The legendary Subaru Impreza 22B – essentially a road-going version of the car that won the firm the Manufacturers’ title in the 1997 World Rally Championship – has returned as an updated, ultra-exclusive and highly charged restomod.
Called the P25, the new arrival is the work of Banbury-based motorsport outfit Prodrive, which successfully ran Subaru’s works rally team from 1990 to 2008.
It arrives 25 years on from the introduction of the Prodrive-engineered Impreza 22B, of which just 424 examples were built.
The British firm says it has “reimagined what this car would have been today”. As such, while the styling is left largely untouched, the two-door saloon’s construction and underpinnings have been almost completely re-engineered.
Just 25 examples will be produced, each using an original two-door Mk1 Impreza WRX as its basis and, while dramatically enhanced, staying true to the fan-favourite original’s ethos.
Each will be supplied with a UK numberplate and priced at £460,000 before taxes. Around a year ago, one of just 16 original 22Bs officially imported to the UK in 1999 sold for £171,000 with 49,000 miles on the clock.
So the new model keeps its charismatic, burbling flat-four boxer engine – but with capacity raised from 2.2 to 2.5 litres and with outputs boosted to more than 400bhp and 443lb ft.
It drives both axles through a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox with helical-cut gears, which Prodrive claims can shift gears in as little as 80 miliseconds.
The engine at its core is Subaru’s latest-generation boxer unit – as used by the naturally aspirated Subaru BRZ coupé and its Toyota GR86 sibling – but for this application paired with a monstrous Garrett motorsport turbocharger, a performance intercooler and a titanium-and-stainless-steel race exhaust supplied by Akrapovič.
The engine’s cylinder liners, pistons, con rods and valve train are all bespoke, too.
Prodrive has kept the P25’s kerb weight to less than 1200kg (the Alpine A110 weighs a little over 1100kg, for context) and says that “WRC-derived” launch-control and anti-turbo-lag systems help it sprint from 0-62mph in just 3.5sec.
The low kerb weight is attributed chiefly to the use of replacement carbon-composite panels for the boot, bonnet, roof, sills, wing mirrors and quarter panels. Prodrive has also installed carbon door cards and a lighter, lithium ion battery. Less bulky race seats are an option.