Monday, 30 January 2012 5:10 PM
Road rage can be a problem on roads today and there have been some horrific stories.
But believe it or not a tonic to this could be the magnificent Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-300. It’s like a thug of the road - every motorist treats it with absolute respect - knowing its capabilities all too well and consequently they keep a very respectful distance.
Could it be an unmarked police vehicle? You never know these days. No more 4x4s sitting on your tail that’s for sure as the drivers notice a chunky exhaust pipe on either side at the rear. But of course the driver has to resist the temptation to sit on the tail of the car in front…
The only other concern is that this highly desirable motor could be a target for thieves. However, there are so few Evos about that it surely wouldn’t be too hard to find again.
To put this sub-£40,000 brute in perspective it will hit 60mph from standstill in just five seconds placing it in AMG Mercedes, BMW M-series and even the £240,000 Bentley Continental GTC turbo territory.
As with the above it’s when the 2-litre turbo, 290bhp Evo is stuck behind a tractor, a lorry and a dithering old age pensioner that it really comes into its own. It doesn’t matter that there’s a bend approaching because the acceleration is so awesome that it will propel you in complete safety. “It’s like a scolded cat,” retorts a work colleague. He’s not wrong. Push the accelerator down and aside from the massive adrenalin rush the landscape suddenly becomes a blur, too.
The force generated is comparable to taking off in an aircraft, pushing the driver (and occupants) right back in their seats. That’s without engaging sports mode! The all-wheel drive Evo ensures that the magnificent power range is equally distributed each wheel, while Brembo brakes competently stop it when required. There are tarmac, gravel and snow functions, too. No surprise that this is one of the most successful rally cars alongside the Subaru Impreza.
A smooth six-speed auto allows the driver to concentrate on the road but for added driving pleasure there are very easy to use paddleshifts. Pleasingly there’s a traditional handbrake - for complete control - rather than a switch as is often the case these days. As with most muscle cars the Evo is limited to 155mph.
Surprisingly you don’t need to drive this vehicle fast to thoroughly enjoy it, though. Cruise around town and the tone of the exhaust and its eye-catching design is enough to stop any passer-by in their tracks. Its rakish, purposeful and imposing looks mean that the Evo has immense road presence as it rumbles along and generates many lustful looks from other motorists, too.
It tackles the motorway with ease and longer journeys improve fuel economy. Surprisingly there’s no cruise control but it doesn’t matter, you have to be light with your right foot because if you’re not you’ll lose your licence.
It is suffice to say that an Evo driver sitting in their incredibly comfortable and supportive bucket seat feels as safe and secure as possible knowing that they are in a highly capable sports car. That rocket-like power doesn’t need to be used but just knowing that it’s there is comforting. You know that it will get you out of trouble if required.
Strangely when the Evo’s ignition is turned off the engine continues to run on for a little while afterwards but this adds to its character.
Parkers, the car experts, write: “The Mitsubishi Lancer is best known when it’s in high performance Evo guise, but these models usually overshadow the standard model.” True, but what Parkers should have said was that the Evo overshadows every car known to man!
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X FQ-300
0-60mph: 5 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Economy: 26.2mpg (quoted combined)