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Is the £552,000 Prodrive P25 the best Subaru Impreza rally car?

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Enjoy the specs – and the looks – of this motorsport-spec paved rally restomod. Is it worth half a million?

Until now, restomods have been mostly refined and elegant cars from the 1960s. Well, here’s a gritty, masculine picket in the eye of the 1990s. Prodrive has revealed its latest version of the legendary Subaru Impreza 22b. Meet the P25.

‘P25’, because the Oxfordshire-based racing car manufacturer will only build 25 of them, and because it was built to celebrate 25 years since Subaru first won a World Rally Championship stage, with a team led by Drive, of course. . The company masterminded Subaru’s three WRC titles to date, and now we have 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 were built for the Japanese market, but demand for the 2.2-litre, 276bhp (they said) special was so intense that Subaru built a further three for its own rally team, five for Australia and 16 examples for rally-mad Britons. Today minters sell for between £250,000 and £300,000 at auction.

Prodrive charges around £552,000 for its homage, but for that you get more power and less weight. Carbon panels are clad throughout the donor bodywork, and thanks to bucket seats and a lithium-ion battery, even more grams are shed, bringing the total weight to 1,200kg. That’s about the same as a Ford Fiesta ST. But you get all-wheel drive and twice the power.

Under the hood is a flat four-cylinder boxer engine, what else? – attached to a massive Garrett turbocharger. Instead of the 2.2-litre it had in a 22B, this is a 2.5-litre engine, developing 400bhp and 442lb ft. do 0-62 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and continue to a limited top speed of 150 mph.

Now that means you’re not manually changing gears; in its place is a six-speed semi-automatic gear stick. Arguably not very purist, but don’t forget this isn’t a Subaru product, it’s a Prodrive. Of course, a race team wants the quickest shifts possible. And you’ll have plenty to play with elsewhere.

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The center diff has a variable torque split, there are adjustable Bilstein dampers, various engine maps, and you can even adjust anti-lag. The spec sheet is packed with juicy details: a titanium and stainless steel Akrapovic exhaust. The AP Racing brakes are so big that they need 19-inch wheels to put them on.

Those wheels are wrapped in custom tires designed to work with suspension that has better geometry than the old 22B because the track is now wider. And the bodywork has been overseen by Peter Stevens, designer of the 22B (and of the likes of the McLaren F1 and Jaguar XJR-15). What posture!

Inside, it’s still recognizable as an old Subaru, but there’s leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber trim. If you’re feeling particularly hard, Prodrive will tear down the rear seats and put a roll cage with harnesses in their place. There is also a data logger to record lap and stage times. And a hydraulic parking brake that disables the center diff when you lock the rear axle, like a Toyota GR Yaris, or a proper rally car.

All of which sounds charming and profoundly useful, but we can’t help but wonder: will the people who spend half a million pounds on the ultimate road rally Scooby actually use it, or will it sit cowering in the collection, only being admired? looks of the insurance broker?

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