Tuesday, 1 March 2011

ASBO-lutely Brilliant

 The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST, an impressive name for an impressive car.

Make no mistake; with a name like this the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST is no ordinary Evolution. Yes it has been refined and designed to cope with everyday life but you know deep down it's still a hooligan with an ASBO waiting to be unleashed. The Evo X has been down the gym, its bulked up and meaner than the previous 9 generations of Evolution. It's also graduated with a master’s degree and has more technology packed inside than NASA HQ (well almost)!

Equipment levels are impressive with a hard disk drive (HDD) Satellite navigation system, Rockford Fosgate audio system / music server and Bluetooth telephone connection. Gone are the days of a basic cabin with a couple of bucket seats and an aftermarket audio system.

The Evo X is as solid on the inside as it looks on the outside.
The famous rear spoiler is still there, extra vents on the bonnet and wheel arches to allow cooling of the engine and brakes. The styling certainly isn't there for show, they really do the business.

When you start up the Evo X the engine has a lovely burble, the twin exhaust pipes sing away, even Pavarotti would be proud.

The engine is new, the 4B11 turbocharged unit is still oozing with testosterone but provides so much more torque lower down the range making cruising so much easier compared to the legendary 4G63 monster.

This particular Evo X is fitted with a TC-SST gearbox (Twin Clutch-Sports Shift Transmission) and uses two clutches, one to engage the gear in use and the other to pre-select the next gear required, which in short results in rapid gear changes. The car can be driven using the magnesium paddles on the steering wheel (so your hands don't have to leave the steering wheel - perfect for a track day), using the manual shift gear lever (+ / -) or as a full automatic. In automatic you can select between normal, sport and super sport modes. Normal would be for everyday use, sport lets the engine rev higher between shift points and changes gear even quicker. Super sport would be used for a track, the gear changes are ridiculously quick and the revs never drop below 4,500 rpm meaning you are bang on the power no matter what gear you are in. The TC-SST even has launch control, ideal for that start line launch at the track.

So the engine and gearbox are fantastic but what's the car really like to drive? Well it's exactly as you would imagine. Treat it with respect and drive sensibly it can be used for everyday family use. It's big, it's spacious, it feels so planted on the road, very safe. Now drive it like you stole it, it's a very different car! The acceleration is rapid, mountains of torque low down and the turbo power delivery is exceptional. It's scary how fast those numbers on the speedometer shoot up. You need a track or a private road to get the best out of this car.

Then there is the handling. Oh my god, this thing has more grip than a rock climber up Mount Everest.

So what makes the handling so good? The Evo X has a super stiff body with lightweight panels including the roof, bonnet and wings which make the centre of gravity lower. The car has a wider track than previous evolutions along with a stiffer and lower suspension setup. The Evo X has Super-All Wheel Control (S-AWC). S-AWC comprises of an Active Centre Differential (ACD), Active Yaw Control (AYC), Active Stability Control (ASC) and Anti Lock Braking system (ABS). All these electronic and mechanical devices keep the car glued to the road under the most extreme conditions. You would be crazy to push the car to its limits on the public road; it really has that much grip. I would only turn off the S-AWC on a track for when you want some serious sideways action!

The Evo X is absolutely brilliant. It exceeds everything a car should be capable of and impresses every time. You will struggle to have more fun with your clothes on. The Evo X really is FQ.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR FQ-330 SST is now only £32,699.

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