10.16.2008

Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B Review



Okay, so the name is a mouthful..."Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B"...but don't let that drive you away. The Subaru Legacy has been one of the great below-the-radar sedans since its redesign a couple of years ago...and the (let's just shorten it) spec.B just makes it better.

What we have here is a BMW 3-series on the cheap. The spec.B comes with a six-speed manual transmission, an intercooled, turbocharged engine, a Bilstein Sport Suspension, 18 inch wheels and performance tires and Subaru Intelligent Drive (they call it SI-DRIVE). What it does is allow the driver to maximize performance and efficiency by turning a knob to one of three settings: "Intelligent", "Sport" and "Sport Sharp".

"Intelligent" could also be called "Relaxed" or "Responsible", lowering torque, smoothing out response and improving fuel efficency by about 10 percent.

"Sport" gets you quick throttle response (great for freeway merging), while "Sport Sharp" gets you still more power even faster. Drive it in "Sport Sharp" mode and you'll stop snickering over the BMW comparison in the second paragraph.

The spec.B also gets navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, an all-weather package with heated seats and mirrors and a windshield wiper de-icer (!), a Harmon Kardon 9-speaker audio system and, of course, Subaru's all-wheel drive...all at a price of $34,595. The test vehicle we had added a Sirius Satellite Radio kit for $456and a trunk cargo net for $64. Bottom line, with destination and delivery charges: $35,780...a chunk less than a similarly equipped 3-series.

The EPA estimates 17 city, 24 highway miles per gallon (probably in "Intelligent" mode).

The spec.B is a no-excuses sport sedan well worth your time in a test drive.

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