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At The Wheel

 

2005 Subaru Legacy GT Limited Sedan

The four door that doesn't bore.

by Frederick J. Staab  CruiseControlRadio.Com

 

You have seen the used car newspaper ads: “Must-sell, getting married,” “For sale, baby on the way.” They are the printed good-byes to owner’s performance cars, necessitated by life-changing events. Then comes the gut check – that new four-door sedan headed for residency in your driveway will sport a 0 to 60 time north of 10 seconds and all the excitement of a sandwich on stale white bread. Is your only choice is to surrender into the driving mediocrity, swapping family practically for performance?


Perhaps the completely redesigned for 2005 Subaru Legacy GT offers all the excitement of a sports car with the everyday utility of a four-door sedan. Our obsidian black pearl test car looked up to the task of bridging both worlds. The dark color suggested a car that is longer and lower than the Legacy’s 186.2-inch length. The exterior is clean, smooth and upscale. The aluminum hood is punctuated by a well-integrated hood scoop that feeds cold air directly to the 2.5-liter intercooled, turbocharged, four-cylinder, horizontally opposed Subaru boxer engine. The engine screams like a banshee on the highway with a bountiful return of 250 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and a matching 250 lb.-ft. of torque at a leisurely 3,600 rpm. Those numbers could embarrass some current production V-8s.

From the side, the Legacy GT’s exterior follows the common wedge, low in front, high in back design. The C pillar gets a small window, and the rear glass slopes gracefully to the rear deck. The clean and smooth treatment carries on in the rear, where thankfully, the trunk lid does not include a high-rise spoiler. The small (by today standards) 17-inch wheels with 215/45 ZR rated all-season rubber tuck tightly into the wells.



Our test car’s powerful turbo four cylinder connected up to five-speed manual that is capable of converting even the most diehard automatic fan to the world of driver-controlled shifting. Clutch feel and take-up was smooth with just the right amount of resistance.

If you are driving a Subaru, it’s got all-wheel drive (AWD). In the case of the 2005 Legacy, it comes in the form of a symmetrical AWD with 45 percent of power directed to the front axle and 55 percent to the rear. GT models get an exclusive viscous-type limited-slip rear differential. I found the system completely eradicated; any torque-induced pull in the steering felt directly connected to the transmission and engine. There was no sloppiness or rubber-band bounciness that is sometimes the side effect of  AWD systems on other vehicles.

Subaru AWD excellence should not
come as a surprise to anyone, since the company built its reputation on vehicles where all four wheels get with the program. During the 1990s, Subaru owned the all-wheel-drive car business, marketing to teachers and nurses and other professionals who wanted get to work on snowy or inclement days but did not want to drive a full-size 4x4 pickup or SUV year round.

Today, the automotive landscape has changed. Other manufactures offer AWD systems in sedans and wagons with plenty more models on the way. The Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle and the Dodge Magnum are three examples.

Since AWD sedans are no longer unique to the Subaru lineup, the company finds itself at a crossroads. Part of the solution is to take the product more upscale with the targets  drawn on the likes of BMW and Audi. The fruits of this plan are readily apparent on the inside of the Legacy. Dash pad and panel fit were razor thin. Silver titanium accents and trims are darker in color, making them seem more high end, and the sporty instruments get electroluminescent illumination, a feature normally found in more expensive sedans.

Performance-favoring family members will ride in comfort thanks to leather-covered seats with perforated inserts. Up front, driver and passenger get to enjoy heavily bolstered buckets with four-stage heaters and active head restrains. Drivers will also appreciate the MOMO three-spoke steering wheel. And since the idea of this exercise is to find a safe and comfortable sporty family transporter, it’s important to note that the Legacy GT comes standard with side curtain air bags. The cavernous trunk, which holds 11.4 cubic feet of gear, is nicely finished with an underfloor storage tray, 12-volt plug and grocery bag holders.

Don’t despair if your family is growing and that two seater just does not make sense anymore. If you can’t bring yourself to drive a minivan, you can buy a quality, no-compromise AWD sporty five-speed sedan with room for the family. For just over $29,000, you can feel responsible, practical and even invigorated every time you hit the accelerator.

LINKS : www.subaru.com Manufacturers site

              

               www.swrt.com  Subaru World Rally Team

 

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