It’s been four years since Mitsubishi finally ended production of the Evo X, and now it seems like the firm might go a whole lot further than that. In a move to cut costs by reducing spend in low profit areas, Mitsubishi is freezing all European launches indefinitely. The brand’s market share in Europe is just one per cent, versus 6.4 per cent in South East Asia, and UK sales are dominated by the Outlander PHEV.
It’s a stark contrast to its halcyon days, when WRC success made a celebratory of its otherwise humdrum saloon. The Evo X arrived eight years after Mitsubishi's dominant period when Citroen and Sébastien Loeb were the undisputed hero-force of international rallying, but the car was still dining out on the specialness of the previous era. The same cannot be said for any Mitsubishi branded model today. Which is a shame.
Back in 2007, though, memories of the glory days were still fresh, and even with the shine gone, the Evo X still turned up with plenty to get us excited. A 300hp output from Mitsu’s 4B11T Turbo four-pot in the days before such engines were two-a-penny was a good place to start, but it was when the motor was tuned up that it really started to turn the nation's head. The unit formed the base for the UK-only FQ-440 that is still more potent than AMG’s 416hp A45 S super hatch, albeit as a machine limited to just 40 cars.
Unsurprisingly, bagging one of those specials now will cost you a pretty penny – and that’s if you can find one. They’re few and far between, although we Spotted an FQ-440 last year for £36k. Despite the obvious investment potential, that’s a lot of cash for a used Japanese saloon, but lesser variants like the FQ-360 can be had for more than ten grand less. And they pack contemporary super-hatch punch into a body that still proudly wears a big rear wing and large front splitter to signal its potency. The Evo X might lack the historical status of earlier generations, but you’d never mistake one for anything else.
The FQ-360 was also the car that reignited the Evo range after a steady start for the heavier X generation. The four-cylinder got an HKS breathing kit, new fuel pump and remapped ECU as part of the improvements, with a five-speed manual the standard gearbox and a six-speed SST auto the option. Both transmissions came with ultra-tight ratios, ensuring a 4.1 second 0-62mph time from the all-wheel drive bruiser and its aluminium block motor. Performance was – and still is by 2020 standards – rapid, with that driveline matched by tremendous mechanical grip.
With Mitsubishi’s image having steadily shifted from rally and offroad to PHEV, Evos of all generations are even more of an enthusiast’s choice than they were in the firm's heyday. But the handy thing about an Evo X is just how well specced they are; this 20,000-mile-old FQ-360 gets all of the kit you need alongside a whole heap of real-world practicality . That, coupled to the fact it can still be a brilliantly exciting place to cover distances with little more than a half open throttle, should make the £25k asking price easy to justify for an Evo aficionado. Plus, you'll remind people why Mitsubishi is worth remembering if the manufacturer chooses to exit the country entirely.
SPECIFICATION | MITSUBISHI EVO X FQ-360
Engine: 1,998cc four-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 360@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 363@3,500rpm
First registered: 2011
Recorded mileage: 20,000
Price new: £35,499
Yours for: £24,950
1 / 3