Prodrive, the British company famous for building some of the most iconic race cars on the planet, has revealed a road-legal off-roader based on its championship-leading Bahrain Raid Xtreme competition car. Called the Hunter, it uses the same engine, drivetrain, and suspension, but comes with more power, more suspension travel, and a more livable interior.
The front-mounted 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, free from the World Rally-Raid Championship's restrictions, now makes 591 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, a 50 percent increase over the race car's output. Like the race car driven by Sebastien Loeb, it sends power to all four wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox. But the shifter lever from the race car has been replaced with easier-to-use paddles near the steering wheel. The double-wishbone suspension, which features parallel uprights on all four corners, has 15.7 inches of travel, up from 13.7 in the competition car. The Hunter is fitted with 35-inch off-road tires, but the company estimates the car could hit 62 mph on pavement in less than four seconds if fitted with sticker rubber.
While the Ian Callum–designed body of the Hunter hasn't changed much in the switch from race car to road car, the interior has been given a total revamp. Most of the cage has been tucked away but there's still plenty of visible carbon fiber on the dash and lower body panels. There are two carbon-fiber bucket seats and a real center console, along with a digital gauge cluster for the driver. You'll also find six-point harnesses and a dual fire extinguisher system inside.
Ben Sayer, a spokesperson for Prodrive, told Road & Track that testing and development for the Hunter has already been going on for over a month. But much of that testing is down to final calibrations and refinement.
"Because [the Hunter] is based on the competition car, it's done a huge amount of endurance [testing] already," Sayer told Road & Track. "The three [competition] cars have done a total of 25,000 kilometers. So the whole of the powertrain and the suspension has been tested to the extreme and passed that endurance testing. Now it's very much about refining the car for the kind of person who's going to drive it."
Speaking of buyers, Prodrive is currently on tour with its first Hunter model in the Middle East. Sayer says this region of the world will likely be the car's most valuable market simply because it has exactly the type of terrain the Hunter was designed to conquer. But he also acknowledged its potential for North American sales.
"This car is about driving at high speed over rough terrain," Sayer said. "There are parts of North America where you're able to do that, where you can turn off the road and you're fairly free to do it. So North America is one of our markets."
The Hunter shown here has already been sold, and buyers for the next few examples have already been lined up, says Sayer. With a starting price of roughly $1.6 million, the car isn't cheap. And because it fills such a narrow niche, Prodrive doesn't expect to sell many. Its sold allocations will keep the team busy until at least the end of the year, according to Sayer. If you want one any time soon, we suggest getting your order in ASAP.