Is the £552,000 Prodrive P25 the ultimate Subaru Impreza rally car?
Drink in the spec – and look – of this motorsport spec tarmac rally restomod. Is it worth half a thousand?
Until now, restomods have been mostly cultured and stylish cars from the 1960s. Well, here’s a big shot in the eyes of the 1990s. Prodrive has unveiled its ultimate version of the legendary Subaru Impreza 22b. Discover the P25.
‘P25’, because the Oxfordshire-based race car maker will only build 25, and because it was built to celebrate 25 years since Subaru first won a championship stage of the rally world – with a team led by Prodrive, of course. The company has orchestrated Subaru’s three WRC titles to date, and now we’re getting a road car built with that level of expertise. Delicious.
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The P25 is based on the three-door body of the 22B, a special edition Impreza created in 1998. Initially, only 400 examples were built for the Japanese market, but demand for the 2.2-liter 276 hp special ( they said) was so intense Subaru built three more for its own rally team, five for Australia and 16 for the rally-loving Brits. Today coin acceptors range from £250,000 to £300,000 at auction.
Prodrive charges around £552,000 for its Tribute, but for that you get more power and less weight. Carbon panels are covered over the entire body of the donor, and thanks to bucket seats and a lithium-ion battery, even more grams are lost, so that the total weight is 1,200 kg. It’s pretty much the same as a Ford Fiesta ST. But you get all-wheel drive and double the power.
Under the hood hides a boxer four-cylinder boxer engine – what else? – attached to a huge Garrett turbocharger. Instead of the 2.2-liters you get in a 22B, it’s a 2.5-liter engine, putting out 400 hp and a whopping 442 lb-ft. do 0-62 mph in under 3.5 seconds and go to a limited top speed of 150 mph.
Now that means you don’t shift manually – there’s a six-speed semi-automatic shifter instead. Not very purist, you might say, but don’t forget that it’s not a Subaru product, it’s a Prodrive. Of course, a race team wants the fastest changes possible. And you will have something to play elsewhere.
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The center differential has variable torque split, there are adjustable Bilstein dampers, various engine maps and you can even adjust the anti-lag. The spec sheet is full of juicy details: an Akrapovic exhaust in titanium and stainless steel. The AP Racing brakes are so massive they need 19-inch rims to fit on them.
Said rims are wrapped in custom tires designed to work with the suspension that has better geometry than the old 22B because the track is now wider. And bodywork was overseen by Peter Stevens, designer of the 22B (and the likes of the McLaren F1 and Jaguar XJR-15). Which position.
Inside, it’s still recognizably an old Subaru, but there are gripes of leather, Alcantara and carbon fiber. If you’re feeling particularly hardcore, Prodrive will throw out the rear seats and install a roll cage with harnesses instead. There is also a data logger to record lap and stage times. And a hydraulic handbrake that disengages the center differential when you lock the rear axle, like a Toyota GR Yaris – or a real rally car.
It all sounds joyful and profoundly useful, but we can’t help but wonder – will the people who spend half a million pounds on the ultimate Scooby road rally actually use it, or will they just be cowering in the collection , just admiring the looks of the insurance broker?
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