Modifications which go as far as gaining more power from a manufacturers standard specification are usually no go areas as far as supplying dealers are concerned, especially if the word warranty is mentioned in the same sentence! This is what makes the Prodrive Performance Enhancement pack pretty unique in that it not only claims to increase power and torque but also does not effect the 3 year/60,000 mile warranty!
So 208/215bhp not enough, how does Prodrive go about getting more?
Pre 1997 the enhancement pack included a new rear silencer, RamAir filter element, and a different engine management unit, and to get you stopped again the upgrade included an uprated disk brake pad set from Mintex. This gave at least an extra 15% in power (reputedly more) although you do have to use unleaded Super (98 RON) or the power is reportedly less than the standard car. Although not a great increase in ultimate power the engine is made much more flexible throughout the rev range, enhancing the driveability even further.
The MY97 engine introduced a smaller turbo charger and various other improvements which made Prodrives job a little more difficult. The smaller turbo meant there was less to be gained as the smaller turbo was already at its ultimate performance. The engine modification for 1997 and 1998 were similar in being rear silencer, air filter, ECU and brake pads, but allowed the use of standard unleaded (95 RON) but best performance is gained from the higher octane. Rolling road tests by SIDC/IWOC members of MY98 Imprezas have showed a slight gain across the curves over a standard car but nothing like the pre 97 cars with bigger turbos (one reportedly putting out near 270bhp).
With the MY99 further engine improvements were made by Subaru and Prodrive upped the game by releasing the highly acclaimed MY99 PPP (Prodrive Performance Pack). Totally redesigned for the MY99/2000 car the pack now includes an ECU upgrade, a new centre and rear stainless steel performance exhaust system (which replaces the second exhaust catalyst), and improved intercooler pipework. The standard 1999 model has improved brakes so the pads are no longer offered as part of the upgrade. Prodrive's engine enhancements are claimed to boost peak power to 240PS at 6,000rpm. Even more impressive, however, is the claimed 350Nm of torque available from just 3,500rpm, a 20% improvement over the 290Nm at 4000rpm of the standard car. Such is the impact of the changes that an engine fitted with the Prodrive Performance Package will exceed the standard car's peak torque from 2,900rpm right through to 5,500rpm, providing startling performance in the all-important mid-range for overtaking and responsive driving. Rolling road tests and back to back driving have substantiated these claims making an MY99 or MY2000 with these enhancements a very desirable car!
So you've done all that what's next? Well Prodrive can do all of the above in one go, interior pack, exterior pack and driving enhancement pack (engine modifications are not mandatory) and you get WR Sport badging and a limited edition individual numbered plaque on the dash board too. Note this must be specified at the time of ordering a new car and can not be undertaken on a car which has already left the showroom.
Copyright © Steve Breen
Prodrive P1, a car predicted upon this very site. Developed from an STi type R, it is modified for UK (and European) tastes to specifications laid out by Prodrive who were the catalysts for the project. For further details have a look at the P1 page.
I have driven an MY96 car fitted out with the interior Recaro upgrade and the upgraded suspension along with 17" Speedline Supertorismo in a back to back test with a standard MY96 car. The seats are excellent and hold the driver and passenger in place giving just little extra support required for really fast motoring. The only problem I had was the side support made changing gear a bit more difficult. Perhaps a quick shift would cure that? The Recaro seats and upholstery really did improve the standard of the interior, but I was unsure of the fake wood stuck onto and around the dash board. OK I am sure...it looks tacky!
On the move tyre noise is not surprisingly up on the standard car due to the lower profile alloys but the ride isn't that different, definitely not harsh. The steering seems more precise, and it is really amazing the difference it does make on a car which seemed real good in the first place.
One IWOC member was so impressed by the performance of the MY99 Performance Pack is the low to mid range (i.e. every day driving) he sold his STi5 type R to buy a fully Prodrived MY99 RB5 special Edition! Dyno runs of the cars back to back show that the performance pack really does work very well.
I have driven an MY99 WR Sport which includes suspension upgrade, quick shift, Recaros, performance pack, Alcon brake upgrade, 17" alloys and WRC wing. The first thing you notice is the wing (well I did as my lowly boot spoiler in nothing in comparison). Certainly no Q car anymore! Getting in the Recaro Sport front seats gripped even better than I remembered them, making the Subaru items even in revised MY97 form feel wanting.
Starting up, it is apparently obvious there is something a bit different with the engine as the exhaust note is different, totally different and unlike any Impreza I have heard. Pulling away and changing gear, that quick shift is really slick, come to a junction.....WOW those brakes! I have not tried the standard MY99 items but comparing them to the ones on my Catalunya they are phenomenal! What is more they have a lovely feel and are not all or nothing either.
Moving out into the country (5pm on a week day in rush hour isn't the best time to test a car ;-) it was time to open it up. Although there were 4 people in the car at the time of the test I can say I was very impressed. It had the performance 4 up, that my MY97 Catalunya has with just myself in the car! Low down torque was really good. I was not sure about that exhaust note though. It has been described as a Rolls Royce Merlin, but not by me as it is extremely raspy, that centre section makes itself heard at every throttle application.
Pushing the car I felt at home almost immediately and it was handling excellently (remember there were 4 of us in the car too). Those brakes were brilliant and the low down torque allowed me to drive quite lazily...just not sure about the rasp.
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