There’s a small but dedicated niche of extreme automotive enthusiasm that involves driving very powerful cars up and down enormous sand dunes. Unsurprisingly, this is mostly limited to geographically appropriate areas like the Middle East, but there are other global hotspots for such extreme off-roading, such as the North Algodones Dunes in California, where wide open expanses are a powerful lure for pumped-up custom dune buggies of all shapes and sizes.
This is the Prodrive Hunter, a supercar for every conceivable kind of terrain. Designed and developed in the UK by the Oxfordshire-based Prodrive racing team, it has been developed from the Bahrain Raid Xtreme competition car, an extreme racer built for the Dakar Rally and most recently driven by the nine-time World Rally Champion, Sebastien Loeb.
The Hunter has been styled by Ian Callum, erstwhile Head of Design at Jaguar and also the man behind the original Aston Martin Vanquish and DB9 (the Hunter shares the latter’s distinctive door handles). Callum not only shaped the brutish exterior, with its colossal ground clearance, complex array of ducts and scoops, and huge (optional) rear spoiler, but he has also turned the functional rally cabin into something that’s a bit more usable. It’s still more truck-like than super-coupé, however, with race seats, prominent roll bar, exposed carbon fibre on practically every surface, a rally-style gear shift and a digital dashboard.
To create the customer car – and therefore with no rally regs to follow - Prodrive has boosted the power output of the Hunter’s 3.5-litre V6 to a massive 600hp – double the original. There’s also even more suspension travel to soak up bumps, with massive off-road tyres sitting on aluminium rims.
The boosted power should mean a top speed of around 300km/h, although we don’t recommend you try that on anything but perfect asphalt. Attempting to reach the stated sub-four-second 0-100kph time will be more fun on rough terrain. David Richards, Prodrive’s chairman, says that the Hunter is ‘about giving owners the opportunity to experience what it is like to drive Loeb’s Dakar car across the desert, but with all the comforts of a road car and the ability to drive it from your home, through a city, to any destination of your choice.’
Prodrive Hunter, from £1.25m plus local taxes
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.