Prodrive P25 Puts the 1990s Subaru Impreza 22B on a Pedestal

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The concept of spending greater than half one million {dollars} on a Subaru Impreza that is not a works rally automobile may appear loopy. But why ought to high-end restomods be restricted to conventional classics, like re-created Aston Martin DB4s or better-than-new Shelby Mustangs? The Impreza’s motorsports glory and cult following means it could actually encourage an emotional connection simply as sturdy. That is one thing Prodrive has proved by promoting the complete run of 25 of its P25s, regardless of a base value (within the U.Okay.) of practically $600,000.

Making the Prodrive P25

It has been a yr since we first informed you concerning the British motorsports engineering firm’s plans to create the P25—what it claimed can be the final word street-legal first-generation Impreza—and now we have had the possibility to drive the automobile on a check monitor in England. A lot has modified since Prodrive first introduced the venture final yr, with the completed P25 getting new bumpers and lights, a redesigned rear-wing factor, a special inside—and in addition an influence increase. Final yr Prodrive promised the P25 would make no less than 400 horsepower, however that has now been elevated to 450 horsepower, together with what we’re informed might be greater than the unique promise of 442 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is a closely reworked model of Subaru’s long-serving EJ25 turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four. It has been given cast pistons, stronger connecting rods, ported cylinder heads, and a brand new Garrett turbo. It additionally encompasses a popping-and-banging anti-lag mode to maintain the turbo spinning when the automobile is in what is supposed to be a track-only Sport Plus mode. And the engine exhales by means of a bespoke Akrapovič exhaust system. It is mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox, plus an lively electronically managed heart differential that varies the quantity of torque despatched to every axle.

The P25 demonstrator appears immaculate up shut, however in contrast to many “continuation” fashions, it is not all-new. Beneath is an authentic Japanese-market two-door Impreza WRX STI, one which has been pulled to items after which restored and upgraded, with carbon fiber changing sheetmetal for the roof, trunklid, hood, fenders, and the raised rear wing. Altogether, Prodrive claims that the P25 weighs simply 2646 kilos, a determine that appears unlikely to fashionable eyes—the 2023 BMW M2 is round 3800 kilos—however is a reminder of how mild even all-wheel-drive efficiency vehicles was.

Driving the Prodrive P25

Our drive occurred solely on the Millbrook Proving Floor in England, on the tight 0.8-mile dealing with circuit that has been designed to duplicate the corners and contours of a rural British byway—which makes it an acceptable testing atmosphere for a automobile produced by the identical outfit chargeable for Subaru’s World Rally Championship glory years.

Climbing in to the P25 reveals what will be the most interesting high quality cabin ever fitted to an Impreza. Not a excessive bar given the low-rent plastics of the unique automobile, however now just about each floor within the P25 is roofed in both carbon fiber or microfiber. Even the switchgear has been redesigned: There is a panel of miniature rockers on the middle console, an engine begin/cease button (the first-gen Imprezas simply used a key), and an infotainment touchscreen, plus a digital instrument cluster. There is a sizable carbon-fiber shift paddle on the fitting of the steering wheel, however none on the left. That is how Prodrive constructed all the paddle-shift WRC vehicles for Subaru: Pull for up, push for down.

The engine fires as much as a busy, mechanical idle. The P25 is loud however a lot much less raucous than an actual WRC challenger can be—conversations are attainable with out an intercom. The sequential transmission engages first with a clunk, and there is the novelty of getting to barter a clutch pedal to get shifting. The clutch feels oddly mild; it seems to be really controlling the clutch electronically, as Prodrive determined a two-pedal system can be too brutal for street use. However as soon as shifting, each upshifts and downshifts may be carried out with out the clutch.

2023 subaru prodrive p25

Subaru

2023 subaru prodrive p25

Subaru

Belief builds shortly, as do recollections of driving this era of Impreza when it was new. The P25 is not fairly as playful or adjustable as the unique automobile was, largely as a result of it has considerably extra grip and a extra disciplined chassis. Enhance strain wants a short time to construct at decrease revs, however as soon as it has the engine pulls with visceral vigor. It is much less eager to rev than the unique automobile was; the redline is marked at 6500 rpm, whereas the 22B zinged to 7900 rpm. However there was a lot midrange torque, this by no means felt like a limitation on the tight circuit, particularly given the lightning responses of the gearbox.

The P25 combines softish springs with agency dampers, utilizing wheel journey to fill dips and compressions however with the Bilstein dampers stopping undesirable secondary motion. There’s discernible roll below cornering hundreds, however solely to an extent that helps to orientate the motive force to rising lateral forces. The lowness of the boxer engine’s heart of gravity is clear within the P25’s willingness to vary path.

However steering feels very completely different from our recollections of the unique Impreza, which had sluggish preliminary reactions. The P25 feels rather more direct and delivers crisp suggestions from the entrance tires. At Millbrook many of those messages had been concerning the restricted grip the main Bridgestone Potenzas needed to name on; our drive got here after a number of different hotshoe journalists had taken their turns, and the entrance rubber was clearly previous its greatest, bringing the necessity to handle understeer in tighter turns. However traction was excellent, and the upgraded brakes, with grooved rotors gripped by six-pot AP Racing calipers up entrance, delivered big stopping energy with out grievance.

Prodrive’s engineering workforce says the objective with the P25 was to create a road-legal automobile that might be sooner than an authentic WRC-spec Impreza. We did not get to substantiate that declare, however we will not think about that any of the small group of consumers—no less than a few of whom are within the U.S.—will ever really feel their vehicles are missing the capability to create thrills. Let’s hope that no less than a few of them get pushed in anger.

Lettermark

Senior European Correspondent

Mike Duff has been writing concerning the auto trade for twenty years and calls the UK residence, though he usually lives life on the street. He loves outdated vehicles and journey in unlikely locations, with profession highlights together with driving to Chernobyl in a Lada.

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