‘I’m a car expert and the best motor I drove in 2023 was like being in a firework’

I’ve been very lucky this year to have started doing car reviews for Express.co.uk in 2023.

I haven’t for a moment forgotten how fortunate I am to have driven cars that include a 400bhp four-wheel drive prototype, a Ferrari, and a car that was built when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

I’ve also been allowed to do this whilst helping to cover some of the biggest news events of year such as King Charles’ Coronation, the Israel-Hamas war, and the subsequent protests that flooded through London.

While every car has been special in its own way, one in particular stands above the rest not just for its technical brilliance but because the sensations it sent from the surface to my synapses.

The car in question is the Prodrive P25, a restomod built by motorsport legends and Le Mans winners Prodrive. Based on a Subaru Impreza WRX STi, the P25 has been lowered, lightened, stiffened, and boosted to make it the closest thing to a rally car for the street you can buy.

Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to drive Prodrive’s 450bhp masterpiece around the country lanes and towns near their factory in Northamptonshire.

The test was the most eye-opening and visceral driving experience I had in 2023. The reason for this was not just the sheer performance of the P25, but the wave of sensory information flooding me as I drove it.

In the P25, you not only hear, but feel everything that happens. Every bump in the road ripples its way to your backside and vibrates into the palms of your hands. Every piece of information you need about the road you are given instantaneously.

Unlike other modern fast cars, the P25 does not smoother you in electronic trickery or flatter any gaps in your talent. It has no traction control, no ABS (anti-lock brakes), and not much in the way of sound proofing.

Every gear change you make via the single paddle on the right side of the steering wheel results in a sudden bang as the car accelerates or decelerates. It’s incredible, and reminded me of another sensation from a completely different scene.

Alongside writing car reviews, I’ve have also covered pro-Palestine and pro-Israel protests in central London. While the majority of these protests have been peaceful, on some occasions there have been violent scenes.

On one occasion I was in Charing Cross and protesters started launching fireworks into a nearby crowd and at the windows of local flats. One of those fireworks went off about 20 feet from my head, that too resulted in loud bang as the small amount of explosive discharged itself.

What this is to say is that the Prodrive P25 is like a firework. Yes, it is loud and subjects you to large bangs, but just like a firework in a display it contains a little magic (and a fair dose of adrenalin too).

While other road cars may be more comfortable or faster, none in 2023 provided quite the same thrill and test that this car did.

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