One of my favorite ever cars that I will never get my hands on – although no one else will either – is the Prodrive P2. Most likely, you have never heard of this car. No doubt this is because it was a concept vehicle developed and built by Prodrive in Banbury and Warwick, England. Prodrive is most well known for their involvement in World Rally by being the company that preps the Subaru Impreza rally cars. They also help automakers other than Subaru to upgrade their standard spec cars, notably the Mazda RX-8 and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. But the P2 is an entirely different animal. The basic undercarriage is taken directly from a Japanese-spec Impreza STi and then the engine, suspension, differentials, transmission and body get upgrades that really make this vehicle special.
The engine is a 2.0 liter STi unit that receives a power upgrade to produce 345 horsepower. The biggest difference between this and the regular boxer unit is that the P2 has something called anti-lag to keep the turbo spooled up no matter what speed you are running. This helps the car go from 0-60 in less than four seconds and sound like nothing you have ever heard before (look up the test from Top Gear to really hear what this car sounds like). The anti-lag system on the P2 was derived directly from the system that the WRC car uses and allows for the exhaust to emit flames when the user backs off of the power. That alone is enough to allow access to my dream garage. Spitting flames from the back of a car is very sweet to see, especially at night.
The other big improvement over a normal Impreza is that this prototype uses something called Active Torque Dynamics (ATD). What ATD does in a nutshell is it uses center and rear active differentials to split the torque between the front and rear of the car. This helps to eliminate understeer because when understeer rears its ugly head, more torque is sent to the front of the car. If your car starts to oversteer while on power, then the torque goes to the front to balance out the car and keep everything in check. This allows for some crazy high cornering speeds and extremely neutral and predictable handling. This is the safe supercar for everyone.
And while this P2 doesn’t have the big wings, gold wheels and bright color schemes that normal Imprezas are known for, every part of the exterior looks as if it has been sliced out of a single piece of marble with a ginsu blade. There are sharp edges all over that reminds me some of an F-117 Nighthawk airplane. No, it doesn’t look perfect, but it is distinct, and for a two seat coupe, it looks pretty dang good. They have also included LED tail lights and HID front lights to make the car stand out from all the other traffic on the road. The P2 is a stand out vehicle that if produced, would have retailed for about 40,000 British Pounds (essentially $60,000 although it would probably not really cost that much if it ever did come here, which it wouldn’t).
With the exclusivity of being a one-off prototype model that is a test bed for all the best technology that Prodrive has to offer, the P2 never had much of a chance of becoming a production model. If it did though, it would certainly give many supercars a run for their overpriced lives. The P2: not exactly pretty, but purposeful and an overachiever if there ever was one. There are many cars out there like this, but this is the one that could have become a legend if it were to ever be produced. This is why it is in my top 10 list.