Subaru Legacy GT Spec B 2007 Review

Subaru Legacy GT Spec B 2007 Review

Subaru Legacy GT Spec B 2007 fq

“It’s a genuine RS RA,” the dealer assured me. “Just look at the gold rocker covers.” I was 23, and this was a white facelift RS RA Legacy (1991 or 1992, I can’t remember) with gold wheels, just landed from Japan. No spoilers and other ricey bits. RS RA models were rare, but a facelift one was as rare as the dentists that look after hens’ teeth. It was a sleeper, but with an exhaust that announced to the whole suburb that you were home to party, and some power to get you there quickly.

Being the RA version I had the luxury of less sound deadening. When the right-hand pedal was forced towards the firewall, the sound was glorious, but only when the special chip from Japan worked properly. Sometimes it was insanely quick, and other times a 1.6 Toyota Corona could own it. So I had the factory chip put back in and it put out a respectable and reliable 225hp.

At the time of my RS RA there was also a Legacy GT. It was a lesser powered, more luxurious version of the Legacy. I remember driving one and how it felt sluggish compared to the RS (the reason why I remember vividly is that I pulled out in front of someone, expecting the GT to rocket down the road, and that person probably didn’t have nice words to say about me that day after having to apply the brakes firmly). Subaru doesn’t make an RS any more because it has the WRX to fulfill the rally role — its most thrash-worthy Legacy is the 2008 GT Spec B.

The power delivered by this car is a lot more predictable and forceful, but is hampered by a lethargic auto ‘box. The delivery is like a young boy on a gokart at the top of a steep hill, and he wants dad to give him a push. Imagine the accelerator is pushed as soon as the kid starts talking. “Daddy, can you please push me.” “Sure, son.” Shove!

Even in the super sporty mode which you can select using a dial like BMW’s iDrive, the car deliberates before hurling you forward (with some quite considerable force). Surely it can make up for that with the signature Legacy throb, kind of like a WW2 Spitfire, accompanied by blurry scenery. All 184kW winds up in the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine but the aural magic doesn’t happen. The engine sounds like a constipated WWF wrestler in an adjacent (padded) toilet. Perfect for non-offensively zipping past Granny in her electron-powered Prius, but not satisfying when you’ve driven one of the McRae-style Legacys and want your forward momentum accompanied by tingling eardrums.

Careful with the throttle, or petrol bills mean you won’t leave a legacy (a financial one, at least). With some conservative driving I managed 13.2l/100km, way off the 10.9 claimed combined cycle. Subaru has its SI-Drive which they claim is three engines in one. Set it to I for Intelligent and it will try to sip fuel conservatively. It’s also very slow. Set it to S, and you have a pleasantly powerful grand tourer. Live on the edge and set it to Sport Sharp mode and it changes down earlier and up later.

In the automatic, large aluminium gearshift paddles are located on the steering column. Subaru does this well — the paddles are large and they don’t move with the Momo steering wheel. Controls for the cruise control and stereo live on the steering wheel spokes.

The smoked glass finish of the stereo and air conditioning looks good, yet in strong light you can’t read the LCD easily. The stereo does its job admirably being a six-stacker McIntosh with 14 speakers, and the air conditioning has dual controls.

Quite possibly the most annoying thing about the Legacy (and it’s the same with its brethren the Outback), is the gauge that indicates how much fuel you are using. Half of it is green, and the other half is yellow. Green means you’re driving in consideration of moths, squirrels and other flora and fauna; yellow means you’re having fun. The transition point seems to be at around 18l/100km. I tried to drive the Legacy while keeping the needle in the green, but if one of the aforementioned moths flaps its wings nearby causing a slight headwind into which you have to gently accelerate that needle is into the yellow faster than an oil sheik can smile. The gauge actually made me feel frustrated at the car — it’s so unforgiving that I gave up trying to drive it economically. Also, it’s pointless seeing as there’s a perfectly adequate trip computer that gives you instantaneous fuel usage.

I’ve said a few slightly negative things about this Legacy, and that may be because I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an event like my old RS RA, but it is actually quite good. It did a sterling job of transporting my mother and her voluminous three-day luggage back to the airport after Christmas. It handles exceptionally well, and it’s easy to be confident with the VDC (vehicle dynamic control) assisting you into corners. And the brakes with all their electronic assistance haul the Legacy up in a respectable distance. With all the safety features (5-star ANCAP crash rating, six airbags and symmetrical all-wheel drive) it’s a great family car that has a smart executive image with sleek styling and a comfortable leather interior. Just don’t expect to relive the Legacy of the halcyon pre-WRX era that Colin so aptly fired through the forests.

Price: From $59,990. Available in station wagon and sedan

What we like

  • Styling
  • Power
  • Stereo
  • Comfort

What we don’t like

  • Smallish boot in sedan
  • Auto ‘box is sluggish
  • Fuel usage gauge makes you frustrated at the car

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Brad Lord

GT Spec.B

Sedan

Wagon

Safety

6MT/ 5AT SS 6MT/ 5AT SS
ABS brakes with EBD/4-wheel disc brakes Y Y
Active front-seat head restraints Y Y
Child seat anchor points (ISOFIX) Y Y
Dual front airbags Y Y
Dual front side airbags Y Y
Front and rear side curtain airbags Y Y
Front seatbelt with pretensioner & load limiter Y Y
Rear door child lock Y Y
Ring-shaped reinforcement frame Y Y
Seatbelt warning lights – front & rear Y Y
Side intrusion bars Y Y
Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Y Y
3 point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt Y Y

Interior

Tilt adjustable and telescopic steering column Y Y
Alarm system Y Y
Aluminium foot pedals Y Y
Air conditioning – Dual-zone climate control Y Y
6 stack in-dash McIntosh  CD with 14 speakers Y Y
Cargo area light Y Y
Cargo security blind Y
Centre through rear seat Y
Cruise control with steering wheel controls Y Y
Cup holders (illuminated) Y Y
8-way power front seat driver & passenger driver & passenger
Immobiliser security system Y Y
Intermittent wipers Y Y
Leather steering wheel, gearshift, park brake Y Y
Momo steering wheel Y Y
Map lights (2) Y Y
Multi-function trip computer Y Y
Power-steering, mirrors & windows Y Y
Remote fuel lid release Y Y
Seat back nets Y Y
SPORTSHIFT¹ with paddle shift controls auto only auto only
Sports seats Y Y
Trim level leather leather
60/40 split fold rear seat Y

Exterior

18″ alloy wheels (4) – space saver spare Y Y
Dual exhaust system Y Y
Electric sunroof Y Y
Fog lamps – front Y Y
Headlights auto off Y Y
Self-levelling xenon (low beam) headlights with waster Y Y
Rear roof spoiler Y
Rear tinted windows Y Y
Rear wiper Y Y
Roof rails Y

Other Features

Auto boot release on key Y Y
Bilstein sports suspension Y Y
DataDot technology Y Y
Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Y Y
3 Year/Unlimited km warranty Y Y
Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) Y Y

GT Spec.B

Sedan

Wagon

Dimensions & Weight 6MT 5AT SS 6MT 5AT SS
Overall length (mm) 4665 4665 4720 4720
Overall width (mm) 1730 1730 1730 1730
Overall height (mm) 1425 1425 1470 1470
Wheel base (mm) 2670 2670 2670 2670
Tread front (mm) 1495 1495 1495 1495
Tread rear (mm) 1490 1490 1485 1485
Min. ground clearance* (mm) 160 160 160 160
Boot capacity (rear seat up/down) 433 433 459/1649
Unladen mass (kg) 1545 1545 1580 1580
Engine
Type DOHC turbo with AVCS
Bore x stroke (mm) 99.5 x 79.0
Displacement (l/cc) 2.5 / 2457
Compression ratio 8.4:1
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 64
Fuel System Multi-point sequential injection
Min. fuel octane rating req. (RON ULP) 95

Performance

Max. Output DIN (kW/RPM) 184 / 6000
Max. Torque DIN (Nm/RPM) 339 / 3600
Fuel consumption (ADR81/01)** Combined (L/100km) 10.9
CO2 emissions (ADR81/01)** Combined (gm/km) 260
Transaxle
Transmission type manual auto manual auto
1st 3.636 3.540 3.636 3.540
2nd 2.235 2.264 2.235 2.264
3rd 1.521 1.471 1.521 1.471
4th 1.137 1.000 1.137 1.000
5th 0.891 0.834 0.891 0.834
6th 0.707 0.707
Rev. 3.545 2.370 3.545 2.370
Final reduction gear ratio 3.900(f) 3.545(r) 3.272 3.900(f) 3.545(r) 3.272

Chassis

Steering Engine speed sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion
Front suspension Coil suspension, McPherson strut type, Bilstein shock absorber
Rear suspension Coil suspension, multi-link type, Bilstein shock absorber
Brakes – front Ventilated discs
Brakes – rear Ventilated discs
Min. turning circle (at tyre) (m) 10.8 10.8 10.8 10.8
Tyres (steel belted radial, tubeless) 215/ 45 R18 89W

Towing

With brakes (kg) 1500 1500 1500 1500
Without brakes (kg) 710 710 710 710

Subaru Legacy GT Spec B 2007 fq

“It’s a genuine RS RA,” the dealer assured me. “Just look at the gold rocker covers.” I was 23, and this was a white facelift RS RA Legacy (1991 or 1992, I can’t remember) with gold wheels, just landed from Japan. No spoilers and other ricey bits. RS RA models were rare, but a facelift one was as rare as the dentists that look after hens’ teeth. It was a sleeper, but with an exhaust that announced to the whole suburb that you were home to party, and some power to get you there quickly.

Being the RA version I had the luxury of less sound deadening. When the right-hand pedal was forced towards the firewall, the sound was glorious, but only when the special chip from Japan worked properly. Sometimes it was insanely quick, and other times a 1.6 Toyota Corona could own it. So I had the factory chip put back in and it put out a respectable and reliable 225hp.

At the time of my RS RA there was also a Legacy GT. It was a lesser powered, more luxurious version of the Legacy. I remember driving one and how it felt sluggish compared to the RS (the reason why I remember vividly is that I pulled out in front of someone, expecting the GT to rocket down the road, and that person probably didn’t have nice words to say about me that day after having to apply the brakes firmly). Subaru doesn’t make an RS any more because it has the WRX to fulfill the rally role — its most thrash-worthy Legacy is the 2008 GT Spec B.

The power delivered by this car is a lot more predictable and forceful, but is hampered by a lethargic auto ‘box. The delivery is like a young boy on a gokart at the top of a steep hill, and he wants dad to give him a push. Imagine the accelerator is pushed as soon as the kid starts talking. “Daddy, can you please push me.” “Sure, son.” Shove!

Even in the super sporty mode which you can select using a dial like BMW’s iDrive, the car deliberates before hurling you forward (with some quite considerable force). Surely it can make up for that with the signature Legacy throb, kind of like a WW2 Spitfire, accompanied by blurry scenery. All 184kW winds up in the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine but the aural magic doesn’t happen. The engine sounds like a constipated WWF wrestler in an adjacent (padded) toilet. Perfect for non-offensively zipping past Granny in her electron-powered Prius, but not satisfying when you’ve driven one of the McRae-style Legacys and want your forward momentum accompanied by tingling eardrums.

Careful with the throttle, or petrol bills mean you won’t leave a legacy (a financial one, at least). With some conservative driving I managed 13.2l/100km, way off the 10.9 claimed combined cycle. Subaru has its SI-Drive which they claim is three engines in one. Set it to I for Intelligent and it will try to sip fuel conservatively. It’s also very slow. Set it to S, and you have a pleasantly powerful grand tourer. Live on the edge and set it to Sport Sharp mode and it changes down earlier and up later.

In the automatic, large aluminium gearshift paddles are located on the steering column. Subaru does this well — the paddles are large and they don’t move with the Momo steering wheel. Controls for the cruise control and stereo live on the steering wheel spokes.

The smoked glass finish of the stereo and air conditioning looks good, yet in strong light you can’t read the LCD easily. The stereo does its job admirably being a six-stacker McIntosh with 14 speakers, and the air conditioning has dual controls.

Quite possibly the most annoying thing about the Legacy (and it’s the same with its brethren the Outback), is the gauge that indicates how much fuel you are using. Half of it is green, and the other half is yellow. Green means you’re driving in consideration of moths, squirrels and other flora and fauna; yellow means you’re having fun. The transition point seems to be at around 18l/100km. I tried to drive the Legacy while keeping the needle in the green, but if one of the aforementioned moths flaps its wings nearby causing a slight headwind into which you have to gently accelerate that needle is into the yellow faster than an oil sheik can smile. The gauge actually made me feel frustrated at the car — it’s so unforgiving that I gave up trying to drive it economically. Also, it’s pointless seeing as there’s a perfectly adequate trip computer that gives you instantaneous fuel usage.

I’ve said a few slightly negative things about this Legacy, and that may be because I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t an event like my old RS RA, but it is actually quite good. It did a sterling job of transporting my mother and her voluminous three-day luggage back to the airport after Christmas. It handles exceptionally well, and it’s easy to be confident with the VDC (vehicle dynamic control) assisting you into corners. And the brakes with all their electronic assistance haul the Legacy up in a respectable distance. With all the safety features (5-star ANCAP crash rating, six airbags and symmetrical all-wheel drive) it’s a great family car that has a smart executive image with sleek styling and a comfortable leather interior. Just don’t expect to relive the Legacy of the halcyon pre-WRX era that Colin so aptly fired through the forests.

Price: From $59,990. Available in station wagon and sedan

What we like

  • Styling
  • Power
  • Stereo
  • Comfort

What we don’t like

  • Smallish boot in sedan
  • Auto ‘box is sluggish
  • Fuel usage gauge makes you frustrated at the car

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Brad Lord

GT Spec.B

Sedan

Wagon

Safety

6MT/ 5AT SS 6MT/ 5AT SS
ABS brakes with EBD/4-wheel disc brakes Y Y
Active front-seat head restraints Y Y
Child seat anchor points (ISOFIX) Y Y
Dual front airbags Y Y
Dual front side airbags Y Y
Front and rear side curtain airbags Y Y
Front seatbelt with pretensioner & load limiter Y Y
Rear door child lock Y Y
Ring-shaped reinforcement frame Y Y
Seatbelt warning lights – front & rear Y Y
Side intrusion bars Y Y
Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Y Y
3 point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt Y Y

Interior

Tilt adjustable and telescopic steering column Y Y
Alarm system Y Y
Aluminium foot pedals Y Y
Air conditioning – Dual-zone climate control Y Y
6 stack in-dash McIntosh  CD with 14 speakers Y Y
Cargo area light Y Y
Cargo security blind Y
Centre through rear seat Y
Cruise control with steering wheel controls Y Y
Cup holders (illuminated) Y Y
8-way power front seat driver & passenger driver & passenger
Immobiliser security system Y Y
Intermittent wipers Y Y
Leather steering wheel, gearshift, park brake Y Y
Momo steering wheel Y Y
Map lights (2) Y Y
Multi-function trip computer Y Y
Power-steering, mirrors & windows Y Y
Remote fuel lid release Y Y
Seat back nets Y Y
SPORTSHIFT¹ with paddle shift controls auto only auto only
Sports seats Y Y
Trim level leather leather
60/40 split fold rear seat Y

Exterior

18″ alloy wheels (4) – space saver spare Y Y
Dual exhaust system Y Y
Electric sunroof Y Y
Fog lamps – front Y Y
Headlights auto off Y Y
Self-levelling xenon (low beam) headlights with waster Y Y
Rear roof spoiler Y
Rear tinted windows Y Y
Rear wiper Y Y
Roof rails Y

Other Features

Auto boot release on key Y Y
Bilstein sports suspension Y Y
DataDot technology Y Y
Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Y Y
3 Year/Unlimited km warranty Y Y
Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-DRIVE) Y Y

GT Spec.B

Sedan

Wagon

Dimensions & Weight 6MT 5AT SS 6MT 5AT SS
Overall length (mm) 4665 4665 4720 4720
Overall width (mm) 1730 1730 1730 1730
Overall height (mm) 1425 1425 1470 1470
Wheel base (mm) 2670 2670 2670 2670
Tread front (mm) 1495 1495 1495 1495
Tread rear (mm) 1490 1490 1485 1485
Min. ground clearance* (mm) 160 160 160 160
Boot capacity (rear seat up/down) 433 433 459/1649
Unladen mass (kg) 1545 1545 1580 1580
Engine
Type DOHC turbo with AVCS
Bore x stroke (mm) 99.5 x 79.0
Displacement (l/cc) 2.5 / 2457
Compression ratio 8.4:1
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 64
Fuel System Multi-point sequential injection
Min. fuel octane rating req. (RON ULP) 95

Performance

Max. Output DIN (kW/RPM) 184 / 6000
Max. Torque DIN (Nm/RPM) 339 / 3600
Fuel consumption (ADR81/01)** Combined (L/100km) 10.9
CO2 emissions (ADR81/01)** Combined (gm/km) 260
Transaxle
Transmission type manual auto manual auto
1st 3.636 3.540 3.636 3.540
2nd 2.235 2.264 2.235 2.264
3rd 1.521 1.471 1.521 1.471
4th 1.137 1.000 1.137 1.000
5th 0.891 0.834 0.891 0.834
6th 0.707 0.707
Rev. 3.545 2.370 3.545 2.370
Final reduction gear ratio 3.900(f) 3.545(r) 3.272 3.900(f) 3.545(r) 3.272

Chassis

Steering Engine speed sensitive power-assisted rack & pinion
Front suspension Coil suspension, McPherson strut type, Bilstein shock absorber
Rear suspension Coil suspension, multi-link type, Bilstein shock absorber
Brakes – front Ventilated discs
Brakes – rear Ventilated discs
Min. turning circle (at tyre) (m) 10.8 10.8 10.8 10.8
Tyres (steel belted radial, tubeless) 215/ 45 R18 89W

Towing

With brakes (kg) 1500 1500 1500 1500
Without brakes (kg) 710 710 710 710
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