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Press Pass 2006

Subaru Makes Legacy Spec B a Full-Fledged Model for 2007
By Eric H. Chyo; images courtesy Subaru media
Sep 9, 2006, 22:54 PST
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No longer a limited edition model, Subaru brings the spec.B version of the Legacy 2.5 GT back for 2007 as a full fledged member of their product lineup. Only 500 units of the all wheel drive, performance enhanced sedan were brought to our shores last year. The spec.B returns for 2007 with new technological toys, performance and interior enhancements and more standard features.

When comparing the 2007 spec.B to last year’s model, a new rotary dial on the center console on this year’s model is immediately noticeable. No, it’s not Subaru’s version of BMW’s iDrive. Rather, it’s called Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), a new technology that can also be found on the 2007 Impreza WRX STI. SI-Drive allows the driver to select three levels of performance – “Intelligent,” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp.” The different settings adjust throttle response as well as fuel and ignition curves thereby varying the performance and response of the car.

Turn the silver dial to “Intelligent” mode, and engine torque and horsepower are reduced while the throttle response is softened, ideal for smooth around town driving. In addition, “Intelligent” mode boosts fuel economy by up to 10 percent. An upshift indicator light will illuminate in “Intelligent” mode alerting the driver to shift at the optimal point for maximum fuel efficiency.

“Sport” mode raises engine power and quickens the throttle response similar to that of the 2006 spec.B model. When the driver desires the most aggressive performance setting, “Sport Sharp” calibrates the electronic throttle and engine to their most responsive settings.

Other additions to this year’s model include a new 6 speed manual transmission originating from the rally car inspired WRX STI. Last year’s tranny offered only five cogs. Subaru revised the WRX STI’s gear ratios and refined the shift mechanism for use in the 2007 spec.B model. To further enhance the spec.B’s handling, a standard Torsen limited-slip rear differential has also been added on for 2007 as well.

Subaru adds more standard safety features this year by adding Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). The VDC system works in conjunction with Subaru’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system to transfer more power to either the front or rear set of wheels depending on wheel slippage.

In spite of all the performance and safety enhancements, the spec.B’s creature comforts have not been neglected as a new standard SRS WOW audio system with auxiliary jack for iPod and MP3 player connectability has been added. Drivers are treated to a new two position memory seat function for the 8-way power driver’s seat as well as a new Charcoal Gray leather trimmed upholstery with Dusk Blue Alcantara inserts replacing last year’s red leather interior. Increasing the storage space and utility of this hot four door is a new 60/40 split fold-down rear seat to appease the practical side of the performance minded driver. Further rounding out these interior features, all spec.B models also come with a standard touch screen navigation system.

The 2.5 liter turbocharged boxer engine carries over producing a heady 243 horsepower and 241 lb-ft of torque. The drop in horsepower from last year’s 250 horsepower rating is due to the revised SAE testing protocol. The spec.B specific Bilstein Sport suspension with inverted struts, 10 spoke 18-inch rims with high performance Bridgestone RE050A summer tires and beefed up brakes also carry forward in 2007.

The MSRP for the 2006 spec.B model was $33,995. Pricing has not yet been released for 2007, however, expect there to be a modest price increase to match the numerous enhancement to this year’s model.

Last year’s Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B was an already interesting family car alternative that would leave any Camry or Accord in its dust, let alone an Acura TL, Audi A4 or BMW 325i. However, not too many people were able to get their hands on a spec.B last year due to its limited production numbers. Now a regular production vehicle for 2007 with a list of performance, safety and interior upgrades and additions almost as long as its name, the Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is an even more compelling performance sedan to consider as long as Subaru can keep the price from climbing too high.

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