Even though we knew the P25 was coming, and that it would look like a two-door Impreza and be very powerful and expensive, we’ll admit to being bowled over by the end result. Granted, we haven’t seen it in the flesh yet – the covers come off at the Festival of Speed this Thursday – but there can surely be no argument that the P25 looks the business. Having launched the original WRC Impreza 25 years ago, Prodrive says it has ‘reimagined what this car would have been today’. Nice job, guys.
And of course it gets better. Those tweaked body panels? Carbon composite, the lot. Boot, bonnet, roof, sills, door mirrors, front and rear quarters, WRC-style rear wing and bumpers. Peter Stevens, who designed the WRC version back in the day is responsible for the new look (those rear arches alone are making us come over all funny) and Prodrive expertise in putting it all back together again means the P25 weighs less 1,200kg, despite retaining a WRX’s steel monocoque.
Into this updated, lightweight mix the firm has inserted Subaru’s latest 2.5-litre flat-four, albeit totally re-engineered with bespoke internal components, including new cylinder liners, pistons, con rods, and a valve train with variable cam timing. Oh and there’s a Garrett motorsport turbo too with an uprated intercooler and airbox, plus Akrapovic titanium and stainless steel racing exhaust system. All told it puts out 400hp and 443lb ft of torque, and we’re going to go right ahead and say the P25 probably sounds as good as it looks.
It is also going to seriously go. Prodrive reckons 62mph will come up in less than 3.5 seconds, partly thanks to a six-speed sequential ‘box with helical cut gears, but also because it gets a WRC-style launch control system that combines the fly-by-wire throttle and clutch in the floor mounted pedal box to automatically take the car through first, second and third gear. Just imagine that away from the lights.
The power goes to all four wheels via an adjustable active center differential and limited-slip diffs front and rear (which gives you some idea of how the P25 is going to handle). Prodrive has retained the McPherson struts, but says it has used machined aluminum uprights that can be tuned for the optimal geometry of the car’s wider 1770mm track. New Bilstein dampers are adjustable for compression and rebound while the springs and anti-roll bars are apparently optimized for tarmac handling. You also get AP Racing brakes and gorgeous 19-inch Prodrive rims.
We haven’t seen inside yet, although the dashboard is said to feature a full-width high-definition multi-page display including a data logger, and there is the option of a ‘partial’ safety cage and racing seats. Clearly the firm is expecting owners to take the car on circuit (you’d have to, right?) and has catered to the track day use with ‘various throttle response and engine performance maps, including anti-lag adjustment.’ And if you’re thinking “Lordy”, there is also a WRC-style ‘fly-off’ hydraulic handbrake, which automatically disengages the center differential to remove drive from the rear wheels. Which means the P25 is custom-made to accommodate all sorts of silliness.
This is a good thing because, predictably, the P25 does not come cheap. For one thing there is only ever going to be 25 of them (obvs) and for another – if the description above didn’t signal it for you – it’s about as close to a rally car for the road as you’re ever going to get. Accordingly, Prodrive is going to charge £460,000 plus VAT for each and every example. Big money, sure – but if these don’t disappear off the Banbury shelves like hot cakes, we’ll eat our PH-branded hats. In fact, with Goodwood imminent and runs up the hill in the development car scheduled, we expect them to be all gone by the end of the week.
David Richards, Prodrive chairman, said: “The iconic blue Subarus bring back memories of an extraordinary era of the WRC and it was the Impreza 22B that brought this rally car performance to the road. By reimagining this car using the latest technologies and materials the Prodrive P25 pays homage to its roots and there will be little else able to match its performance on the open road. I therefore believe we have achieved our vision of creating our own modern interpretation of the most iconic Subaru Impreza ever.” Deliveries to the lucky few are due to begin later this year.