of the bumper. Again this is reasonably eye catching and of course has a practical purpose of controlling the air flow underneath the car. This assists the cars general aerodynamics. It of course provides visual links to the rally cars. The carbon fibre rear wing has also been revised and is now hollow helping to reduce the cars weight. To coordinate with the new front light clusters the rear ones have also been changed.

Side-on, the car gets new Enkei 5-spoke alloy wheels.

 

Interior Styling

  To anyone who has seen the interior of any recent Evo, there are no surprises to be found in the IX, In fact very little has changed.

Mitsubishi have made measures to increase the cars refinement and general live-ability. To achieve this they have increased the density of the dash silencer and also added double-sealing weather strips to the doors.

 

Interior remains virtually the same as the outgoing VIII
For me the Evo is a great place to be for the driver. (I might struggle with this opinion if I was living with the car day to day). However the rest of the car is so good, that as long as youíre moving at least, you wonít spend too long mulling over the deficiencies of the cars interior. Itís all there (air con, electric windows, CD etc.) but itís not the greatest quality interior.

In some ways Iíve often wondered whether there is a market for a company offering high-end interiors for Evos and Imprezas but Iím not sure. One things for sure, at least you know your moneys been spent where it matters.

Finally, I must admit I didnít read about the sound improvements until after I had driven the car and I have to admit the car did feel a little more grown up. Whether this is down to the noise insulation or a result on the characteristics of the new engine I canít really say.

It wouldnít be one of my Evo reviews if I didnít chastise Mitsubishi for the comedy speedo Ė They could have at least put a magnifying glass in front if so you could stand a chance of being able to read it !

 
 

Ride, Handling & Steering

 
 



Super responsive chassis and steering
Here more than anywhere does the Evo distance itself from any and all its rivals. Put simply no car flatters the driver (and you can include me here) as much as an Evo. It is so easy to drive this car fast, hard and sideways. It is such a forgiving and helpful car when it comes to handling. You really feel like the car knows what you are trying to do. This feeling equates to driver confidence and as such makes this such a compelling A-to-B car.

Ride surprisingly is good, you donít feel you are compromising comfort for the benefit of handling. Ok, its not a Citroen, but its also not as bone jarring as many other cars.

Steering is another area we love about the Evo. It is both very quick and also reassuring, you again feel that the cars knows what you want and gives you the feedback you need to achieve it.

 

Engine, Gearbox and Performance

  Here I feel is the biggest change between the Evo VIII and Evo IX. The car has more torque, better engine response and as a result it is more driveable. It is always difficult to recall individual drives weeks or sometimes months after youíve driven a car. Not helped by driving others in the intervening time. But my overriding impression of the FQ-320 is that it felt even quicker that the MR 400. On paper it isnít but certainly through the seat of my pants it felt it.

 


FQ320 has 326bhp and 305lb ft. MIVEC Engine the most flexible yet.
The FQ-300 is the entry level Evo. As the 260 model has been dropped. The car has 305bhp @6950 rpm and 297lb ft @ 4,400rpm. 0-62mph takes c. 4.7seconds, top speed (the same for all Evo IXs) is 157mph, and is electronically limited.

The car we are testing, the FQ0-320 makes up the middle model. It has 326bhp @ 6,700 rpm and 305 lb ft @ 4,300rpm. 0-62mph takes c. 4.5 seconds. In order to achieve the additional 21bhp and 7 lb ft Mitsubishiís UK Ralliart division, in conjunction with tuning speciailists HKS altered the induction pipe, revised the intercooler piping and added a new exhaust and down pipe.

The final launch model is the FQ-340 boasting 345bhp @6,800rpm and 321 lb ft @4,600rpm. 0-62mph takes just c. 4.3secs. The only change made to the car over and above the FQ-320 is to remap the ECU.

Those interested in other changes made to the new engine are:

1. Addition of temperature and pressure sensors in the intake manifold (this improves the precision of the air/fuel charge flow and ignition timing)
2. Enlarging the cylinder head water galleries
3. Switch to long reach spark plugs
(Note; 2+3 help reduce the wall surface temperature in the combustion chamber)
4. Change from 2 to 3-piece piston rings (this reduces the oil consumption by c. 10%)
5. Cylinder head cover changed and now made of a more heat resistant material.


This list of changes above was made predominantly to enhance the engine reliability and durability.

In 2006 Mitsubishi UK launched a further model the FQ-360. A car that takes on much of the previous FQ-400ís styling and boasts very impressive figures of 366bhp @ 6887rpm and 363lb ft @ 3200rpm. 0-60mph takes just 3.9secs. The changes made to this car include a HKS tuning kit and a further revised ECU. We'll be posting our review of this car on the site soon.

 
 

Practicality

  The Evo is a surprisingly practical car in terms of usable space both in the car and in the boot. Boot space has been increased over the VIII by the introduction of a tyre inflation kit in place of the space saver wheel. This also helps reduce weight.

 

A proper five seater with a decent boot
As mentioned elsewhere changes made to the car improve economy and lower emissions.

Official figures for the FQ-320 are 16.4mpg (urban), 26.3mpg (extra urban) and 21.6mpg (combined). Emissions wise the car emits 334g/km.

Normal Mitsubishi warranty covers the car although it does need to be serviced every 4,500 miles.

Oh - You may go through tyres quite quickly too.

 

Conclusion

  For many the Evo is a hoodlum, driven about by nutters. Those who take time to drive the car will appreciate that it is far more. So, the lack of a super comfy interior may put others off. Or perhaps others will be put off by the running costs - fuel, servicing, tyres, brake pads etc. is a worry. If you can overlook all these then the Evo is truely a super car for normal money.

It's rivals are hard to identify as it punches well above its weight in terms of performance. In fact the FQ320's only obvious rival is the limited edition Subaru Impreza RB320 (created in memory of Richard Burns, World Rally Champion, who died after battling Brain Cancer in November 2005 aged 34) which has less power (316bhp) but more torque (332lb ft) and costs £29,995.

Other super saloons are the Audi RS4, Mercedes C55 AMG or perhaps the new BMW M3, which should make a reappearance in saloon form later this year, offer luxury at the expense of rawness and so aren't really the giving the same experience.

We're glad Mitsubishi continue to produce the Evo - it really is a great car and if you like fast cars, you've got to consider it.

Price wise the FQ-320 sneaks just under the 30k mark at £29,999, It's little brother the FQ-300 costs £27,999, It's bigger brothers; the FQ-340 and the limited edition FQ-360 cost £32,999 and £35,539 respectively.

 
Neil
 
 
Quick Section Links:         
1. Background
2. Exterior Styling
3. Interior Styling
4. Ride, Handling and Steering
5. Engine, Gearbox and Performance
6. Practicality
7. Conclusion

Related Links:         



Our review of the Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-400




Our review of the Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-340




Our review of the Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-330




Our review of the Mitsubishi Evo VIII FQ-300



Full Set of Photos taken during the test


Video we took during the test you can view it on
YouTube or Google
Mitsubishi's UK website

Richard Burns Foundation

 2781

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