- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

Surprisingly, there are still car buyers out there, even automotive enthusiasts, who believe Subaru builds only economy vehicles. The fact is, they do, indeed, build good economy-based vehicles. However, they have branched into, and have become proficient at, building high-performance automobiles. Subaru also has garnered a reputation that has made a huge mark on worldwide racing circuits.

Fortunately for we auto enthusiasts who feel we need our cars to operate on the street while retaining the ability to hit the track, Subaru makes many outstanding performance cars. It is here that the Legacy spec.B excels.

The Legacy spec.B is a car enthusiasts in North America have been impatiently waiting for. This car makes the daily grind of driving to work and back an adventure. I can clearly see owners leaving home much earlier than they need just to put more miles on this Subaru’s odometer.

It is that much fun to drive.

Approaching the spec.B Legacy from across a parking lot you might unwittingly mistake it as just another Japanese sedan. The car does not immediately stand out as one that would or could blow the doors off the majority of vehicles on the road.

Granted this is no 500-horsepower supercar. It is a vehicle you can own to drive to the market, especially if that market is on the other side of the mountain. The thrill of driving this Subaru becomes fully noticeable on those mountain roads. It is also one comfortable vehicle that is just as happy commuting to work. OK, maybe not that happy going to work; it is happest playing on twisting country roads. It will certainly make your commute much more enjoyable.

The U.S. adaptation — it was previously offered only in Japan and Europe — of the spec.B gains performance from a 250-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine. Coupled with a no-nonsense five-speed manual transmission, this car responds to the driver without hesitation. The engine offers plenty of immediate throttle response, unlike most turbocharged engines that, at times, have a second or so lag between pedal input and acceleration.

The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is outfitted with an exclusive Titanium Silver Metallic exterior color. The look is further enhanced by aerodynamic side ground-effect moldings with chrome trim and unique 18-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels. Adding 215/45 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A, low-profile performance tires extends the abilities of the suspension upgrades to deliver improved handling.

The firm suspension was meticulously revised for quick response and better road feel. The Bilstein Sport Suspension includes performance-tuned shock absorbers that instill flatter cornering response. The MacPherson strut front suspension is replaced with an inverted strut configuration similar to that found in the outstanding Impreza WRX STI. This suspension also includes front aluminum-alloy lower control arms.

A multilink rear suspension receives aluminum-alloy rear arms and upper links, replacing the normal cast-iron pieces. This reduces unsprung weight, which enhances handling.

What this all adds up to, is a four-door, five-passenger sedan that is capable of blowing the doors off of many of the so-called performance sports coupes on the road. The beauty of the whole thing is the respect Subaru gains by developing and offering a car like this for the average driver.

Although I do not see many average buyers coveting a Legacy specB. It is probably just a little too intimidating. Very few folks will get the chance since Subaru will only offer 500 of these special-edition automobiles in the U.S. at a base price of $33,995.

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