At first glance, the Subaru Legacy GT Spec B looks like any other Legacy GT, but look a little closer and you will find a practical mid-size family sedan that allows any car nut to be discreet about their love of torque and horsepower. It is a Subaru WRX STI for grownups and is capable of 243 horsepower backed by 241 lb.-ft. of torque.
Only 500 of the special edition super sleepers rolled off the assembly line in 2006, each one displaying a badge of honor with its production number located on the center console just below the shifter. This rare trim level was only available in titanium silver metallic with brick red leather seats, and it included every option the base Legacy had to offer. Also included was a five-speed manual transmission and handsome 18” alloy wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. Stability control was by the WRX STI’s Bilstien gas-charged shocks, inverted struts, and stiffened springs all around. For power, the Spec B was equipped with the STI 2.5-liter turbocharged and intercooled aluminum alloy twin-cam, 16-valve flat-four engine. The car also had a dual mass flywheel for smooth shifting.
In 2007, the car became a regular production model and the badges were removed, however only 432 examples were ordered. Diamond grey metallic over black leather was the only color option for 2007, whereas multiple colors were available for 2008- ’09: Quartz silver metallic, diamond grey metallic, obsidian black pearl, satin pearl white, and ruby red pearl. Production numbers are disputed for 2008 and 2009, but the estimates are 767 and 167, respectively. Beginning in 2007, the Spec B was equipped with a Torsen limited-slip rear differential, a six-speed manual transmission and the SI-Drive system which offered three alternative modes: Intelligent, which dials back horsepower for better fuel economy; Sport, which opens the engine up to peak performance; and Sport Sharp, which opens the throttle even faster for rapid engine response.
It’s a drive to experience. The clutch keeps your left leg toned as the forceful torque pushes the sides of your lips into an upwards grin, and the turbo spool sings loudly — music to your ears. When cruising past authorities, they rarely bat an eye: For all they know it’s just another Legacy. This is one road machine that makes even the most dead cold winters incredibly lively.
Any year of Spec B is a solid investment, provided you can find an unmolested (or expertly modified) well-maintained example. Those who cry out about head gaskets are only drinking the internet hateraide: All aging vehicles require regular maintenance and quality motor oil, but unfortunately not every owner commits to the upkeep. Anyone who drives high-performance vehicles knows of the risks, mechanical or otherwise, but this risk is lowered when a company known for reliability and safety is chosen.
There is an active community of Subaru enthusiasts for any support you may need, parts are plentiful and it’s easy to work on. What’s more to love? The Subaru Spec B is sophisticated with a hidden naughty side — the perfect road trip partner.
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Tara Hurlin is an Automotive Lifestyle Writer and car nut with a passion for writing.