Vehicle Review - 2004 Subaru Legacy Turbo

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Your next turbo Subie awaits

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    We sampled a range of right-hand-drive next-generation 2.0-liter turbo and non-turbo Legacy sedans and wagons at Fuji Speedway in Japan. A U.S. version fitted with a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder arrives in dealerships next summer as a 2005 model.

    By BOB GRITZINGER
    (15:11:25 Sep. 05, 2003)

    So you say you’d love to own a Subaru WRX, with its torquey 227-hp turbocharged engine and rally suspension, but you can’t quite comfortably fit the family and all their gear into the compact car’s tight confines? And while the Legacy fits the bill for space and comfort, you’re not inspired by its 212-hp 3.0-liter flat-six, let alone its 165-hp 2.5-liter boxer-four?

    May we suggest you start saving your car-buying pennies now, because next summer your wants and needs will be met when Subaru brings a turbocharged Legacy back to the U.S. market for the first time in nearly a decade. (The last time Subaru sold a turbo Legacy in the United States was 1991-94, in the form of a Legacy Sport Sedan offered with a 161-hp 2.2-liter four.)

    Packing a version of the 2.5-liter dohc turbo flat-four that makes 210 hp in the 2004 Forester Turbo and 300 hp in the WRX STi, the 2005 Legacy will fall somewhere in between. In the Legacy, the engine will produce about 250 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque—exact figures are still being worked out—representing a giant leap forward for what had been some of Subaru’s most sedate sedans and wagons. In Japan, buyers get a 2004-model-year Legacy with a 2.0-liter turbo four that makes 276 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque.

    Non-turbo U.S. models, which arrive next April a few months ahead of the turbo editions, also get more horsepower. Look for 247 hp from a revised dohc 3.0-liter six, while the carryover sohc 2.5-liter gets a modest 5-hp bump to 170. Subaru engineers say the 3.0-liter is especially tuned for low-end power, while the carryover engine will likely remain at the same 166 lb-ft at 4000 rpm.

    Thanks to a nearly 200-pound weight reduction in the fourth-generation Legacy, all 2005 models will have a little more jump in their step. Unlike some manufacturers who meticulously pare weight ounce by precious ounce—and then dump it all back into the car by adding options like heavy sunroofs, monster sound systems and power controllers for everything—Subaru cut poundage for all the right reasons.

    “We did it for fuel efficiency, handling and performance,” said Kei Ono, Subaru’s general manager of overseas business planning. Ono now works at Subaru’s headquarters in Tokyo, but his 15-year stint at the company’s U.S. offices in New Jersey has given him a keen insight into the North American marketplace.

    Subaru engineers took some of the usual steps to cut weight, putting particular emphasis on cutting pounds at the Legacy’s outboard extremities, without sacrificing chassis rigidity. They replaced heavy steel frame components with lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel parts, tossed aside the stamped- steel sheetmetal hood for an aluminum one, substituted aluminum rear suspension lower control arms for heavy steel ones, and used an aluminum front bumper beam in place of steel. Yes, you can still get a sunroof on your Legacy, but the weight-cutting jihad led to a 15.5-pound weight reduction for the popular top-heavy feature.

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    Engineers also focused on lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity. A key change came under the lightweight hood, where engineers took further advantage of the already low- profile horizontally opposed engine (Subaru claims a four- to six-inch lower center of gravity compared to competitors’ V6 and I4 setups) by lowering the entire engine placement nearly half an inch at the center of the engine and nearly an inch at the front.

    Transmissions include Subaru’s five-speed automatic with automanual Sportshift as the only offering on 3.0-liter models; 2.5-liter turbo Legacys come with a standard five-speed manual or the optional Sportshift with steering wheel-mounted shift controls; normally aspirated 2.5-liter models are equipped with a standard five-speed manual or an optional four-speed automatic. Depending on customer interest, Subaru officials say a six-speed manual transmission could be offered in the future, possibly as part of a high-performance STi-tuned Legacy.

    While it could almost go without saying, all Legacy models feature Subaru’s decades-refined all-wheel-drive system, now marketed as “symmetrical all-wheel drive” as though it’s something new and different. Not to worry: While the advertising geniuses may have a new name for it, it remains true, at least in principle if not in hardware, to the Subie awd standard we’ve come to know and love.

    Base 2.5-liter U.S. models will come with 16-inch wheels and tires, while turbo and 3.0-liter models get 17-inchers (18-inch wheels are available on Japan-market turbo models).

    All turbo models get a more aggressive suspension setup.

    All the parts add up to major improvements in handling and performance. While our testing was limited to right-hand-drive Japan-market 2.0-liter turbos and 2.0-liter normally aspirated cars, big power isn’t the only story with this latest Legacy. The 276-hp turbo engine moves the 3108-pound car smartly off the line and holds its own through the rpm range. But the Legacy truly shines in harsh handling maneuvers where its balance belies its vanilla midsize intentions. Driven aggressively into a corner, the Legacy fitted with 17-inch tires challenges to the limit of adhesion, then begins to predictably understeer and is readily throttle-controlled back onto its proper line. Steering is nimble and direct, without a trace of twitching that might make it a bear for everyday driving, while braking is ample and well-balanced, with ABS taking control only in extreme stops.

    On the downside, not all of the manual shifter’s rubbery shortcomings can be attributed to left-hand shifting. With most U.S. buyers opting for autoboxes, we should note that several five-speed automatics overheated when driven hard through the gears via the Sportshift linkage. However, the tranny does provide excellent automatic gear management when set in sport mode and allowed to make its own decisions. Just imagine driving a real-world version of a World Rally video game car set in automatic transmission mode, and you get the idea.

    Driving dynamics aside, possibly the most improved attribute of the coming Legacy lies in its crisp, pre-Chris Bangle-era BMW-like styling (okay, with a hood scoop in some cases) and uncluttered, functional and handsome interior. With the new wrapper, the Legacy is likely to maintain its role in Japan as an aspirational car—one Subaru says drivers move up to after owning Hondas and Toyotas. But the sportier styling ought to play well in Peoria too, even though buyers pick the Outback with its higher ground clearance and rugged, outdoorsy trim by a wide margin over the regular Legacy.

    Legacy and Outback sedans and wagons should start at about $20,000 and push the mid-$30,000 range fully loaded.

    2004 SUBARU LEGACY
    ON SALE: Now (in Japan)
    BASE PRICE: $23,212 (est.)
    POWERTRAIN: 2.5-liter, 250-hp, 250-lb-ft turbocharged H4; awd, five-speed manual
    CURB WEIGHT: 3108 pounds

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  3. Rip The Jacker

    Rip The Jacker New Member

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    :cool: its about time.
     
  4. mucky

    mucky .

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    All this news is only for the JDM-specs and only speculations for the US-spec Legacy. Nothing is confirmed yet for what Subby is offering to the US. :hs:
     
  5. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :werd:

    "Around 250HP", we'll have to see. The interior doesn't look all that great either, not Honda/Toyota quality. The transmissions getting baked by manual shifting doesn't sound good as well...
     
  6. Johnny*MacBlayze

    Johnny*MacBlayze wassup? shut up!

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    the wagon looks hot
     
  7. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    best looking subaru ever
     
  8. Dos Equis4

    Dos Equis4 nebraska democrat (oxymoron?)

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    i would definetly roll that..

    when will the big 3 realize that turbo cars are a shitload of fun!

    subaru has had AWESOME success with the wrx, and STi.. i mean its stupid.
     
  9. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

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    See, this is the kind of car that usually only Japan or Europe gets. Nice to know this is coming stateside. :cool: Looks so hot!

    TriShield: That's manual shifting with an automatic.
     
  10. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    What the fuck is the point?

    They're going to offer a 250 hp V-6 model and a ~250 hp turbo model?
     
  11. Short Bus

    Short Bus Beep beep!

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    Only 3108 lbs? Surely it weighs more than that. The WRX weighs nearly that much and it's a smaller car. :confused:
     
  12. mucky

    mucky .

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    That's only in Japan. Japanese auto companies like to offer a wider range of motors to their customers over there. The turbo model is prefered in Europe because of the heavy tax on 6 cylinder vehicles. More than likely the turbo model won't come to the US.
     
  13. HisXLNC

    HisXLNC ๑۩۞۩๑ Hot ๑۩۞۩๑

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    The front end smells like Saab.
     
  14. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I know.
     
  15. iZero

    iZero Guest

    Subaru needs to keep a lid on the prices. That's something they haven't been good at in the past.
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    That's exactly what I thought. When I got to the part where the writer thought it looked like a pre Bangle BMW, I thought to myself it looks much more like a Saab.
     
  17. Chi_Town_GoD

    Chi_Town_GoD Guest

    from what i've heard before, the engine was supposed to be a detuned STI version.. :dunno:

    regardless, its going to be a very cool car :)
     
  18. Sideways

    Sideways Do I look like I give a damn?

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    Who cares about cooking the auto, the 2.5 Turbo Legacy will be offered with a 5 speed manual.
     
  19. RedVVing19

    RedVVing19 Steve Yzerman > Hockey

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    I love subaru, that is all
     
  20. turdburglar

    turdburglar chicken curry with naan

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    legacy wagon :bigthumb:
     
  21. Joe

    Joe 2015 :x: OT Supporter

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    when i first saw it, i thought it looked like an altima (2000)
     
  22. civicvtec1ps

    civicvtec1ps Guest

    awesome ride
     
  23. Type R Boy

    Type R Boy Guest

    I like it. Looks are there, has decent power and looks like it roomy for the family. This would make a good car for someone who is growing out of there WRX and needs to make room for the family.
     

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