The writing was on the wall for the Lancer Evolution by the time the tenth-generation car came about in 2007. With a financial crisis on the horizon and soaring petrol prices, manufacturers were turning their backs on affordable performance cars for eco appliances and crossovers (sound familiar?). Some carmakers, such as Porsche, managed to strike the right balance to offset the cost of producing fun stuff. But Mitsubishi decided it wanted to be a ‘normal’ car company and, as a result, the tenth-gen Evo would be its last.
Thankfully, the Lancer Evolution was sent off with a series of specials that would see Mitsubishi throw everything it had at the sports saloon. Most of these, remarkably, would be reserved for the UK market, something Japanese carmakers don’t often do. A run of FQ cars saw power outputs rise, more aggressive bodywork and the odd carbon fibre element thrown in, too. Then, in 2014, Mitsubishi chose to mark its 40th anniversary in the UK by releasing the most extreme Lancer Evolution it would ever make – the FQ-440 MR.
Again, released exclusively in the UK (lucky us), the FQ-440 MR did what the Lancer Evolution did best and gave far more expensive rivals a run for their money. The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor remained up front, though its maker managed to extract a frankly ridiculous 446hp (223hp per litre!) and 412lb ft of torque from it in part thanks to a new HKS turbo. With power going to all four wheels, the 0-62mph sprint could be dispatched in 3.8 seconds, faster than an F80 BMW M3 and a Mercedes-AMG A45. This was achieved via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic, which we found a bit clunky at lower speeds when we drove the press car not so long ago – but it does the job of egging you on to open up the taps.
It was more focused than before, too. The front and rear ends were lowered by 35mm and 30mm respectively courtesy of new Eibach springs. Bigger Alcon brakes were also fitted, sat behind a set of forged 18-inch BBS wheels. That’s of course synced up with the firm’s Super-All Wheel Control, which does an immense job of managing torque across each wheel to give you face-melting grip in the corners. Granted, this generation of Evo wasn’t particularly communicative, but all you had to do was hang onto the steering wheel and let the active diff figure out how best to keep you from the hedgerow.
Cosmetic updates were light, with an extended carbon fibre front splitter, a thin carbon lip on the rear spoiler and a 996 Turbo-style quad exhaust system at the rear by Janspeed setting the FQ-440 MR apart from the rest of the Evo X range. Oh, and you could only get them in one colour: Frost White. With only 40 being produced, the FQ-440 MR is exceptionally rare and finding one on the used market can be tricky. Needless to say, there are currently two available in the PH classifieds.
Given that these were already heavily tuned from the get-go – and that they cost £50,000 new in 2014 – a fair chunk of FQ-440 MRs remained stock. The only noticeable tweaks on today’s spotted appears to be the orange lip around the wheels and an upgraded infotainment system. Mileage is incredibly low at 10,000 and the interior looks immaculate, even if the design itself hasn’t aged as gracefully as some of its rivals. Okay, we’re stalling a bit, because that price is, well, £64,995. Take inflation into account and it’s still a fair increase over its original price, but that just goes to show how strong values in Japanese performance cars are at the moment. And as this is one of the rarest and most powerful Lancer Evolutions of all time, let alone one of the last, it could well prove a decent investment. Just be sure to let it off the lead from time to time.
SPECIFICATION | MITSUBISHI LANCER EVO X FQ-440 MR
Engine: 1,998cc four-cylinder
Transmission: 6-speed dual-clutch automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],800rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],100rpm
Year registered: 2014
Recorded mileage: 10,000
Price new: £50,000
Yours for: £64,995