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THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION? (some text hidden)
BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Introductionword count: 115
Although the exotic 22B will always be the ultimate collectors Impreza, much debate rages about what is in fact the best Impreza ever. There are proponents for the special edition RB5 model but most votes would be cast in the direction of the P1, a two-door model developed by Prodrive to counter the threat of grey import cars from Japan and to offer European customers an official and very special Impreza of their own. It wasn't around for long, it received rave reviews and it has gained a cult status, so don't expect to find P1s cheap, but track down a decent example and you'll have a car that could well be a modern classic.
Modelsword count: 8
Models Covered: 2 DOOR SALOON 2.0 TURBO [P1])
Historyword count: 157
Dave Richards, erstwhile team boss of the Benetton and BAR Formula One teams and Prodrive chairman, is the man we have to thank for the Subaru Impreza P1. Convinced that a fully homologated European two-door Impreza would be the perfect answer to the flood of STi grey import models that was beginning to overwhelm dealers, Richards met Subaru President Tankada in early 1999 and outlined his plans for the car. This was no small job as the two-door Impreza body style wasn't officially imported and had to go through a costly type approval process. Based on the Impreza WRX STi Type R, the P1 featured a chassis better suited to European roads and driver characteristics. A quicker steering rack was initially announced but was quickly dropped because it made the car's nose feel too nervous over broken tarmac surfaces. Cars appeared in UK dealerships in May 2000 and the full UK allowance sold out within a year.
What You Getword count: 338
Developed as a joint venture between the Japanese factory, Oxfordshire-based Prodrive - the people who helped Subaru to international rally success - and Subaru (UK), the P1 (Prodrive One) was offered only as a two-door saloon with a revised version of the rally-going engine with recalibrated electronic controls to develop no less than 280bhp, 69bhp more than the standard Impreza Turbo. Combine that with a big-bore exhaust, quick-shift gear linkage, 17-inch titanium-finish alloy wheels and freshly tweaked suspension, and you've got the fundamentals of something rather special. Subaru (UK) had two clear goals when developing the new P1. One was to make the top Impreza faster than the Lancer Evo VI produced by Mitsubishi, also highly renowned for its international rally successes. The second was to win back buyers who'd deserted Subaru's official dealer network to buy more powerful Japanese-market specification Imprezas from 'grey' importers. At the time of launch, this fastest-ever Impreza enjoyed official factory status and was supplied with a factory-backed three-year, 60,000 mile warranty. The P1 was only ever offered in Sonic Blue, a colour similar to the World Rally cars, and the eagle-eyed will notice detail differences from the cooking Impreza Turbo such as the front and rear spoilers styled by McLaren F1 designer Peter Stevens. The mirrors, door handles and side skirts are colour-matched to the body and the way ahead is lit by huge Hella 90mm driving lamps, again from the rally car. A rear window wiper on a saloon is an unusual but welcome feature. The main interior changes of note for the P1 were superb Recaro front seats which locate the driver an inch or two lower than in the Turbo, grey suede-effect trim plus Prodrive-badged floor and boot mats. Original buyers got six speakers but had to choose - and pay extra for - their own sound system. Air conditioning was standard and, given the popularity of the standard Turbo with the light-fingered, it was as well that the P1 had a full Thatcham Grade One alarm and immobiliser.
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