It's getting tricky to say anything new or particularly useful aboutEvos. They've been around a long time, they're not going away, and theyjust keep on getting quicker. This incarnation is the (take a deep breath) 'Mitsubishi Lancerevolution IX FQ-360', the latest in a long, long line of certifiableJapanese super saloons. There's some forgotten rally heritage in there somewhere, butessentially what you get from any Evo these days is a heavilybe-spoilered version of a shit-awful Japanese three-box saloon, withperformance to blunt even the most capable of supercars. The FQ-360 (£35,504) is a development of the limited run FQ-400 thatappeared a couple of years ago. Slightly less power, but more torque,borrowing vital technological brainwaves from the overstretched 400 tocreate a devastatingly quick, but hopefully more useable, road car. Does it work? Of course it does. God, it would be great if one dayMitsubishi made an Evo that was all over the shop, or just really,really slow. Then there'd be something new to say. But no, this is the real deal again, the magnet for press hyperbole andpolitically iffy quips about the Japanese. A car that is somind-boggling responsive on the throttle, flat in the corners andgrippy on any and every surface that it's nigh on impossible not todrive it hard.
At least we can tell you what has changed from the last-in-the-lineEvo, the 340. Power has climbed to 366bhp and torque to 363lb ft at areasonably low 3,200rpm. This has been achieved through borrowing theFQ-400's high-pressure fuel pump and a high-flow catalytic converter. The upshot is a car you can burble around town in relatively sedately,or even cruise a country route without making your passengers sick intheir laps. But you won't, because it's still all there for the taking, and thesecond you flick for a gear or go anywhere near the gas, you lose anyconcern for tractability and start hankering for four feet of flame onthe overrun as you absolutely nail it. And you sort of have to, now that you've got a carbon-fibre chinspoiler and 'shark's tooth' rear vortex generator. People just expectit of you, and there's no point being treated like a total prick byevery other road user if you're not going to have the guilty pleasureof driving like one. Buy it, love it, go to jail.