I'm Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2

Illustration for article titled Im Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2
Photo: All Credit Prodrive

Making a car is expensive, and nobody would want go through the process of building an entire working automobile if they’re not thinking of putting it on sale. And yet here is (or isn’t) the Prodrive P2, an all-wheel drive monster that never even was meant to be bought.

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The P2 made itself known to the world on Top Gear back in 2006, when it got Jeremy Clarkson to puke. Admittedly, this is probably a lower bar than anyone ever expects. I’m sure if you withhold cigarettes from him for several long minutes and then wave a beach towel at him, he’d puke. But that’s not the point.

What was interesting was that the P2 was a two-seater sports car project from the brains behind Subaru’s World Rally Championship golden years.

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Illustration for article titled Im Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2

As such it got a 345 horsepower flat four Impreza engine with all of the tech that you’d find in a contemporary WRC car, as Prodrive explained at the time:

ALS has been derived from the same system found on the Prodrive-designed Subaru World Rally Car, but modified for use on the road. ALS can keep the turbo on full boost at low engine speeds, giving the car immediate throttle response and improved performance by using more of the engine’s torque throughout the rev range.

Our ATD™ system uses active centre and rear differentials to control the torque split between the front and rear of the car and across the rear axle to optimise the car’s handling characteristics by helping to correct over or understeer.

Illustration for article titled Im Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2

The problem was that the car was only ever a technology demonstrator, meant to show off how the car could spin itself in circles and do good anti-lag bangs. Prodrive conceded it could theoretically get the car into production if another company did the actual production work, but the main goal was “to create something that used the skills of every part of the business and demonstrated the company’s capabilities.”

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Illustration for article titled Im Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2

Maybe I should never have been hopeful at all. Maybe I was just swept up in the last gasps of optimism before the Recession and my friends’ dads all started losing their jobs.

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But man, I wish there was more to this thing, and that it might have become some sort of super BRZ before the BRZ was a glimmer in anyone’s eye. The platform itself was a Subaru R1 kei car. It was doable, it just never got done. If there might have been any hope of a revival at some point early on, I’m sure the recession in ‘08 quashed it.

It’s been a good dozen years now since I was first let down by the P2. Am I still mad? Yes.

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Illustration for article titled Im Still Mad We Never Got The Incredible Subaru-Based Prodrive P2

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

boxerfanatic
BoxerFanatic, troublesome iconoclast.

I’m still mad that we didn’t get an A4-level standard build of the Sport Quattro concept.

The white 2010 concept car, not the 2013 ruined one.... why did they have to ruin the quarter window and hatchback angles? WHY?

Seriously... Turbo I4, 6MT, Torque-vectoring rear diff, AWD.... and an efficient, yet well trimmed interior with fold-down rear seats and lift back hatch.

How hard of a formula is that?

SUBARU could also have done it, instead of WRX being a sedan as sedans whither away, and also instead of BRZ with no torque, no AWD, and no rear hatch... Subaru could have actually made an AWD lift back slightly-smaller alternative to the Mustang... instead of a fixed-roof alternative to the Miata.