Prodrive P2 – The Car That Made Jeremy Clarkson Sick
You may remember the Prodrive P2 as the car that had the ability to claw onto the road and corner with such unrelenting ferocity, it made Jeremy Clarkson empty the contents of his stomach all over the Top Gear runway. But despite the fact that the incident means you could describe this car's handling – and subsequent technology – as "vomit inducing", it would be a crime to sink to those levels of bluntness.
The P2 was all about putting Rallying technology into a road going package for the benefit of confining understeer to the automotive history books. And when you consider that this car was first shown to the world in 2006, you realise just how far ahead of its time it was.
The secret to its cornering ability lies within its centre and rear differentials. Both of these diffs are active, with the rear diff shuffling power to whichever wheel needs it most via the incorporation of slip-sensors. Nowadays, similarly functional torque vectoring systems are used for the same effect. But back in 2006, this technology really was straight out of the world of racing.
Prodrive, of course, are a motorsport company, and back in 2006 they were pretty much married to the Subaru brand, for whom they'd designed winning Rally Cars for. This connection resulted in the P2 utilising a Subaru Impreza's 2.5L turbocharged Boxer-4 engine, only with a larger turbocharger – and anti-lag system to eliminate turbo-lag – to bring the power up to 345bhp. In the P2's lightweight coupe body, that power meant 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of 174mph. Make no mistake, this was a rallying rocket-ship destined for the road.
Prodrive stated that the P2 could retail for somewhere between £40,000 to £50,000, which considering it managed to get around the Top Gear Test Track in 1:24.3 - faster than an E60 BMW M5, Evo VIII FQ400, and nearly as fast as the original Koenigsegg CC8S – meant it would've been something of a lap-time bargain. Like a baby R35 Nissan GTR before the GTR came to be. But unfortunately, the P2 never made production.
Prodrive stated that it was merely a technical exercise: a concept to show off their engineering prowess. You can't really argue with the fact that it managed to achieve that goal – but you also can't deny that it would've been wonderful to see it make it to production. Now, it's just a name on the pile of greats that could've been.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
Facebook: Speed Machines - DriveTribe
Photo credits: ultimatecarpage