Prodrive is making good on its promise to build a street-legal version of a machine developed to race in Dakar. The company is only making 25 of these road-going Dakar racers, the Prodrive Hunter. And for the low price of £1.25 million, or $1.63 million, you, too, can feel like Nani Roma or Sebastien Loeb, bombing across dunes at speeds of up to 186 miles per hour.
The Prodrive Hunter is based on the BRX Hunter T1+, and the first street-legal build was made for Bahrain’s Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, as Top Gear reports. That ought to give you an idea of just who the Hunter is for. We’re talking Persian Gulf princes who will get to drive an even more extreme version of the machine that Roma and Loeb piloted at Dakar.
According to Prodrive Chairman, David Richards, the Hunter was made to explore the untamed desert:
“There are numerous hypercars on the market, however they all need good roads or even race tracks to show their performance. We identified that in certain parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, there are vast expanses still to be explored that go way beyond the access provided by asphalt roads. Therefore why not create a vehicle that gives the opportunity to explore these regions with performance way beyond that offered by any off-road vehicle before.”
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Prodrive says the street-legal version doesn’t have to deal with competition regulations, so its output has increased by more than 50 percent. The Hunter will have the same engine as the competition BRX, a 3.5-liter twin turbo V6 from Ford. In the street-legal car, however, that same engine will make over 592 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque.
Prodrive claims the Hunter’s output is easier to harness than the race-spec BRX, now that the manual sequential gearbox has been replaced with a six-speed paddle shift transmission. Everything else is as well-equipped as on the BRX, if not better. Even the suspension gets a boost, up from about 14-inches of travel in the BRX to nearly 16-inches in the Hunter.
The suspension has two adjustable dampers per wheel and is double-wishbone all around. There are front, rear and center differentials and constant four-wheel drive. The Hunter can haul almost 127 gallons of gas, but Prodrive didn’t give any fuel consumption specs. Its well-heeled buyers probably don’t care.
I’d suspect it also has something to do with how hitting the Hunter’s estimated top speed of 186 MPH, with a 0-60 MPH time under four seconds, could drain that big tank quickly. Prodrive does hedge, saying the speed ratings could be affected by the Hunter’s running gear, 35-inch custom tires from BFGoodrich.
Six pot racing brake calipers and vented discs give the Hunter plenty of stopping power. Even with that much brake bite, at some point past a certain speed if you slam on the pedal, the Hunter will be surfing sand — if just for a moment. This thing is fast; it’s overbuilt and overwrought. It’s completely unnecessary, and yet its design and capability is gnarly.