Alright... so you've openly lusted after the performance envelopes of road-bound rally cars like the Subaru WRX STi and Mitsubishi EVO IX MR, but you can't get around their frump four-door roots, or their look-at-me aerodynamic addenda. So what's keeping the two firms from building a lighter, more lithesome coupe? Mitsubishi has little excuse, as it already has the rumptastic (if overweight) Eclipse in its fold, a car that was once upon a time known for its turbocharged hooliganism.
Subaru, however, doesn't have the same luck-- the last time it did a two-door coupe, the interestingly-styled SVX, it was an overweight, slow-selling cruiser, not a true performance car. So while enthusiasts have waited around for some time for the boys and gals at Fuji Heavy to pack their winning mechanicals in something smaller and sexier, it's taken the WRC wizards at Prodrive to deliver.
Based on Subaru's diminutive R1 supermini, but packing the drivetrain from the WRX STi with a bigger turbo, and the attractively 'New Edge with chunk' styled P2 puts 345 brake horsepower worth of smack down. The net-net? 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds, and a top speed of 174 mph.
Better still, Clarkson figures, is the handling. The engineers at Prodrive have not only figured out some sort of indescribably complex anti-lag system for the turbocharger, they've gone and developed a driver-adjustable active center differential. While the latter trinket doesn't sound terribly different from a bog-standard STi's piece, the Subaru's is essentially a mechanical system, while the P2's is supervised and informed by all manner of sensors, including yaw, throttle position, and so on. The end result is a coupe that can be neatly tailored for the demands of the road and the driver-- safe as houses understeer, or tail-out antics. It all works so well that it makes Clarkson sick-- literally.
Sadly, according to JC, ProDrive has no plans to put the P2 into production.