Subaru Legacy 3.6R Premium 2010 Review

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Mistaken identity is a definite problem. In its most extreme circumstances it’s sent men to the electric chair, but the usual result is little more than embarrassment. During my recent road test with the new Subaru Legacy sedan I was asked twice if I was driving a Nissan Maxima and once if it was the Toyota Aurion. Is this compliment or insult for the fifth generation Legacy? Either way, it shows the Legacy has a new maturity in styling that has aligned it with its competitors by trading some individuality for generic appeal.

The powers at Fuji Heavy Industries have pumped up the Legacy in every direction, growing it in length, height, width and wheelbase. While there are passenger benefits to the larger dimensions the growth spurt has removed the Legacy further from its leery sports sedan roots. That said, the new aesthetic may be familiar but it’s modern and smart. The bulging wheel arches, plus-sized light clusters and tasteful use of contrasting silver trim make for a handsome if conservative machine.

The Legacy has never drawn its true identity from it’s mere sheet metal. What makes it unique is it’s blend of boxer engine and an all-wheel-drive set up. Our test vehicle had Subaru’s 3.6-litre horizontally opposed 6-cylinder boxer engine. This petrol-powered unit is the largest ever fitted to a Legacy and churns out 191kW of power and 350Nm of torque. The 3.6-litre engine only falls short of Subaru’s turbocharged 2.5-litre GT motor by 4kW and matches it exactly for torque. The result is a lively 0-100kph-sprint time of 7.3 seconds and some stiff mid-range punch. Positive at any pace the motor delivers smooth consistent power and had a quiet refined demeanor that provides a valid alternative to Subaru fans who don’t want the rawer turbocharged four-banger. The six-cylinder can be run on 91 RON fuel and will return 10.3l/100km economy combined.

The boxer engine is teamed up exclusively with a five-speed automatic transmission and paddle shifters. The auto box is generally relaxed with no problems finding the right gear and is capable of firing off rapid downshifts when required. The paddles functioned well but had a slight lag on up shifts, this wasn’t a major issue particularly in a car that’s happiest cruising with the transmission kept in D.  In Premium spec the auto box is given further character with Subaru’s SI-Drive system. This allows selection of three different driving styles ranging from an economy focus to a sharp sports mode.

While the Legacy’s power train is impressive the vehicles true strength now, as always, lays in it’s handling capabilities. The 2010 Legacy makes use of a special planetary centre differential and a limited slip rear differential that together transitions power to any wheel that needs it. The results are near staggering, with an epic level of grip regardless of conditions. During the road test the NZ weather turned on some seriously heavy rain and the Legacy refused to break traction even when provoked. These driving characteristics hold true even on gravel or in snowy conditions. When the rains subsided the Legacy was awesome on the twisty tarmac and showed a neutral stable feel that stayed flat and honest when thrown into corners. The speed sensitive steering is a fine match for the balanced chassis offering firm feedback and precise turn-in.

Ride quality is very good and the high handling capabilities don’t directly result in an over firmness, with the Legacy absorbing most bumps and dips even on rougher roads. Effort has also been put into sound deadening with minimal road and wind noise entering the cabin.

The inside of the Legacy is where the increased dimensions pay off nicely. It’s a spacious and pleasant atmosphere with quality dark plastics mixing into brushed metal and walnut trim. The Premium specification gives a genuine feeling of entry-level luxury and includes leather upholstery, power front seats, keyless entry and auto headlights and wipers. The instruments are large and easily read, and the switchgear is well laid out but a little basic and the main display screen is small and looks slightly dated. Rear seat room has been improved markedly and can accommodate three adults comfortably. The back seat also has a pass through opening for skis or longer items. Overall, the interior has a solid fit and finish is spacious and well appointed.
Safety features include seven airbags with a driver’s knee airbag, ABS brakes with EBD, electronic stability and traction control.

The Legacy 3.6R Premium is a strong all round performer and is underestimated within its segment. The Legacy has survived its raucous youth and is now looking to be a responsible vehicle complete with safety, class and levels of grip that would embarrass superglue.  It may match Toyota and Nissan in wearing a business suit instead of a Hawaiian shirt but open the throttle on a twisted road and it will show it still knows how to party. If you’re looking for a grown up four-door family sedan that can be safely driven on a variety of road surfaces and offers useful grunt then check out the new Legacy.

Price: $54,990

What we like:

  • Spectacular handling
  • Quality interior
  • Powerful engine

What we don’t like:

  • Uninspired styling
  • Dated switchgear

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Subaru Legacy 3.6R Premium – Specifications

Engine

Engine type: Horizontally opposed Boxer 6 cylinder, petrol engine
Valve mechanism DOHC with Dual AVCS
Bore x stroke mm 92 x 91
Capacity cc 3630
Compression ratio 10.5
Fuel tank capacity litres 65
Fuel system Multi point sequential injection
Fuel requirement RON 91

Performance

Maximum power output (DIN) kW/rpm 191kW@5600rpm
Maximum torque (DIN) Nm/rpm 350Nm@4400rpm
Accelaration 0-100 Km/h secs 7.3
Electronic Throttle Control system (ETC) Drive-by-wire
Fuel consumption (ADR81/02)2 combined 10.3
Emission standards Euro4
Fuel consumption (ADR81/02)2 urban 14.7
Fuel consumption (ADR81/02)2 extra urban 7.6 C02 emissions (ADR81/02) combined (g/km) 242

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

Variable Torque Distribution Yes

Steering

Steering Engine speed sensitive power assisted rack and pinion
Minimum turning circle (curb to curb) m 11

Suspension

Front suspension McPherson strut type, independent suspension
Rear suspension Double wishbone type, independent suspension

Brakes

Front brakes Ventilated disc brake
Rear breaks Ventilated disc brake
Brake booster type mm Tandem
ABS 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution

Wheels and Tyres

Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone
Tyres (width, profile, size, load index and speed) 225/50 R17 94W
Rim size (inches) 17×7.5JJ
Wheels 17
Spare wheel 205/50 R17 89V

Measurement

Overall length (mm) 4745
Overall width (mm) 1780
Overall height (mm) 1505
Wheel base (mm) 2750
Front track (mm) 1530
Rear track (mm) 1535
Minimum ground clearance (mm)3 150
Cargo volume – rear seat up/down (litres) 476 / -
Seating capacity 5

Towing

With trailer brakes (kg) 1800
Without trailer brakes (kg) 750 Maximum towball down load (kg) 180

Brake Pedal vs Accelerator

October 30th, 2009 by Adam

Are the brake pedal and the accelerator that easy to get mixed up? Hell no! I hear you say and I agree but it seems that about once a month I read a small news story in the newspaper about a motorist making this very mistake usually with damaging results.  It’s often a little old lady who should of hung up her driving gloves year’s ago and as she pulls into a carpark in the middle of the day, goes for the brake and instead floors her Toyota Starlet right through the front window of a shop. Bringing an exciting end to her strictly 50kph driving career.

I just can’t really understand it, how could you forget which pedal is which in the 2 seconds between taking your foot from the accelerator and wanting to put it on the brake? Perhaps it’s some sort of Goldfish memory syndrome. Regardless, it goes pretty wrong and when you are in an over-sized obnoxious 4WD it can go really wrong.

The clip below was taken from a gym carpark where someone clearly had a brake pedal-accelerator-brain-explosion and ended up playing monster truck on top of some innocent parked cars. My favourite part is the not so quick getaway after the crime.

Check it out below and remember your pedals and more importantly watch out for those who don’t.

Lotus Evora chassis on sale to other automakers

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Evora eagle f

Back in the Nineties, after Lotus introduced its original Elise, the company made it known that its new sportscar platform had been designed to be easily adapted to different applications and could accommodate different powertrains. Companies that were interested in the platform and wanted to use their own powertrains were welcome to contract with Lotus for use of the Elise’s underpinnings. Over the years, it spawned race cars, concept cars and the production of the Opel GT, Vauxhall VX220, and the Tesla Roadster.

Now that Lotus finally has its first all-new car in 14 years and several hundred Evoras have already been delivered to customers, the same offer is again on the table. This time around the Lotus Engineering team even have the Evora chassis ready to carry an electric powertrain.

The versatile architecture is made largely from aluminum extrusions which can be trimmed off in different sizes, allowing the chassis to be adjusted for length and width as required. Presently, no company has adopted the Evora’s architecture. However, given Tesla’s success in using the older Elise as a starting point and the more accommodating size of the Evora — it should be even more attractive to future customers.

BMW builds one-off M5 CSL for 25th Anniversary

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

BMW M5 CSL Anniversary fq

It’s hard to believe the BMW M5 has been around for 25 years now, but since the E28′s inaugural production run in 1985, the M5 has provided practical performance and won legions of fans globally. Recent reports are saying a new, lightweight version of the E60 M5, recently took to the track in Germany in celebration of the 25-year benchmark.

While the car hasn’t been officially announced or released yet, apparently the car is getting a modified version of the M5′s 507-horsepower V-10 engine, brought up to 5.5-liters in this CSL-type version thanks to a longer stroke which enables the car to churn out even more torque.

Reported power output of the enlarged powerplant is a whopping 580 horsepower and about 400 pound-feet of torque, indicating the engine is still a peaky, high-revving beast. The standard 5.0-liter version screams to an 8,400 rpm redline, though peak power comes on at 7,750 rpm.

In keeping with the lightweight nature of a CSL version of an M car BMW engineers have removed about 50kg from the big Bimmer’s weight. To get rid of the weight, some of the creature comforts were jettisoned and carbon fiber-backed front seats were fitted and the rear seat removed. .

Between the lightening and extra power, the prototype M5 CSL is expected to nip under the 4.0-second 0-100kph mark and generally provide better response and more edge, than the standard car.

It’s unlikely that this special-edition M5 will ever see production and it’s set to be a much coveted one-off anniversary special edition.

Entry-level Porsche rumours continue

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche 356 roadster fq

New details have come to light about Porsche’s long rumored entry-level model.

Recent reports state that the mid-engine sports car, tentatively dubbed the “new 356″, will cost approximately $54,022 USD. This makes it likely that the entry-level 2.9-litre Boxster will be eliminated when it is redesigned

Power will be provided by a turbocharge four-cylinder engine with 250bhp. While details are limited, the engine is expected to be engineered in a similar vein to Porsche’s current flat six but with a displacement of 1.9- or 2.0-litres.

The baby Porsche will ride on a new steel and aluminum platform, which will also be used for Audi’s upcoming R4, the Porsche should be lightweight and highly responsive. While the cars will share a common structure and several major components (the transmission, electrical system, and most likely some suspension pieces), they will both have unique styling and performance personalities.

The Audi R4 will be launched in June 2011 and the ‘new 356′ will arrive in late 2012.

Subaru Coupe – further details revealed

October 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Subaru Coupe renderings fq

It’s no longer a secret that Toyota and Subaru are collaborating on the build of a new sports coupe. While Toyota’s version will be derived from the FT-86 Concept car unveiled at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru’s interpretation is still under wraps… almost

Some details have leaked out including speculation about suitable engines. The engine thought most likely was a 2.0-litre turbo boxer making about 118kW (160hp). However, it now seems that the revised 2.0-litre turbo unit from either the Impreza 2.0 GT or the WRX STI will be used. But power is rumoured to be around 184kW (250hp) with a possible STI version making 227kW (308hp).

Subaru will further distance the 216A from the FT-86 through signature styling elements (as viewed in the pictured artist renderings), longer and wider dimensions and up to an extra 100kg in weight due to the AWD drivetrain. However, the closeness in actual wheelbase and overall length with the FT-86 mean the two could share many parts.

Pricing has been speculated at around ¥3 million ($45,700 NZ) when launched in Japan in 2011.

China’s Geely preferred Volvo buyer

October 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

China Geely

It’s been rumoured for months that Chinese automaker Geely looked likely to pick up the Volvo brand from Ford, and yesterday it was confirmed. Geely was named as the preferred bidder and negotiations are commencing. However, this is not going to be an easy deal to close. Ford isn’t interested in keeping any stake in the Swedish company, although it does hope to continue some product cooperation.

Despite desperately wanting rid of Volvo, Ford doesn’t want it to die off and wants whoever buys it to have the resources to make it a going concern. One difficult issue will be intellectual property concerns. Any time a manufacturer sale like this happens, the seller is worried about leaving too much information lying around, and that concern is understandably intensified when dealing with a hungry Chinese company. There is no word on when a deal might be closed but it’s sure to take some time.

Renault Twingo V8 Trophy is an extreme supermini (+video)

October 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lazereth Renault Twingo V8 fq

French tuners Lazareth Auto Moto have really gone to town in the creation of a unique Renault Twingo. Inspired by the competition Renault Megane Trophy and the Clio V6 Renault Sport, the car features a big ole 3.5-litre Range Rover V8 pumping out 147kW (200hp). The block doesn’t sit under the bonnet but behind the front seats where rear passengers once sat. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual gearbox.

Lazareth has kitted the car out with 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped up with Yokohama tyres, wider front and rear tracks, a massive rear diffuser and matt grey exterior paint. The suspension was modified and brakes upgraded.

Interior upgrades include Momo alcantara bucket seats and a sports steering wheel. A centrally-mounted Translogic digital display shows speed, revs per minute, a shift light, lap times and other information.

Check out a short video of the Lazareth Twingo Trophy V8 below and if you’re interested in getting one be ready to stump up €70,000 (NZ$142,500).

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