When the fine folks at Prodrive revealed plans to resurrect the Subaru Impreza 22B STi, the car internet appeared to receive the news with a vague mix of heightened interest and exhaustion. Interest because who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of a modern interpretation of the baddest Impreza ever made? (It’ll always be an Impreza first to me, WRX be damned.) Exhaustion because high-dollar restomods aren’t exactly uncommon these days, and coupled with the stratospheric rise of secondhand prices of ’90s JDM heroes, the whole project had the distinct makings of a paradise for no one.
So, sure — let’s get that out of the way right at the jump. The Prodrive P25 will cost £460,000, or $564,765, before tax. When our collective nausea subsides, we can move onto the rest of the details.
Better? No? Neither am I. Anyway, Prodrive is indeed relying on two-door donor Impreza WRXs to give their lives to this cause. From there, carbon-composite panels replace the original “boot, bonnet, roof, sills, door mirrors, front and rear quarters and bumpers” to reduce the car’s weight to about 2,650 pounds, while Prodrive works its magic on Subaru’s current 2.5-liter flat four to squeeze a total of 400 horsepower and 442 lb-ft out of it.
A six-speed sequential gearbox replaces the five-speed manual in the original 22B, perhaps the car’s most controversial change. The addition of a WRC-esque hydraulic handbrake, which decouples the rear wheels from the center differential to promote spirited acts of oversteer, will be less divisive.
Launch control and an anti-lag system for the turbocharger get the P25 to 60 mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds. More details on all of the above and the drivetrain below, courtesy of Prodrive’s official press release:
The engine is based on Subaru’s latest 2.5 litre cylinder block, but has been totally re-engineered by Prodrive’s powertrain team with bespoke internal components, including new cylinder liners, pistons, con rods, and a valve train with variable cam timing. There is a Garrett motorsport turbo with a high performance intercooler and airbox and an Akrapovic titanium and stainless steel racing exhaust system.
The engine is mated to a six speed sequential gearbox with helical cut gears and semi-automatic shift via a paddle on the steering column, giving precise gear changes in 80 milliseconds. The car has a WRC-style launch control system, which 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 to achieve the optimal acceleration from standstill without any driver intervention.
Power is delivered to all four wheels via a drivetrain which features an adjustable active centre differential and limited-slip differentials front and rear. McPherson strut suspension has been retained, but with machined aluminium uprights which can be tuned for camber and geometry optimised for the wider track. The Bilstein dampers are adjustable for compression and rebound while the springs and anti-roll bars optimise the tarmac handling.
As for the interior, extensive use of Alcantara, carbon and leather differentiate this from a regular GM-chassis Impreza of its day, while a “full width high-definition multi-page display” has been added to the dash, allowing drivers to log data and set the engine to different performance maps. I’d love to see a picture of how that screen’s been integrated, but Prodrive has not yet provided one!
From the exterior, the P25 basically looks like a reimagined 22B or — and I’m sure Prodrive would much prefer this association — like a road-going version of one of the company’s WRC-spec rally cars that it produced for Subaru in the late ’90s. The 1995 car that won Colin McRae his only drivers’ title and the Japanese automaker one of its three constructors’ championships didn’t look like the P25, as it lacked the flared fenders, deep front spoiler and prominent rear wing present we see here.
It’s all very pretty, mainly because Prodrive’s Peter Stevens didn’t really fuss with the original’s looks at all. The slim WRC-like pod side mirrors and huge tarmac rally-style 12-spoke rims are competition-derived touches that certainly get the point across. If I’m nitpicking, the use of blue-toned LEDs in the headlamps is philosophically untenable for me, but hey — those can always be swapped out. And if you can afford one of these, you can probably afford yellow lights.
Look out for the P25 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week, before deliveries of the 25 cars begin later in 2022.