Subaru is well-known for knocking out special edition models of their performance-minded lineup at the rate of about one every 15 minutes. Problem is, historically we haven't had access to them here in the U.S.-- they've largely been Japan-only, UK-only, or mainland Europe exclusives. For Stateside automobile aficionados, it's been tortuous stuff.

Fortunately, Subaru has been showing signs that it is ready to ingratiate itself more thoroughly with American enthusiasts. Last year, it brought a limited run of 500 units of its Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B to U.S. dealers, and this year, it returns as a regular production model. For 2007, the already excellent Scooby sedan gets a reworked version of the six-speed manual gearbox found in the WRX STi, along with Vehicle Dynamics Control (a stability control system previously only seen on the B9 Tribeca and high-end Outbacks) and a tire pressure monitoring system. Underneath, it also arrives with the Bilstein Sport Suspension of last year's spec.B, incorporating inverted struts up front and aluminum lower control arms. The rear architecture has been subtly reworked as well, incorporating aluminum rear arms and upper links (lesser Legacy models make do with cast iron bits).

(More impressions and press conference shots, plus dozens of stock images and press release after the jump!)

 

The exterior is subtly marked-out with unique 18" multispoke alloys and arrives shod with summer performance tires (Bridgestone Potenza RE050As). Inside, the spec.B gets a unique Charcoal Gray leather with Dusk Blue Alcantara faux-suede inserts. The standard power driver's seat now comes with a memory function, and the spec.B also gains a reworked MOMO tri-spoke wheel with audio controls, aluminum pedal-covers, and the obligatory spec.B floor mats. Satellite navigation is also standard on the spec.B.

Perhaps most importantly, the spec.B marques the introduction of the automaker's "Subaru-Intelligent Drive." When the flat-screens at the press conference flickered to life with the word "SI-Drive" and showed a close-up image of a knurled silver knob on the center console, a few journalists nearly lost their lunches thinking that Subie had gone and created a knock-off of BMW's iDrive. Fortunately, the reality is something altogether different.

Unlike BMW's Bangled bungled multi-function interface, the SI-Drive's mission is simple: maximize engine performance. The three-position rotary switch - "Intelligent," "Sport" and "Sport Sharp." By adjusting the SI-Drive, spec.B pilots can alter the boxer engine's throttle response, as well as fuel and ignition curves. With "Intelligent" mode selected, the system lazes into a more relaxed throttle response curve, which doesn't sound terribly exciting for enthusiasts, but is said to help smooth the drivetrain's responses for pottering around in commuter traffic while realizing an increase in fuel economy of up to 10 percent. A 'shift up' light on the dashboard is part of the frugality.

"Sport" mode is the all-around setting, with quickened throttle response and more powerful acceleration, which Subaru claims is "... ideal for driving on freeways and suburban streets or for climbing mountain roads."

It follows, then, that "Sport Sharp" is likely to become the enthusiast's favorite, with more aggressive throttle mapping ideal for B-road blasts, track days, and anytime drivers are looking for a little extra muscle. Regardless of mode, a small telltale display sits below the tachometer to keep tabs on the current setting, offering an "active torque curve display" and trip computer features.

SI-Drive will also become available on certain mainstream Outbacks and Legacy models, including those equipped with the company's five-speed automatic. In this guise, the knob also governs transmission shift patterns, holding gears longer and downshifting more quickly when given the boot.

We're anxious to see whether the SI-Drive represents a genuine improvement in the Legacy's already substantial performance envelope, or if its just another 'set it and forget it' electronic doodad best left off the menu. We're also curious about the spec.B's pricing, as the 2006 model started with a not-insubstantial $33.995 MSRP.

Stock Shots:

2007 SUBARU LEGACY¨ 2.5 GT spec.B DEBUTS NEW SI-DRIVE PERFORMANCE SYSTEM AND 6-SPEED TRANSMISSION

 

· New SI-Drive Enables Driver to Select Engine Performance Level

· VDC Stability System Supports Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

· New Audio System Offers Satellite Radio Capability 

 
 

NEW YORK, April 13, 2006 – Subaru of America, Inc., America’s All-Wheel Drive leader, today unveiled the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B performance sedan at the New York International Auto Show. The introduction spotlights Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), a key new technology that enhances driving engagement by allowing the driver to select the level of engine performance.

 

First offered for 2006 in a limited edition production run of 500 units, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B returns as a regular production model for 2007, featuring a host of performance and interior enhancements. In addition to the new SI-Drive system, the 2007 spec.B also gains a modified version of the 6-speed manual transmission from the Impreza¨ WRX¨ STI¨, plus the advanced Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The 6-speed transmission is tailored to suit the spec.B’s refined driving characteristics and features unique gear ratios and a smoother shifting operation than the version used in the WRX STI.

Like all Subaru models, the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment. The 2.5-liter intercooled turbo Boxer engine in the spec.B produces 243 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 241 lb.-ft. of peak torque @ 3,600 rpm. Subaru Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing optimizes power at all engine speeds. The new Subaru SI-Drive system will also be standard on all Legacy 2.5 GT Limited and Outback¨ 2.5 XT Limited models for 2007 (all are powered by the same engine).

In its 2006 form, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B has already shown its taillights to a number of premium brand sport sedans. The 2007 model carries forward the Bilstein¨ Sport Suspension with inverted front struts, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and high-performance tires.

Once again, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B features an exclusive interior design, for 2007 featuring Charcoal Gray leather-trimmed upholstery with Dusk Blue Alcantara¨ inserts.

A new standard SRS¨ WOW audio system brings a new sonic performance and quality to the Legacy line, plus MP3 and Windows¨ Media Audio (WMA) playback and an input jack for iPods and other portable audio devices. All Legacy and Outback audio systems for 2007 offer XM Satellite Radio capability.

 

 

SI-Drive: Three Engines in One

The new SI-Drive system allows the driver to maximize engine performance, control and efficiency by choosing from among three selectable modes – “Intelligent” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console.

 

The SI-Drive controls the electronic throttle system’s response and fuel and ignition curves to modify engine torque characteristics, changing the performance character of the car in each mode. With Intelligent mode selected, the system reduces engine torque and maximum power and switches to a more relaxed throttle response curve. Intelligent mode is an ideal choice for smoother response while commuting in traffic, for example, where it can also help boost fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. In addition, Intelligent mode’s more relaxed responses and lower torque output make it an ideal complement to the low-traction surface driving safety provided by the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System.

In “Sport” mode, the performance of the 2.5 GT spec.B (and other 2007 turbo Legacy and Outback models) is similar to the 2006 model, with quick throttle responses and powerful, linear acceleration. The linear acceleration characteristic of this versatile mode makes it ideal for driving on freeways and suburban streets or for climbing mountain roads.

 

In “Sport Sharp” mode, SI-Drive modifies the engine’s electronic throttle mapping to deliver lightning quick throttle response and more power sooner. Delivering maximum driving enjoyment, this mode is ideal for tackling twisty roads and for merging or overtaking other vehicles on the highway with confidence.

On 2007 Legacy and Outback models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission (not available on Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B), SI-Drive also changes the transmission’s shift patterns. It will hold each gear longer through the rpm range and downshift more quickly under hard acceleration, depending on the mode selected.

The SI-Drive system includes instrument panel displays that allow the driver to monitor performance. The multi-information display located in the tachometer face – in addition to providing trip computer functions – denotes the selected SI-Drive mode and provides an active torque curve display.

When “Intelligent” mode is selected in vehicles with a manual transmission, a shift-up indicator blinks to signal the optimal shift point for maximum fuel efficiency.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Vehicle Dynamics Control

The 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is equipped with one of the industry’s most effective combinations of all-weather handling technologies: Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive plus Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), a stability system that was previously available only on the B9 Tribeca SUV model and the top-line Outback.

Teamed with a manual transmission as in the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs a viscous-coupling locking center differential with a normal 50:50 torque split. Slippage at the front or rear wheels will transfer more power to the opposite set. Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) is an advanced stability system that can help keep the vehicle going in the direction the driver is steering, especially in slippery road conditions. The system can be deactivated for conditions that require some wheel slippage, such as extricating the car from deep snow. New for 2007, a Torsen¨ limited-slip rear differential helps to optimize traction at the rear wheels.

Exclusive Bilstein Sport Suspension

The exclusive Bilstein Sport Suspension equips the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B model with performance-tuned shock absorbers for improved cornering response. Subaru replaced the MacPherson strut front suspension of other Legacy models with an inverted strut configuration similar to that in the rally-bred Impreza WRX STI, including aluminum-alloy lower control arms.

The multi-link rear suspension features aluminum-alloy rear arms and upper links in place of cast-iron pieces to reduce unsprung weight (and thereby enhance handling response). Finally, the 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with 215/45 R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A summer performance tires. (The standard Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models feature 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires.)

A 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is standard on all Legacy models. The 2.5 GT Limited and 2.5 GT spec.B models employ larger brake rotors than other Legacy models, with ventilated rear discs in place of solid discs.

Distinct, Sophisticated Design – Outside and In

The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B not only appeals to driving enthusiasts for its performance, but for its appearance that is both distinctive and “stealthy.” The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is quickly identified by its aerodynamic side ground-effects moldings with chrome trim. The road-hugging stance of the spec.B is further accentuated by the exclusive 18-inch wheels.

The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B continues with its own exclusive interior, with the 2007 model featuring new Charcoal Gray leather-trimmed upholstery with Dusk Blue Alcantara inserts in place of the 2006 model’s Brick Red leather-trimmed upholstery.

The standard 8-way power driver’s seat gains a memory function for 2007, and the interior is further differentiated from the Legacy 2.5 GT Limited model by aluminum-alloy pedal covers, a 3-spoke MOMO¨ leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls and “spec.B” floor mats. The Subaru Navigation System remains standard on the spec.B model and available for all automatic transmission-equipped Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models.

Standard features shared with the 2.5 GT Limited Sedan include dual-zone automatic climate control, performance-design front seats, power moonroof, 4-stage heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat and heated exterior mirrors. In addition, all Legacy sedan models for 2007 gain a new standard 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with trunk pass-through to enhance cargo-carrying versatility.

All Legacy models for 2007 feature, as standard equipment, the Subaru Advanced Frontal Air Bag System, front seat side impact air bags, active front seat head restraints and side curtain air bags.

 

 

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States.

2007 SUBARU LEGACY

2.5 GT spec.B DEBUTS NEW SI-DRIVE PERFORMANCE SYSTEM AND 6-SPEED TRANSMISSION

 

· New SI-Drive Enables Driver to Select Engine Performance Level

· VDC Stability System Supports Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive

· New Audio System Offers Satellite Radio Capability

 

NEW YORK, April 13, 2006 – Subaru of America, Inc., America’s All-Wheel Drive leader, today unveiled the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B performance sedan at the New York International Auto Show. The introduction spotlights Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive), a key new technology that enhances driving engagement by allowing the driver to select the level of engine performance.

 

First offered for 2006 in a limited edition production run of 500 units, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B returns as a regular production model for 2007, featuring a host of performance and interior enhancements. In addition to the new SI-Drive system, the 2007 spec.B also gains a modified version of the 6-speed manual transmission from the Impreza¨ WRX¨ STI¨, plus the advanced Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. The 6-speed transmission is tailored to suit the spec.B’s refined driving characteristics and features unique gear ratios and a smoother shifting operation than the version used in the WRX STI.

Like all Subaru models, the 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B features Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive as standard equipment. The 2.5-liter intercooled turbo Boxer engine in the spec.B produces 243 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 241 lb.-ft. of peak torque @ 3,600 rpm. Subaru Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing optimizes power at all engine speeds. The new Subaru SI-Drive system will also be standard on all Legacy 2.5 GT Limited and Outback¨ 2.5 XT Limited models for 2007 (all are powered by the same engine).

In its 2006 form, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B has already shown its taillights to a number of premium brand sport sedans. The 2007 model carries forward the Bilstein¨ Sport Suspension with inverted front struts, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and high-performance tires.

Once again, the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B features an exclusive interior design, for 2007 featuring Charcoal Gray leather-trimmed upholstery with Dusk Blue Alcantara¨ inserts.

A new standard SRS¨ WOW audio system brings a new sonic performance and quality to the Legacy line, plus MP3 and Windows¨ Media Audio (WMA) playback and an input jack for iPods and other portable audio devices. All Legacy and Outback audio systems for 2007 offer XM Satellite Radio capability.

 

 

SI-Drive: Three Engines in One

The new SI-Drive system allows the driver to maximize engine performance, control and efficiency by choosing from among three selectable modes – “Intelligent” “Sport” and “Sport Sharp” – using a rotary dial on the center console.

 

The SI-Drive controls the electronic throttle system’s response and fuel and ignition curves to modify engine torque characteristics, changing the performance character of the car in each mode. With Intelligent mode selected, the system reduces engine torque and maximum power and switches to a more relaxed throttle response curve. Intelligent mode is an ideal choice for smoother response while commuting in traffic, for example, where it can also help boost fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent. In addition, Intelligent mode’s more relaxed responses and lower torque output make it an ideal complement to the low-traction surface driving safety provided by the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System.

In “Sport” mode, the performance of the 2.5 GT spec.B (and other 2007 turbo Legacy and Outback models) is similar to the 2006 model, with quick throttle responses and powerful, linear acceleration. The linear acceleration characteristic of this versatile mode makes it ideal for driving on freeways and suburban streets or for climbing mountain roads.

 

In “Sport Sharp” mode, SI-Drive modifies the engine’s electronic throttle mapping to deliver lightning quick throttle response and more power sooner. Delivering maximum driving enjoyment, this mode is ideal for tackling twisty roads and for merging or overtaking other vehicles on the highway with confidence.

On 2007 Legacy and Outback models equipped with the 5-speed automatic transmission (not available on Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B), SI-Drive also changes the transmission’s shift patterns. It will hold each gear longer through the rpm range and downshift more quickly under hard acceleration, depending on the mode selected.

The SI-Drive system includes instrument panel displays that allow the driver to monitor performance. The multi-information display located in the tachometer face – in addition to providing trip computer functions – denotes the selected SI-Drive mode and provides an active torque curve display.

When “Intelligent” mode is selected in vehicles with a manual transmission, a shift-up indicator blinks to signal the optimal shift point for maximum fuel efficiency.

Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Vehicle Dynamics Control

The 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is equipped with one of the industry’s most effective combinations of all-weather handling technologies: Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive plus Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), a stability system that was previously available only on the B9 Tribeca SUV model and the top-line Outback.

Teamed with a manual transmission as in the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive employs a viscous-coupling locking center differential with a normal 50:50 torque split. Slippage at the front or rear wheels will transfer more power to the opposite set. Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) is an advanced stability system that can help keep the vehicle going in the direction the driver is steering, especially in slippery road conditions. The system can be deactivated for conditions that require some wheel slippage, such as extricating the car from deep snow. New for 2007, a Torsen¨ limited-slip rear differential helps to optimize traction at the rear wheels.

Exclusive Bilstein Sport Suspension

The exclusive Bilstein Sport Suspension equips the Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B model with performance-tuned shock absorbers for improved cornering response. Subaru replaced the MacPherson strut front suspension of other Legacy models with an inverted strut configuration similar to that in the rally-bred Impreza WRX STI, including aluminum-alloy lower control arms.

The multi-link rear suspension features aluminum-alloy rear arms and upper links in place of cast-iron pieces to reduce unsprung weight (and thereby enhance handling response). Finally, the 18-inch alloy wheels are fitted with 215/45 R18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050A summer performance tires. (The standard Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models feature 17-inch alloy wheels and all-season tires.)

A 4-wheel disc Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) is standard on all Legacy models. The 2.5 GT Limited and 2.5 GT spec.B models employ larger brake rotors than other Legacy models, with ventilated rear discs in place of solid discs.

Distinct, Sophisticated Design – Outside and In

The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B not only appeals to driving enthusiasts for its performance, but for its appearance that is both distinctive and “stealthy.” The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B is quickly identified by its aerodynamic side ground-effects moldings with chrome trim. The road-hugging stance of the spec.B is further accentuated by the exclusive 18-inch wheels.

The Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B continues with its own exclusive interior, with the 2007 model featuring new Charcoal Gray leather-trimmed upholstery with Dusk Blue Alcantara inserts in place of the 2006 model’s Brick Red leather-trimmed upholstery.

The standard 8-way power driver’s seat gains a memory function for 2007, and the interior is further differentiated from the Legacy 2.5 GT Limited model by aluminum-alloy pedal covers, a 3-spoke MOMO¨ leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio controls and “spec.B” floor mats. The Subaru Navigation System remains standard on the spec.B model and available for all automatic transmission-equipped Legacy 2.5 GT Limited models.

Standard features shared with the 2.5 GT Limited Sedan include dual-zone automatic climate control, performance-design front seats, power moonroof, 4-stage heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat and heated exterior mirrors. In addition, all Legacy sedan models for 2007 gain a new standard 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with trunk pass-through to enhance cargo-carrying versatility.

All Legacy models for 2007 feature, as standard equipment, the Subaru Advanced Frontal Air Bag System, front seat side impact air bags, active front seat head restraints and side curtain air bags.

 

 

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of nearly 600 dealers across the United States.