Flawed dream car though it is, the Impreza-based Subaru WRX has an extensive rallying history and dedicated enthusiast following. However, the Impreza isn’t the only sedan that the automaker modified for some extra performance. But unlike the WRX, the Subaru Legacy GT Spec B was less about standing out than blending in.
Subaru Legacy GT Spec B: specs and features
In 2006, the most powerful Subaru Legacy was the 2.5GT, which featured a 250-hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That’s the same engine the Spec B uses, Road & Track reports.
Rather than power, Car and Driver explains, the Subaru Legacy GT Spec B is about handling. It rides on Bilstein shocks, stiffer springs, and front suspension parts from the contemporary WRX. The Spec B also has wider-than-stock wheels and tires, and a limited-slip differential, Autotrader reports.
And starting in 2007, the AWD sedan swapped its 5-speed manual for a 6-speed, also from the WRX, R&T reports. It also received Subaru’s SI-DRIVE adjustable engine-mapping system; basically, the company’s version of driving modes.
The Subaru Legacy GT Spec B’s interior also has a few upgrades. For one, it’s the only manual Legacy of the period to come with GPS navigation. It also has heated power-adjustable bolstered sport seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, DriveTribe reports, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Other features, Bring a Trailer reports, include a Harmon Kardon audio system, a power moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
One thing it didn’t receive, though, was the WRX’s wing. Which, in this case, is actually a good thing.
Subaru Legacy GT Spec B vs. WRX: driving
Despite the lack of extra power, the Subaru Legacy GT Spec B can actually out-accelerate a contemporary WRX. Kind of.
In 2006, the base WRX’s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine developed 230 hp, Motor Trend reports, good for a 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds. Meanwhile, Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds for the Spec B. But in 2009, the last year of the Spec B’s production, the WRX was boosted to 265 hp, Car and Driver reports, and its 0-60 time dropped to 4.7 seconds.
And as for the contemporary WRX STI, in 2006 it made 300 hp and 300 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports. With a 6-speed manual, it was good for a 4.6-second 0-60 time. Which is roughly the same time a 2009 model recorded, MT reports.
Speed, though, isn’t the point of the Subaru Legacy GT Spec B. At least, not speed in a straight line. True, it’s not quite as sharp as the WRX or STI, Car and Driver reports. But the AWD and wider tires make for very neutral handling, R&T reports. Plus, while the stiffer suspension limits body roll, it doesn’t beat you up when the road gets rough. And the sport seats keep you firmly in place during drifts and sweeping corners.
As a sports sedan, then, it’s to the WRX what the BMW 330i ZHP is to the M3. Not as fast or visceral, but plenty quick enough for most people—and more comfortable. And without that giant wing, it’s more subtle with the speed it has.
Pricing and availability
Getting your hands on a Subaru Legacy GT Spec B won’t necessarily be easy. Only 500 were sold in 2006. And by the time production ended in 2009, LegacyGT forum users estimate less than 2000 had been sold overall.
As a result, Spec Bs tend to hold their value well. As of this writing, there’s one for sale on Autotrader with 198,000 miles, listed at $9800. 2 have sold on BaT thus far, one for $6000 and the other for $11,750. Both had over 100,000 miles. Though that’s still significantly less than the average price of a contemporary WRX STI, BaT reports.
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