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Detroit News: 2006 Subaru Legacy spec.B Review

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Limited edition Subaru Legacy is well worth the price

By Paul & Anita Lienert

It's not too often we drive a performance sedan that is so rare it comes with an individually numbered limited-edition plaque on the console.

But that plaque is standard issue on the 2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B, which is being offered for the first time in the United States. The Japanese automaker said it is only making 500 of these spec.Bs (the B denotes the specially designed Bilstein suspension components).

We test-drove a $34,620 Legacy spec.B with no options. A destination charge of $625 is included.

SHE: Usually I would have built up a real head of steam over something like the spec.B, which costs $12,000 more than the base Legacy. Normally, I would have a lot of fun with items such as that silly plaque and the fancy "spec.B" floor mats. But I have to admit, I really took a shine to the spec.B. Now I know why it has attracted such a loyal following in Japan and Europe before coming to America. I've come around to thinking that it's well worth the money. By the way, I noticed that you don't even have a single dislike listed about this Subaru. Surely, that's a first.

HE: Honest, I tried to think of something I didn't like, but I have no real gripes. I just ignored that plaque, by the way. But I can think of no better endorsement than to say I'd love to own one of these cars myself. For our countrified lifestyle and the constantly changing weather conditions here in Michigan, the all-wheel-drive Legacy makes an awful lot of sense, while the turbocharged engine and spec.B package add that intangible entertainment quotient that's missing from so many mid-size sedans. Yes, it's pricy at nearly $35,000, but remember that it's competing with such premium brands as BMW, Audi and Lexus. And, for the most part, the Legacy spec.B meets or exceeds the competition in nearly every significant department.

SHE: You just like that "boxer" engine because it reminds you of us.

HE: You mean "horizontally opposed?"

SHE: I was thinking more along the lines of diametrically opposed. But I happen to agree with you in this case, at least on most points. You get a lot more than an exclusive titanium silver metallic paint job and other cosmetic stuff with the spec.B. You can talk about the performance, but I loved all the safety features, which are standard across the board on Legacy. They include front side air bags, side curtain air bags for both rows, active front head restraints and antilock brakes. Unfortunately, you don't get traction or stability control, which is standard on lower-priced competitors such as the Audi A4 Quattro.

HE: The A4 costs less, but it's also a smaller sedan than the Legacy. And not nearly as quick or fun to drive. Subaru has really done a nice job with the turbocharged 2.5-liter boxer engine, which feels more like a six-cylinder than a four. The five-speed manual gearbox is slick as a whistle, and the handling is crisp and responsive. The Bilstein shocks and struts make a world of difference in both the ride quality and the control, even with the optional mud-and-snow tires on our test vehicle. The weather was mostly cooperative during the week that we tested the spec. B, but I suspect you could have a riot driving this car even in a blizzard.

SHE: I'm confused. According to the spec sheet, that Subaru turbo engine makes 250 horsepower, which seems pretty potent. But the new Toyota Camry that I tested recently had a 3.5-liter V-6 that was rated at 268 horsepower. So why did the spec. B feel so much faster?

HE: It's all in the torque curve and the tuning. The Subaru is a little bit lighter than the Toyota, but the acceleration is phenomenal. It takes nearly nine seconds for the Camry V-6 to get from zero to 60, while the spec.B does the same sprint in around six and a half seconds.

2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B

Type: Front-engine, all-wheel drive, five-passenger sedan.

Price: Base, $34,620, (inc. $625 destination charge); as tested, $34,620.

Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer four-cylinder; 250-hp; 250 lb-ft torque.

EPA fuel economy: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway.

Where built: Lafayette, Indiana.

12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan*: $1,412. (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower, depending on coverage, driving record.)


Likes: Security of all-wheel drive. Good safety features, including standard side curtain air bags. Over-the-top 10-spoke alloy wheels. Electro-luminescent gauges with red needles really pop at night. Decent price for an amply equipped limited-edition model. Decent fuel economy for a performance sedan.

Dislikes: No traction or stability control. Anonymous face/grille. Individually numbered limited-edition plaque in cabin seems silly. Not enough rear head or leg room. Needs more rear-seat amenities, including vent, reading lights.


Likes: Extremely quick turbo engine. Striking brick-red leather seats, brushed-metal accents. Smooth 5-speed manual transmission. Easy-to-use standard navigation system. Simple climate and audio controls. Responsive and entertaining to drive.

Dislikes: None.

Link: http://info.detnews.com/autosconsumer/auto...ex.cfm?id=22176


I just have to say I'm really not fond of the Lienerts' Vaudville-style of reviewing a car. <_<

As for the car, I like the Legacy GT but there's no way I'm having one for $35k. There are are plenty of other cars I'd rather have at that price.

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i hate them, but they might be on to something here since the specb took 2nd in a recent R/T comparo, ahead of the 325 even

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