Subaru Legacy GT Spec B Premium Wagon 2013 Review

Subaru Legacy GT Spec B Premium Wagon 2013 Review

Mention a Legacy GT Spec B to anyone of my generation (born in the ‘70s) who had an interest in cars when they were in their 20s and you’ll be regaled usually with fond memories of either ownership, mates who owned one, or the intoxication of the throbbing boxer engine. For those of you who remember the Friday night cruises up Queen Street, those old four-cylinder turbo Legacys in both sedan and wagon form were a fixture of the scene from 1989 through to the early 2000s. It was the mixture of capacious storage and the power to win the traffic lights grand prix that made them so appealing. subaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-rear-quartersubaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-front-interiorBut times move on and the Legacy isn’t any longer the fantasy car of practical boy racers. But should it be? We drove the Legacy X just a few weeks ago. It was quite good, but lacked the old Subaru character and certainly wasn’t fast. Now we’ve got our mitts on this Legacy GT B Premium spec, and it somewhat redresses the balance. It harks back to those original performance Legacys with the bonnet scoop and the kind of acceleration that frightens your granny. Neither the scoop or performance are extreme like they were on some of the Subaru WRX STI models in the past, but they’re there to remind you that in this Legacy the engine needs more than just the air that flows through the grille, and it will reward you with smiles. This vent channels cold air onto the top-mounted intercooler, which improves the turbo’s performance. Power is 195kW and 350Nm from the 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol motor, and it’s driven through a five-speed automatic. This is much better for this type of car than Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT gearbox, but it’s not the most responsive of gearboxes, especially when you compare it to, say, a DSG gearbox in a Volkswagen. 0-100kph feels like it’s in the low 6-second range, though no figure is given by Subaru. It’s not lightning fast off the line, but better when you’re moving. Gear shifts need to be anticipated because they’re a little slow even in manual mode.

subaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-sidesubaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-front-interiorThe Legacy X looks like it’s on stilts – too tall for its width – while the GT B tames that back and looks more in proportion. Legacys have always looked a little ungainly, even going right back to Colin McRae’s rally-liveried Legacy in 1989. They benefit greatly looks-wise from being lowered. But, you wouldn’t want to lower the GT B because the suspension boffins at Subaru have done such a sterling job of tweaking the ride that you have to do ridiculous speeds to even feel like it’s unsettled. For example, the south eastern motorway off ramp in Auckland is sign posted 45kph as it does a sharp turn right to pass under the southern motorway. How about 80kph (the posted speed limit on that stretch of road) on damp tarmac with the car feeling like you could add another 20kph and still get around? That is how good the Legacy’s suspension is – probably better than any other station wagon for the price. There’s no compromise on interior comfort, either. It’s not like just because this Legacy is perfectly poised and balanced in the corners that you have to suffer rigid, non-compliant bumpiness for your everyday motoring. The seats are excellent and the driving position can be set perfectly. subaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-rear-seatsWhere the interior is let down is the entertainment system with graphics a la Windows 3.1 and a fiddly interface for Bluetooth connection. You will also be disabling the over-zealous lane departure warning system in cities because it picks up all manner of lines that have nothing to do with where you are driving and consequently is constantly beeping at you for something. This is part of Subaru’s EyeSight system which consists of a camera either side of the wing mirror. These two cameras create a 3D image of the road ahead and can tell if you’re in danger of a fender-bender. They allow for adaptive cruise control without using radar, and enables the car to brake for you if it thinks a collision is unavoidable. subaru-legacy-gt.b-2013-bootStation wagons are useful load carriers and with the split folding rear seats you can fit 1690 litres in the back. With the rear seats up it’s 490 litres. The Legacy will tow 1800kg on a braked trailer. Rear seat legroom is average for a station wagon of this side. The rear seats themselves are comfortable, and you get a couple of air con vents in the centre. Even in the back, the 10-speaker McIntosh sound system produces a good wash of aural pleasure. While the Legacy GT Spec B doesn’t quite capture the atmosphere of those previous models with their throbbing boxer engine, handling and refinement is leagues ahead. The symmetrical all-wheel drive system is superb, and Subaru’s rally heritage is utilised to the max in the handling prowess it displays. Without that boxer noise it becomes slightly stealthier – certainly my neighbours would have appreciated that much more when I owned one in the mid-‘90s and used to leave home at 6.30am. Price: $59,990


  • Supreme handling
  • Comfort


  • User interface issues


Transmission Automatic
5-speed automatic transmission with manual mode Yes
6-speed manual transmission
Gear ratio 1st 3.540
Gear ratio 2nd 2.264
Gear ratio 3rd 1.474
Gear ratio 4th 1.000
Gear ratio 5th 0.834
Gear ratio 6th
Gear ratio reverse 2.370
Final reduction gear ratio 3.083


Engine Automatic
Engine Type Turbocharged horizontally-opposed Boxer 4-cylinder, petrol engine
Bore x stroke 99.5mm x 79.0mm
Capacity 2457cc
Compression ratio 8.4 : 1
Valve mechanism DOHC with Dual AVCS
Fuel tank capacity 65 litres
Fuel system Multi point sequential injection
Fuel requirement 95RON minimum


Performance @ Automatic
Maximum power output (DIN) 195kW@5600rpm
Maximum torque (DIN) 350Nm@2400-5200
Electronic Throttle Control system (ETC) Drive-by-wire
Fuel consumption (ADR 81/02)^ – combined 9.7 l/100km
Fuel consumption (ADR 81/02)^ – urban 13.4 l/100km
Fuel consumption (ADR 81/02)^ – extra urban 7.5 l/100km
CO2 emissions (ADR 81/02) combined 228 g/km
Emission standards EURO4

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

Symmetrical All Wheel Drive Automatic
Centre Differential with a Viscous Limited Slip Differential
Variable Torque Distribution Yes


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


Suspension Automatic
Front McPherson strut type, independent suspension with Bilstein shock absorber
Rear Double wishbone type, independent suspension with Bilstein shock absorber


Wheels and Tyres Automatic
Tyre manufacturer Bridgestone
Tyres (width, profile, size, load index and speed rating) 225/45 R18 91W
Rim size 18×7.5JJ
Wheels 18″
Spare wheel 205/50 R17 89V “Temporary steel wheel”


Measurement Automatic
Overall length 4785mm
Overall width 1780mm
Overall height 1535mm
Wheel base 2750mm
Front track 1530mm
Rear track 1535mm
Minimum ground clearance~ 150mm
Cargo volume – rear seat up 490 litres
Cargo volume – rear seat down 1690 litres
Seating capacity 5
Tare mass> 1577kg


Towing Automatic
With trailer brakes 1800kg
Without trailer brakes 750kg
Maximum tow ball down load 180kg

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