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The greatest sleeper of them all

24.05.2013

SUBARU has been on somewhat of a roll of late, with the new Forester and BRZ models impressing the motoring community by challenging for the lead in their respective segments.

That, coupled with its solid showing in a recent customer-satisfaction survey, means that Subaru are building great cars that really should sell in higher volumes than they do.

When I first laid eyes on the Legacy, I thought that it looked quite boring, a Lexus-like side profile with Korean-esque front- and back ends. But the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Our test unit looked as if its alloys were lifted straight off of a WRX and really added a sporty dimension to the car’s appearance.

One might be forgiven for not noticing the Legacy GT; it’s really understated and simple in appearance, yet exudes elegance and poise. I found this strange from a manufacturer that used to release cars with gold wheels and the bluest paint that anyone could dream up.  

The same thing goes for the interior. Gone are the boring plastic-laden Subaru interiors of old and a new era of tangible build quality has been ushered in with all of the Subaru models. This looks like a big car and does not disappoint inside, with more than enough boot space for three sets of golf clubs and space in the back for three adults.

The cabin’s ergonomics is simple and features a host of niceties, such as a multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, dual-zone climate control, a number of storage bins, electric seats and a premium sound system.

As always, the Legacy has sort of crept under the radar, quietly going about its business while its siblings make all the noise for the brand. Speaking of noise, my only gripe with the vehicle is the absence of the famous boxer burble in the GT’s cabin. In fact, there isn’t much of any kind of noise. The refined ride, coupled with very little wind noise means the car just wafts along.

I blame noise and emissions regulations and not the car for the lack of the Scooby signature wail. That being said, the work Subaru has done to lower fuel consumption on these Boxer engines is impressive. The claimed fuel consumption of 10.6 litres/100km is realistic when driving a regular mixed cycle.

There is the option to drive the GT either with gusto or planet saving in mind by adjusting the driving modes. Subaru provides the driver with three engine maps to suit the occasion. For the dreary drudge of commuting, Intelligent Mode is best with its gentle throttle map. For highway cruising, there is Sport Mode, which sharpens the throttle response and provides the torque when you need it. The final setting is Sport Sharp and is there exclusively for the discerning gentleman driver to demolish hot hatches at will.

The hot-hatch-killing performance comes courtesy of the 2.5-litre Boxer motor which develops some 195kW and 350Nm of torque. These figures translate to a claimed 0-100km/h sprint of 6.2 seconds and after driving the vehicle, it sounds entirely possible.

Aiding the performance is a five-speed Sportshift automatic transmission and symmetrical all-wheel-drive, the latter of which inspires confidence when cornering in any condition. The limit of the car’s grip is shown by gentle understeer, allowing you to explore the limits safely. The automatic transmission is better from a performance perspective, but does not save as much fuel as the Lineartronic CVT.

The Legacy GT retails for R479 000, which I believe represents great value considering the package you get. Overall, the Legacy is hard to fault. Its split personality shows that Subaru has grown up and produced a quiet, comfy cruiser while still maintaining its performance credentials, albeit by thinly disguising them.

Article written by Sean Nurse
24.05.2013
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