Subaru Legacy

Subaru Legacy

Infobox Automobile

name = Subaru Legacy
aka = Subaru Liberty Subaru B4 Subaru Legacy B4 Subaru Legacy Touring Wagon
manufacturer = Subaru
predecessor = none
parent_company = Fuji Heavy Industries
production = 1989-present
class = Mid-size (1989-present)
body_style = 4-door "B" pillar hardtop 4-door station wagon
assembly = Ōta, Gunma Japan Lafayette, Indiana USA
The Subaru Legacy is a mid-size car introduced by the Japanese manufacturer Subaru in February 1989 as a larger companion to the company's Leone/Loyale. Worldwide distribution started in 1990. In Australia, the Legacy bears the name Liberty out of respect for Legacy Australia, an organization which aids veterans and their families during and after wars.

The standard equipped symmetrical all-wheel drive system is currently unique to the Legacy in this class size of vehicle.

In the USA market, the Legacy competes with the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, and the Nissan Altima. German automaker Volkswagen, offers AWD as an option on the Volkswagen Group A5 PQ46 platform, however it is an extra cost option on upper trim level cars. The Ford CD3 platform can also be equipped with AWD for the USA market, but it too is an extra cost option only on the uplevel V6 models.

World market release schedule

Models have typically been released into Japan and selected World markets such as New Zealand and Chile in advance of the Continental European and North American markets, perhaps because the first two are right-hand drive markets and Subaru has a strong presence in Chile.

* Generation I: 1989–1992
* Generation II: 1993–1997
* Generation III: 1998–2003
* Generation IV: 2003–present
* Generation V: production scheduled to start in 2009

North American market release schedule

North America usually releases its models two years after Japan does, due to the fact that all current Legacies for the North American market have been built at Subaru of Indiana located in Lafayette, Indiana since 2004. Previously, all USA Legacy were built at either the Indiana plant or the Ōta, Gunma plant in Japan starting in 1989.

* Generation I: 1990–1994 (production started 1989)
* Generation II: 1995–1999 (production started 1994)
* Generation III: 2000–2004 (production started 1999)
* Generation IV: 2005–present (production started 2004)
* Generation V: (production scheduled to start 2009 for 2010 model year)


On March 14, 2005, Subaru sold its three-millionth Legacy worldwide. [ "Legacy Makes 3 Million" ]

Drivetrain advantages

Subaru chose to use the boxer engine in the Legacy, as well as their other products, to simplify the powertrain implementation of all-wheel drive and because of the natural smoothness of the engine design. According to Subaru, because the engine sits in-line, or longitudinal, with the transmission, instead of being offset, or transverse, as can be commonly found by other FWD and AWD vehicles, body roll is minimized. The weight of the engine and transmission are balanced instead of being offset, which can cause the weight of the engine and transmission to be unbalanced in the engine bay in other vehicles.

The boxer engine also affords a low center of gravity, and a balanced chassis because the engine sits low in the engine bay and close to the ground, as opposed to other vehicles, allowing the vehicle to stay more stable than some vehicles in moderate to high speed manoeuvres. Other manufacturers attempt to counteract the offset weight by making their powertrains' weight evenly distributed, which overall can cause the powertrain to be heavier than the Subaru layout, which is also manufactured from lightweight aluminum.

The boxer design also provides perfect vibration mitigation due to the fact that the movement of each piston is exactly countered by the corresponding piston in the opposing cylinder bank, eliminating the need for a harmonic balancer attached to the front of the engine at the crankshaft. Torque steer is also reduced with this type of power train layout. This is achieved by having the front driveshafts being of equal weight and length, and extend from the transmission to the front wheels at almost perpendicular from the transmission. [ [ Subaru Core Technologies] ]

First generation (1989-1994)

Infobox Automobile generation
name = First generation

production = 1989-1994
aka = Isuzu Aska CX
weight = convert|3220|lb|abbr=on max
wheelbase = convert|101.6|in|mm|abbr=on
length = 1993-94 Sedan: 178.9 in
1993-94 Wagon: 181.9 in
1990-92 Wagon: 181.1 in
1990-92 Sedan: convert|177.6|in|mm|abbr=on
layout = FF layout standard
F4 layout optional
width = convert|66.5|in|mm|abbr=on
height = 1993-94 Wagon: 54.7 in
1993-94 LS & LSi Wagon: 56.3 in
1990-92 Wagon: 55.9 in
1990-92 AWD Wagon: 56.7 in
1990-92 Sedan: 54.3 in
1990-93 AWD Sedan: 55.1 in
1993-94 Sedan: convert|53.5|in|mm|abbr=on
body_style = "B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
engine = 2.2 L SOHC convert|135|hp|abbr=on H4
2.2 L SOHC Turbo convert|163|hp|abbr=on
International Engines
2.0 L DOHC convert|150|hp|abbr=on
2.0 L DOHC GT convert|200|hp|abbr=on
2.0 L DOHC RS convert|220|hp|abbr=on
2.0 L SOHC convert|116|hp|abbr=on
1.8 L SOHC convert|102|hp|abbr=on
related =
fuel_capacity = Convert|15.9|usgal|L impgal|0|abbr=on
transmission = 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
speed =

* Chassis code
** BC - Sedan
** BF - Wagon - flat roof
** BJ - Wagon - extended roof

The worldwide introduction of the Legacy was a notable departure from Subaru products in the past. Subaru had earned a reputation of building vehicles that were regarded as "quirky" and other import manufacturers were bringing more upscale and conventional appearing models to the market. The Legacy appeared at the same time as the USA introduction of Lexus and Infiniti and a couple years after Acura. However, Subaru didn't have a large displacement V6 or V8. The Legacy was interpreted by some as Subaru's attempt at participating in the growing, upscale market. The Legacy broke with many Subaru traditions, such as no longer locating the spare tire in the engine compartment, behind the engine and above the transmission. The Legacy was an all-new model, and slotted above the Leone in Subaru's model range.

The Legacy began with a 5 door wagon or 4 door sedan body styles with FWD and an optional full-time AWD package, and was introduced in the USA, UK, Germany, the Benelux region of Northern Europe, Japan and Australia. The car was built with many luxury and technological advancements normally found on more expensive vehicles as standard equipment, such as power windows, central locking, fuel injection, air conditioning, power assist rack-and-pinion steering, alloy wheels, 4-wheel independent suspension with both negative scrub and anti-dive and squat geometery, anti-sway bars front and rear, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Items that were optional that didn't make the vehicle too expensive were 4-channel ABS, licensed from Bosch and air suspension height control, which lowered the vehicle at speeds above convert|50|mi/h|km/h|1|abbr=on, and also allowed the driver to increase the vehicles ground clearance for off-road conditions.

On vehicles equipped with power central locking, the feature is activated from the inside drivers door lock switch only, by pushing the rocker switch to lock or unlock all doors. Other doors can be locked or unlocked individually by pushing the respective door lock rocker switch, but it will not lock or unlock the other doors. The outside key door lock can unlock the drivers door only by turning the key partially, or with a complete turn to the left to unlock all doors.

According to a translation of the Japanese Wikipedia article on the Subaru Legacy, the Aomori Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture police departments have used the Legacy Turbo for patrol cars since the car was introduced and continue to do so. Also mentioned in this translation was an article mentioning that when Subaru began to develop the Legacy, Subaru was facing financial pressure to improve sales from the successes from other Asian competitors and that they used an internal project code of "44B" to refer to the Legacy.

Transmission operations

The newly developed computer controlled 4 speed automatic transmission, called the 4EAT in both FWD and AWD guises, had a feature where the transmission could be instructed to ignore 1st gear from a standing stop to assist driving on traction limited situations, such as ice and snow. The system was activated by depressing a button on the gearshift selector marked "Manual" and moving the gearshift from the "D" position down to "3rd". An indicator light marked "Manual" also lights up at the bottom center of the instrument cluster when the system is ready to be used. The car would then start in 2nd gear, and not 1st, then as the car gained speed would shift up to 3rd, locking out 4th gear. The transmission's computer also splits the delivered torque 50:50 between the front and rear wheels. Once the car stopped, the transmission would start back in 2nd and not 1st, until the system was disengaged with the "Manual" button or upshifting to 4th.

The automatic transmission also has engine over-rev protection by shifting the transmission to the next available gear once 6500 rpm has been achieved, even if the gear selector is in a low gear position. The computer that monitors and controls automatic transmission operations and status is networked with the fuel injection management computer, as well as the cruise control and anti-lock brake computer, if so equipped. Information is shared so that the vehicle operates as efficiently as possible. The computers that monitored various conditions also have the ability to store occurrences of possible malfunction, and aid qualified mechanics in the diagnosis and possible repair of various systems.

The automatic transmission used on AWD equipped vehicles would normally send 90% of the engines torque to the front wheels and 10% to the rear wheels, using a computer controlled, continuously variable, multi-plate transfer clutch. When the front wheels began to experience a loss of grip, the transmission automatically sent available torque to the rear wheels, up to 50:50 split between the front and rear wheels until grip was reestablished at the front wheels, without notifying the driver or occupants that torque was being redirected. When accelerating or driving uphill, the vehicles weight shifts rearward, reducing front wheel traction, causing the transmission to automatically send torque to the rear wheels to compensate. When braking or driving downhill, the vehicle's weight shifts towards the front, reducing rear wheel traction. The transmission again compensates by sending torque to the front wheels for better steering control and braking performance. If the automatic is placed in Reverse or "1st" gear, the transmission divides the torque 50:50 to both front and rear wheels. A limited slip rear differential was optional on the 1991 USA Sport Sedan (Legacy Turbo). However it was unavailable on the 92-94 USA Turbo.

The automatic transmission also has the ability to change the shift points, and hold the gears longer when the engine is operating at higher RPM's. This is achieved by pressing the accelerator pedal quickly, which causes an indicator light marked as "Power" at the bottom center of the instrument cluster to light up. The European and Australian version came equipped with a center console installed override switch labeled "AT Econo" which instructed the computer to utilize the "Power" mode, and remain so until the switch was reset to "Econo" mode. The "Power" mode was also available for engine braking, causing the transmission to downshift 500 rpm earlier than in "normal" mode. For 1991, the "Manual" button on the gearshift was replaced by a "Econo" switch on the gearshift, and the console mounted button was changed from "AT Econo" to "Manual", so that the transmission was always in "Econo" mode until the gearshift mounted switch was disengaged. Unlike the USA and Japanese version, which went into "Power" mode only when the accelerator was pushed rapidly, the "Power" mode on the European and Australian version was activated by either console or gearshift installed switches.

The manual transmission uses a true gear type viscous limited slip center differential. The secondary shaft in the transmission is hollow with the pinion shaft extending through it to the center differential. It provides a 50:50 torque balance under acceleration and deceleration up to the point of wheel slip, then the VLSD begins to send more torque to the wheels with more traction.

The manual transmission was also equipped with Hill Holder which allows the car to remain stopped on an incline by only depressing the clutch pedal, instead of both the clutch and brake pedal. The turbocharged models with the manual transmission did not receive the Hill Holder option.

Racing accomplishments

Just before the introduction of the Legacy to the USA, three Japanese-spec Legacy RS turbo sedans were sent to the FIA test track in Phoenix, Arizona, where they were driven at an average speed of 138.8 mph (223.4 km/h) for almost 19 days, accumulating 100,000 km (62,138 miles) in that time, setting a new world record for land speed endurance, stopping only for fuel and routine service.

On another occasion, two AWD Legacy wagons finished 1st and 2nd place in the 1990 Alcan Winter Rally [ Alcan Winter Rally] that covered convert|6300|mi|km from Seattle, Washington to the Arctic Circle and back and another wagon won the race again in 1992.

The engine

The EJ series engine, specially developed for the Legacy, was the most powerful engine Subaru had built to date, and the engine is currently offered in many configurations. In an attempt to ensure durability and longevity, Subaru chose to use five main crankshaft bearings. The engine has either SOHC/DOHC architecture and pent-roof, cross flow cylinder firing chambers. The ignition utilized distributorless ignition, using a computer controlled coil pack and spark plug wires to supply the electrical charge. Later versions of this engine used coil packs installed directly on top of the spark plug. Problems detected by the cars' on-board computers are signified by a "check engine" light, alerting the driver that maintenance is needed immediately.

When it debuted in the US, it was introduced with a slightly larger displacing SOHC 2.2 liter convert|135|bhp|kW PS|0|abbr=on engine that was also used for the European, British and Australian versions over the Japanese market version of DOHC 2.0 liters. The 2.0 liter and 2.2 liter engines fuel delivery were managed with sequential multiport fuel injection called MPFI, and the 1.8 liter engine used a throttle body fuel injection system with single injector called SPFI. The Japanese use the smaller engine because of Japanese road tax legislation, which determines the tax to be paid based on engine displacement, however, the JDM engine was more powerful, even without the turbo. The JDM DOHC 2.0 liter convert|148|bhp|kW PS|0|abbr=on non turbocharged engine had a dual stage intake manifold where at higher engine RPM's four individual valves would allow additional air flow into the engine from a secondary manifold attached and located underneath the primary intake manifold.

The DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged convert|217|bhp|kW PS|0|abbr=on engine, which is a prized engine worldwide amongst Subaru enthusiasts, was introduced first in the Legacy and later used in the Impreza WRX when that model was introduced in 1993. In Europe, the Legacy RS Turbo was sometimes referred to as the "Lunacy" Turbo. The Australians were offered the Japanese-spec RS turbo sedan with the DOHC 2.0 liter engine in 1991, and Europe and the UK the same engine in 1992, manual transmission only. The DOHC 2.0 liter turbo also came with a water-cooled intercooler. The USA SOHC 2.2 liter convert|163|bhp|kW PS|0|abbr=on turbo was not offered the water-cooled intercooler when it was introduced to them in 1991. The USA turbocharged engine was available with either a manual or automatic transmission.

All turbo models in North America ceased importation from Japan with the end of the first generation in model year 1994 until 2005, when the turbo was re-introduced. This was due to Subaru having upgraded the single turbo used in the Legacy with a twin turbo engine starting with the Second Generation and continued with the Third Generation. The twin turbo configuration was not compatible with left-hand drive vehicles.

All turbocharged vehicles, both sedan and wagon, regardless of the country the vehicle was sold in were equipped with ABS and rear ventilated disc brakes as standard equipment.

Japanese specifications

When the Legacy was first introduced February 1, 1989 in Japan, the Legacy came in the following trim levels: the convert|220|PS|kW bhp|0|abbr=on DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged "RS" with a 5-speed manual transmission only, followed by the "VZ" sedan and wagon and the "TZ" sedan and wagon with the convert|150|PS|kW bhp|0|abbr=on DOHC 2.0 liter engine. A smaller convert|102|PS|kW bhp|0|abbr=on SOHC 1.8 liter engine was used for the "Vi" sedan and wagon with FWD only, "Ti" sedan and wagon, the "Mi" and the entry level "Ei" sedans and wagons. All wagons available to the Japanese were the extended roof version, referred to as the "Touring Wagon", and the air suspension, called "EP-S" (electronic pneumatic-suspension), was only available on the AWD equipped VZ wagon with an automatic transmission. In 1990, the convert|200|PS|kW bhp|0|abbr=on DOHC 2.0 liter turbocharged Legacy "GT" sedan/extended roof wagon was introduced, with a 4-speed computer controlled automatic transmission only on the GT sedan and a choice of automatic or manual transmission on the wagon, as well as the slightly more affordable "RS type R" turbocharged sedan. The GT sedan/wagon, the RS, and RS type R came with 15" alloy wheels and a sport-tuned suspension over the standard wheel size of 14" steel wheels for the other models offered. Plastic wheel covers were not offered on the entry level "Ei" sedan or wagon, and the wheel was painted silver instead of black. The "Ti type S" sedan and wagon, introduced in 1991, were offered with items available on the more expensive VZ and TZ but with the smaller 1.8 engine. The AWD setup, called "Active Torque Split" in Japanese language brochures, was standard on the Japanese-spec GT and RS, optional on the other trim levels with either a manual or automatic transmission. A partial 4WD system was offered on the lower trim level "Mi" and "Ei" sedans and wagons with a manual transmission only, activated by an imbedded switch on top of the gear shift lever. A glass moonroof was not available until 1990 on both the GT and VZ sedan and wagon.

The VZ sedan interior was available in blue, gray or a special color combination of dark red upholstery with brown interior plastic, with the other sedans and wagons offering interior color choices of blue or gray. The VZ wagon that was painted black came with light gray two-tone paint scheme on the lower half of the vehicle, and both front and rear bumper covers below the bumper rub strip, which was later used when the Outback was introduced with the Second Generation. Blue interior was offered on vehicles with blue exterior paint only. When model year 1990 arrived, however, the interior color choices were reduced to gray for the entire product line, with various types of upholstery selections, including a choice of velour, moquette, or tricot cloth upholstery based on the trim level. Leather was optional on the GT sedan and wagon only. A four spoke, black leather covered Momo steering wheel also came with the Japanese-spec GT sedan/wagon and the RS sedan, with matching black leather on the gearshift, center armrest cover, and parking brake handle. The RS and RS type R came with black cloth upholstery with matching door panels and extended side bolsters on the front seats, covered in a upholstery pattern unique to the RS and RS type R. Japanese models have been known to be exported to countries with right-hand driving requirements, such as the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The following was printed, in English, on the front cover of the 1989 Japanese Legacy brochure, as Subaru was proud of their new car:

"As its name implies, the Legacy represents a culmination of Subaru's automotive technology. The engineering and design of this elegantly modern 2-liter sedan will set new standards for automotive excellence the world over. Performance, function and quality are the hallmarks of a great sedan. To these we have added that fun-to-drive feeling unique to Subaru. The Legacy; the more time you spend with it, the more you will appreciate it."

International specifications

The European, British and Australian versions were offered with three trim levels; the upscale GX, the more affordable LX in Australia and the GL in Europe and the UK, and the very basic DL in parts of Europe, with AWD offered as an option on the GX, LX and GL. In Europe and the UK, the GL and DL came with the 1.8 liter engine and the GX came with the larger 2.2 liter engine. For model year 1990, the British-spec. 1.8 GL was equipped with a carburetor and rear drum brakes but were later upgraded to single point fuel injection for model year 1991. The DL wasn't available in the UK or Australia. The British were also given a choice of vehicles equipped with a Catalytic Converter that restricted fuel usage to unleaded fuel only. The Australians could choose between the SOHC 2.2 liter no turbo on the GX and LX or the DOHC 2.0 liter with a turbo on the RS. In 1992, the Australians were offered the Liberty RS turbo as a sedan or extended roof wagon with a manual transmission only. The European and Australian versions were also available as a limited, premium editions, called GX Gala in Europe, and GX Heritage in Australia offering gray leather on the Euro-spec sedans and extended roof wagons, and only on the sedan for the Australian-spec Liberty Heritage. The European, British and Australian versions came with two interior color choices of blue or gray. European upholstery fabric selections of tweed, tricot, or webstoff woven cloth were particular to the individual trim level; tweed for the GX, tricot for the GL and webstoff for the DL. The British GL was offered with either the tricot or webstoff upholstery based on the exterior paint color chosen. Velour upholstery was offered instead of tweed on the Australian GX. The European DL, which was very similar to the Japanese-spec Ei model, was very basic; items that weren't offered were a tachometer, power windows and central locking, a radio, individual 60:40 rear folding seatbacks on the sedan, and AWD was not available on the DL. The Euro-spec DL also didn't have plastic wheel covers, and instead was identical to the Japanese-spec Ei, with silver painted steel wheels and a silver plastic lug nut cover. The European DL also didn't have paint on the front or rear bumper covers, and remained in their natural state of black plastic. The European, British and Australian wagons were also available with a dual-range manual transmission, not offered in the USA or Japan. In Germany, the extended roof wagon was called the Super Station and was available with either the 2.2 or 1.8 liter engine, ABS brakes were available only on German vehicles with the 2.2 liter engine, and the standard wagon was called the Legacy Station with a 1.8 liter engine only. Subarus were not officially sold in France until February 1992.

The USA Legacy was introduced with three trim levels; the Standard, the "L" and the "LS" and in 1991 the Standard was removed and the "LSi" was introduced as a "LS" with gray leather interior on the sedan only, similar to the "Gala" and "Heritage" approach internationally. The USA-spec Standard was very similar to the Euro-spec DL and the Japanese-spec Ei, with a very sparse level of equipment. The 1990 models can be distinguished from the 1991 models by the color of the rub strip that encompases the vehicle; 1990 the color was gray and 1991 the color was black. Also, the color of the automatic front seat shoulder belt latch was interior color for 1990 and black for 1991 and subsequent years. For MY 1991, the "L" trim level was available with a Value Plus option package, which included anti-lock brakes, power windows, central locking, air conditioning, cruise control, and the 80W stereo. The 2.2 turbo, called the "Sport Sedan", was also introduced to the USA in 1991. The USA-spec Sport Sedan has Alcantara interior in gray only. In 1992, the "LSi" was introduced on the wagon, alongside the newly introduced turbocharged "LE" Touring Wagon. The USA-spec Touring Wagon was renamed the GT, one year before the introduction of the Second Generation in 1995, but without a turbo. The only engine size available in USA was the 2.2 liter. The USA version offered three interior color choices adding a light brown selection to the list. Upholstery selections were tricot for base level "L" and velour for the uplevel "LS". Leather was only available on all versions internationally from Subaru in gray. The air suspension height control was only available on the wagon with an automatic transmission, and a non-turbocharged engine in all international markets. No sedans were manufactured by Subaru with the air suspension height control. AWD was standard only on the USA Sport Sedan and optional on all other USA trim levels. Extended roof wagons were not available on the USA Legacy until the Second Generation, when it was used only for the Outback.

Many rural United States Postal Service routes used specially ordered right hand drive Legacys to deliver mail. These wagons were available from 1990 to 1999 and differed very little from the private use Legacy.

Trim levels on the USA version can be easily identified by the color of the outside door handles. Base trim levels can be identified by chrome door handles, whereas uplevel had painted door handles that match the exterior color. Japanese models all had chrome door handles and European and Australian versions all had painted door handles. The USA door handle tradition continues, with Subaru using black plastic instead of chrome on all current Legacy models. MY 1992 saw the Japanese-spec door handles changed to the European version of painted handles, a feature they still use on current models.

Marketing efforts

The USA Legacy was marketed as an affordable, luxurious sedan and wagon without the premium price, similar to the marketing efforts in Japan and Australia. The American, Japanese and Australian brochures actually define the vehicle as a "luxury car". The European and British Legacy were marketed as a roomy, comfortable, yet durable vehicle for life in the country, with unexpected amenities.

The Legacy was introduced in the USA as a competitor to the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Stanza, and other midsize sedans, with the Legacy offering All Wheel Drive (AWD) as a major distinguishing feature against its competition. (Toyota initially offered AWD on the Camry in the USA in limited markets, with the designation Camry LE All-Trac, but discontinued the feature due to disappointing sales.) The Legacy was also pitted against vehicles that were offered at the time from Detroit, notably the Chevrolet Corsica and the GM "A" platform (Pontiac 6000, Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and Chevrolet Celebrity), the Ford Tempo/Mercury Topaz and the Dodge Spirit/Plymouth Acclaim. Ford also offered AWD on the Tempo in limited markets, and GM installed AWD on the Pontiac 6000 STE, but experienced the same results as Toyota with the Camry All-Trac and cancelled the option soon after. On the Pontiac, only the uplevel 6000 STE came with AWD as standard equipment from the late 1980s to early 1990s, with a V6 engine. The GM "A" body was also available as a wagon on the Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, and Chevrolet, but all were FWD only. In Europe, the Legacy competed against vehicles like the Opel Vectra, Ford Sierra, Volkswagen Passat, Alfa Romeo 33 and the Peugeot 309. The Ford, Opel, VW and Alfa Romeo were available with optional AWD at the time and the Alfa also came with a boxer engine.

In Japan, the Legacy has many different trim levels, with an assortment of different names (i.e. Brighton, Lancaster, VZ to name a few). Perhaps the most dubious one of all would be the 1993 Subaru Legacy Touring Bruce, named due to Bruce Willis lending himself to a Japanese market advertising campaign and sang in commercials, singing the song "A House of Gold" by Kenny Rankin. Bruce Willis also appeared in the Japanese market Subaru Legacy sales brochure for both the sedan and wagon, wearing a linen suit in both brochures. Singers Jennifer Lopez and Rod Stewart have both filmed TV commercials for the Japanese market and actor Mel Gibson sang in a commercial for the second generation with two songs "So Far Away" and "You Light Up My Life" by David Morgan . Rod did singing commercials for the second generation Legacy, singing "People Get Ready", "Tonight's the Night" and "Sailing". Jennifer also did singing commercials for the third generation, with the song "Ain't it Funny". Bruce re-appeared in a commercial for the current generation recently to celebrate the production of the 3 millionth Legacy in 2005.

afety equipment

In the USA, the Legacy was introduced with automatic seat belts due to United States NHTSA regulations stating that all cars produced from April 1, 1989 were to be equipped with a passive front passenger restraint system that would protect front occupants from frontal impact without occupant participation. This regulation was enacted to force manufacturers to install air bags in their vehicles. In 1992, Subaru added a driver side airbag only which didn't satisfy the U.S. regulation. If a vehicle had dual air bags, the passive seat belt systems could be removed, which Subaru did in 1995, with the Second Generation. The Japanese vehicles had rear lap belts only on the lower trim levels and 3-point outboard position lap and shoulder belts with a center rear position lab belt on all vehicles with the 2.0 liter engine.

Canadian spec Legacy were not fitted with automatic seat belts due to objections from the Canadian Government and current USA owners have been known to convert the automatic seat belts to the Canadian version when the mechanism fails to retract. Replacing the failed automatic seat belt is currently cost-prohibitive due to current Subaru pricing for failed parts.

All Legacy wagons sold in Europe came with rear seat headrests and 3-point outboard position lap and shoulder belts as standard equipment, whereas rear headrests were available on upper trim levels elsewhere. All international Legacy, except the USA, had front seat adjustable anchor shoulder belts.

pecial equipment

Some of the affordable luxury items included express up and express down driver side power window, an electric tilt and sliding moonroof with ventilated sunshade, tilt steering with memory feature that allowed the spring loaded steering column to "jump up" and out of the way, power mirrors, 4-way adjustable headrests, velour upholstery and upgraded plush carpeting on the USDM 1990 Legacy LS sedan and wagon, adding leather wrapped steering wheel, gearshift and parking brake handle in 1991. Also in 1991, automatic digital climate control, which was deleted in 1992, and an in-dash CD player, among other things were added to the USA options list. Several exterior paint choices came with a pearlescent appearance, offered only in the USA.

Some of the factory installed double DIN 80W stereos with the integrated equalizer and cassette players, sourced from Clarion and Panasonic, came with an auxiliary port on the front of the stereo, originally intended for portable CD players, which has been discovered to be portable MP3 player compatible. The Japanese version of this factory installed stereo was rated at 100W and the volume control knob was situated on the right side of the stereo and the frequency display was on the left. The stereo unit used for the USA and Australia had the volume control on the left and the frequency display on the right. The in-dash CD player, sourced from Clairon, was available on the USA, Japanese and Australian sedan and wagon as an extra cost option. In 1994, Subaru made available a 80W subwoofer/amplifier located under the front passenger seat in the USA, and a side view mirror tweeter speaker kit available as a USA dealer installed accessory with limited availability. Factory stereos installed in European vehicles were sourced from Philips or Fujitsu Ten.

The European and British versions were installed with standard headlight washers and rear fog lights, so that other drivers could see them in inclement weather and at night, and also received speed sensitive, variable effort power steering as standard. The Australian-spec sedan and wagon were equipped with the rear fog light, but not the headlight washers. The British and Europeans could also install a front bumper bull bar and an convert|8|mm|in|abbr=on thick steel sump guard that extended from the bottom edge of the front bumper to the front suspension. The Europeans could not get an in-dash cupholder located in the small space below the HVAC controls and above the stereo, found in the Australian, USA and Japanese models. In that location instead is a clock, and a button to deploy an electric radio antenna, if so equipped. Clocks are integrated with the OEM stereo internationally.

The Japanese versions offered electrically folding power mirrors, 6-way power drivers seat, and infrared keyless remote entry integrated into the ignition key. The GT and VZ had a feature where the driver's door could be opened without using a key or remote, using a driver programmed security code that was entered by pulling the exterior door handle a specific number of times, in accordance with a 4-digit security code found in its memory. This feature was only installed on vehicles with the infrared keyless remote. Vehicles equipped with the infrared keyless remote feature can be identified by having a dark plastic receiver patch installed on the driver's door handle, located directly above the entry lock keyhole. The transmitter installed in the ignition key was aimed at this receiver patch on the door handle. The Japanese could also choose from two factory installed high end stereos and speaker packages from Alpine and Kenwood with integrated CD players, a rear wiper on the back of the sedan as well as the wagon, an electrostatic air purifier mounted behind the rear seats for the sedan and a combined air purifier/overhead interior light for the wagon, automatic climate control with digital temperature display, vehicle speed sensitive power door locks and switchable, reduced effort for the power steering on the RS turbo sedan. All vehicles manufactured for sale in Japan with power windows had a feature where the power windows would still operate after removing the ignition key for 30 seconds.

1992 facelift and other changes

A minor facelift to the front end came in 1992, revising the grille, front fenders, hood and headlamps to provide a similar appearance with the introduction of the Subaru SVX luxury GT coupe, along with interior and exterior color changes. The USA-spec wagons were available with minor trim packages, called the Alpine Sport and Sun Sport, which were basically "L" trim level wagons with optional equipment added as a "Value Option Group" and also came with graphics denoting the package on the exterior of the vehicle. The USA-spec LSi wagon was available with tan leather interior, with matching leather on the steering wheel, gearshift selector, center armrest, interior door panels, and parking brake handle. The red plastic rear trim piece, on both the sedan and wagon, continues but the word "Subaru" is exchanged for the word "Legacy". Also, the Subaru star logo is no longer used on the back of the sedan or wagon.

The Japanese-spec also saw the introduction of the GT type S2 sedan, which added BBS alloy wheels and rear trunk spoiler as standard equipment, the VZ type R, and the Brighton 220, which had the 2.2 SOHC engine used for the wagon only. The Japanese-spec TZ was replaced by the Brighton trim name. According to a translation of Wikipedia Japan of the Legacy, in August of 1992, the "Legacy Touring Wagon STi" was released and limited to 200 units. The only major upgrade mentioned was upgrading the fuel injection ECU, and increasing the turbocharger pressure from the standard 450 mmHg to 650 mmHg, which was being used on the "RS" sedan and the same engine torque output, with an automatic transmission only.

The 1989-1994 European and Australian Legacy had side repeater lenses installed in the front fender just behind the front wheel, with the front turn signals installed next to the headlights. The 1989-1991 Japanese version incorporated the side repeater into the side of the front corner turn signal lens with the side repeater protruding from the lens so that it could be seen laterally, then later adopting the European configuration in 1992.

The front turn signals were relocated from underneath the bumper on USA versions to their new location next to the headlights, as in the Japanese, Australian and European versions. Side repeater lenses were also added to the USA version, but they were used as side marker lights and not turn signal repeaters.

In the USA, parking lights were installed next to the headlights for MY 1990-1991 within dedicated corner lenses, then incorporated with the front turn signals from 1992 to current models. Parking lights for European, Australian and Japanese versions were incorporated inside the headlights, on the outer edge. All international versions of the Legacy utilize a dedicated parking light switch installed on top of the steering column.

The facelifted Legacy appeared for model year 1992 only in Japan and Australia because the second generation was introduced in 1993, and it was also sold as the Isuzu Aska also for MY 1992.

econd generation (1993-1999)

Infobox Automobile generation
name = Second generation

production = 1993-1999
weight =
related = Subaru Outback
wheelbase = convert|103.5|in|mm|abbr=on
length = 1995-97 Sedan: convert|180.9|in|mm|abbr=on
1998-99 Sedan: convert|181.5|in|mm|abbr=on
1998-99 Wagon: convert|184.5|in|mm|abbr=on
1995-96 Wagon: convert|183.9|in|mm|abbr=on
layout = FF layout '95 standard F4 layout '95 optional, '96 & up, standard
width = convert|67.5|in|mm|abbr=on
height = Wagon: convert|57.1|in|mm|abbr=on
2.5GT Wagon: convert|60.3|in|mm|abbr=on
Sedan: convert|55.3|in|mm|abbr=on
2.5GT Sedan: convert|55.7|in|mm|abbr=on
weight = convert|3135|lb|abbr=on max
body_style = "B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
engine = 2.0 L SOHC convert|115|hp|abbr=on H4
2.0 L DOHC convert|150|hp|abbr=on H4
2.2 L SOHC convert|137|hp|abbr=on H4
2.5 L DOHC convert|165|hp|abbr=on H4
2.0 L DOHC twin turbo convert|280|hp|abbr=on
fuel_capacity =
transmission = 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
speed =

* Chassis code
** BD - sedan
** BG - wagon - standard roof
** BK - wagon - extended roof

Second generation sales in Japan began with model year 1993, and 1995 marked the second generation in North America with a full body and chassis revision. The exterior was designed by Olivier Boulay, who was hired by Subaru on a short-term basis. In 1996, Subaru decided to make AWD standard equipment in all vehicles produced for the USA market from that year to today's current date. Subaru still offers a choice between FWD and AWD for its domestic market vehicles.

GT models, first offered as a wagon trim package for the USA version in 1994, became a full-blown upgrade in 1996, using the new DOHC 2.5 L engine. GT models continue to the present model, with Limited editions available, offering heated leather, or cloth, seats and trim and a tinted, glass moonroof. Driver and front passenger airbags were added with the redesigned interior. New equipment added to the list of features included RF remote keyless entry, fog lights on the upper trim levels and speed-sensitive power steering.

The remote keyless entry can unlock just the drivers door by pushing the unlock button once, with two pushes unlocking all doors. Using the key to unlock the door after using the remote keyless entry to lock the doors will cause the alarm to sound, if equipped with a security system. The doors must be unlocked with the remote to avoid the security system from being set off.

1999 Marked the 30th anniversary of Subaru, and the last of the second generation in North America. There was a special 30th Anniversary Edition offered with upgraded interior and sunroof, spoiler, alloy wheels on the "L" trim level cars. The Brighton trim level also carried over from the facelifted first generation version that was priced below the "L" trim option. The "GT" trim level appeared in 1996. The term "Limited" appeared on the "GT", known as the "GT Limited" in 1998. The term "Limited" was used by itself on the Outback in 1998.

In Japan, the GT-B was introduced June 1996 with the front and rear struts supplied by Bilstein [] , with the upgrade also available on the RS. The "B" designation stood for Bilstein. The GT-B can also be distinguished by upgraded projector beam headlight lenses.

A unusual interior change placed the power window switches flat against the door panel, whereas the window switches for the first generation and third generation extended from the door panels and were oriented in a horizontal position and were located underneath the drivers or occupants hands for easy location and use, and integrated into the door pull and armrest. The express up feature for the driver's window was also removed, leaving express down only. The power door lock switch design was upgraded to a more conventional door lock switch, installed next to the power window switches, with a secondary power lock switch installed for the front passenger.

Side turn signal repeater lenses that were introduced on the USA 1992-1994 Legacy were replaced by a plastic cap that matched the color of the door rub strip on vehicles sold in North America.

According to the French Wikipedia, LPG is introduced as an alternative fuel source on European models with the 2.0 L and 2.2 L engines, and are outfitted by company Necam Koltec. The fuel tank is installed in the spare tire compartment, with the spare tire installed vertically on the left side of the trunk or cargo area.

Legacy RS Twin Turbo

Turbocharged versions continued to be available in most non-US markets. Specialty touring and racing versions were available in Japan, as well as the DOHC 2 liter twin sequential turbocharged (EJ20H) version on both the Legacy RS sedan and wagon, listed as "Boxer 2-stage Twin Turbo" on the engine cover shroud. The twin turbo can only be installed on right-hand drive vehicles because the turbo on the left side interferes with both the brake master cylinder and steering linkage, among other things. A minor performance problem with the twin turbo is there was a "turbo dead zone" that surfaced between the transition from the first turbo before the second turbo would kick in around 3500-4000 rpm. A continuous traction delivery system, called VTD by Subaru, was used with all JDM turbocharged vehicles with the automatic transmission. The VTD AWD system is a permanent AWD due to its 36% / 64% split.

Head gasket issues

Some owners of the newly developed 2.5 engine for this generation have experienced leaking head gasket issues, which were addressed and much improved on the Third Generation models.

Third generation (1998-2004)

Infobox Automobile generation
name = Third generation

production = 1998-2004
weight =
wheelbase = convert|104.3|in|mm|abbr=on
related = Subaru Outback
Subaru Baja
length = convert|187.4|in|mm|abbr=on (wagon)
convert|184.4|in|mm|abbr=on (sedan)
layout = All-wheel drive
width = convert|68.7|in|mm|abbr=on
height = convert|55.7|in|mm|abbr=on (sedan)
convert|59.6|in|mm|abbr=on (wagon)
convert|56.5|in|mm|abbr=on (Brighton wagon)
weight = convert|3400|lb|abbr=on max
body_style = "B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
engine = 2.0 L DOHC convert|165|hp|abbr=on H4
2.0 L DOHC convert|260|hp|abbr=on twin turbo H4 manual
2.0 L DOHC convert|245|hp|abbr=on twin turbo H4 automatic
2.5 L SOHC convert|165|hp|abbr=on H4
3.0 L DOHC Flat-6 (162kW at 6000 rpm and convert|289|Nm|ftlbf|abbr=on at 4400 rpm)
fuel_capacity =
transmission = 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
speed =

* Chassis code
** BE - sedan
** BH - wagon (extended roof)

Subaru launched the third generation Japanese and world-market Legacy in June 1998, while the North American model was introduced in 2000. All models were equipped with standard, symmetrical all wheel drive. World-market and Japanese models ranged from a normally-aspirated 2.0 liter flat-4 to the EZ30 in the 3.0R model.

Flat roof wagons are no longer manufactured worldwide, and instead the raised roof is used for both the Legacy wagon and Legacy Outback.

In 2001 the EZ30, a newly designed 3.0 L H6 was offered in the Outbacks.

The Legacy is the only vehicle in this class that provides AWD as standard equipment.

The 4 speed automatic transmission, had a feature where the transmission could be instructed to ignore 1st gear from a standing stop to assist driving on traction limited situations, such as ice and snow. The system was activated by moving the gearshift from the "D" position down to "2nd". The car would then start in 2nd gear, and not 1st. The transmission also splits the delivered torque 50-50 between the front and rear wheels. Once the car stopped, the transmission would start back in 2nd and not 1st, until the system was upshifted to 4th.

The automatic transmission also has the ability to change the shift points, and hold the gears longer when the engine is operating at higher RPM's. This is achieved by pressing the accelerator pedal rapidly, which causes the transmission to hold the gear until 5000 rpm before shifting to the next gear. No indicator light appears in the instrument cluster, unlike previous generations. The transmission also has engine over-rev protection by shifting the transmission to the next available gear once 6500 rpm has been achieved, even if the gear selector is in a low gear position.

Japanese-spec vehicles with the twin turbo had a Semi-automatic transmission, that allowed the driver to push the automatic gearshift selector to the left, and then allow the driver to shift the automatic like a manual transmission.


The B4 model carries over from the second generation and is a sedan-only model. The RSK featured the familiar DOHC, twin-turbo 2.0l outputting convert|280|hp|abbr=on in manual guise, 265 pr in automatic Tiptronic form. This results in a 0-60 mph time of 5.7 s for the Manual and 6.7 s for the automatic.

The models exported to Australia were detuned to run on lower octane (98ron) fuel and as a result had a lower power output of convert|190|kW|PS hp|0|abbr=on for the manual and convert|176|kW|PS hp|0|abbr=on for the automatic models. This results in a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 s for the Manual and 7.1 s for the automatic. [ [ Red Book 2003 Australian-spec Subaru 3GEN MY03 Liberty B4 ] ] [ [ Red Book 2003 Australian-spec Subaru 3GEN MY03 Liberty B4 ] ]

The manual B4 had a power split of 50/50 to the front and rear wheels, the automatic has a 35/65 split.

A B4 RS model was equipped with a less powerful, normally aspirated 2.0 L DOHC engine, but shared many of the body and suspension components of the more powerful RSK.

In 2001, a B4 RS25 model was introduced with a normally aspirated 2.5 L DOHC engine.

In 2002, the B4 RS30 was introduced with a normally aspirated 3.0 L EZ30 DOHC flat-six engine.


The GT-B is a tuned version of the Legacy Wagon, the "B" in the name referring to the Bilstein struts that the car was equipped with. The E-Tune II was introduced in 2001 as a 2002 model. Vehicles with the Bilstein shocks had a small Bilstein badge attached to the rear of the vehicle, below the "GT" badge.

Revision D

The fourth revision of the third-generation Legacy made several important but subtle changes to the front of the car. The fenders, grille, and headlights were altered slightly, making interchangeability with Rev1-c impossible. The headlights in the Japanese market were of the HID variety, and were slightly smaller, while the grille also shrank slightly. The HID headlights had a dashboard mounted adjustment switch that allowed the driver to re-aim the headlights to reduce glare to approaching traffic.


The Blitzen model was the result of a collaboration with Porsche, and featured many unique parts and paint schemes. The wheels, body kit, and interior were all designed by Porsche. It also featured an implementation of the Porsche Tiptronic automatic gearbox, the first use of sequential-shifting on a production Subaru model.

A wagon version was made available in 2001 with the EZ30 engine.

The model was refreshed in 2002 with an updated design.


Named after an area in Southern France, this wagon was shown at the 35th Tokyo Motor Show in 2001. It was a cobalt blue color and featured a normally aspirated 2.5 L engine. It was outfitted with a unique body kit, wheels and interior accents, such as clay-colored seats and a light-colored dashboard. [ Subaru Legacy Avignon Concept]

Ti S400

Subaru introduced a specially modified Legacy B4, with the name STi S400, signifying only 400 would be built for the year 2000, and the vehicles were sold only in Japan. The vehicle came equipped with the twin turbo introduced during the Second Generation production run.

Ti S401

For MY 2003, Subaru sold a limited edition, twin sequential turbo Legacy, modified by its STi division, and, again, only produced 400 sedan examples. [ Japanese language S401] , [ English language S401 review]

Fourth generation (2003-2009)

Infobox Automobile generation
name = Fourth generation

production = 2003-2009
weight =
wheelbase = convert|105.1|in|mm|abbr=on
related = Subaru Outback
Subaru Tribeca
Subaru Baja
Subaru Exiga
length = 186.2 in (sedan)
188.7 in (wagon)
188.8 in (2008-present wagon)
layout = All-wheel drive
width = convert|68.1|in|mm|abbr=on
height = convert|58.1|in|mm|abbr=on (wagon)
convert|56.1|in|mm|abbr=on (sedan)
convert|56.5|in|mm|abbr=on (Spec B Sedan)
weight = convert|3500|lb|abbr=on max
body_style = "B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
engine = 2.0i DOHC convert|165|hp|abbr=on H4 (JP, ROW except NA)
2.0t DOHC Dual AVCS convert|280|hp|abbr=on H4 (JP, RHD export until 2006)
2.0td convert|148|hp|abbr=on H4 (EU)
2.5i SOHC convert|175|hp|abbr=on H4
(ROW except JP)
2.5t DOHC AVCS convert|250|hp|abbr=on H4 (US, CA, RHD export)
3.0i DOHC AVCS convert|250|hp|abbr=on H6 (Worldwide)

fuel_capacity = Convert|19.2|usgal|L impgal|0|abbr=on
transmission = 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
speed =

* Chassis code
** BL - Sedan
** BP - Wagon

On May 23, 2003, Fuji Heavy Industries debuted the redesigned Legacy, known as the BL for sedan models and BP for wagons. It was released worldwide in 2004, with Subaru of America commencing production in January 2004 for the United States and Canadian markets. The large red plastic rear trim piece that first appeared in 1989, on both the sedan and wagon, with the word "Subaru" or "Legacy" (depending on the market) has been removed. The Subaru star logo reappears on the back of sedans and wagons, which was removed in MY 1992, with a blue background.

Lance Armstrong was used as an spokesman for both the sedan and wagon, and Sheryl Crow sang her 1996 hit "Everyday Is a Winding Road" in USA market commercials.

The chassis was redesigned and made stiffer, and it marked the return of a turbocharged engine to North American Legacies, featuring a 2.5 liter unit derived from that of the North American Impreza WRX STI. Due to advancements in turbocharger technology and tightening emission standards, the twin-turbo setup was dropped from the lineup. Turbocharged models and the H6 offered Subaru's first 5-speed automatic transmission, featuring SportShift technology licensed from Prodrive, Ltd.

Normally aspirated models received the gauge cluster from the earlier turbocharged BL Legacy, and turbocharged models were updated with the SI-Drive adaptive throttle system, and updated gauges, showing realtime fuel consumption. SI-Drive is a system that alters the shift profile, and has three settings: Intelligent, where the shifting of the automatic transmission happens much sooner in the torque band. Sport: The shifting happens much later, giving the vehicle a sporting nature. Sport# (sharp): This profile raises the shift point a touch more, for very sporty shifting.

During MY 2005, Subaru introduced Active Valve Control System, or AVCS on both the 2.5 Flat-4 and 3.0 Flat-6 engines as standard equipment.

European models have not featured a turbocharged gasoline engine due to emission standards, while RHD export markets initially received 2.0 liter engines derived from Japanese Domestic Market models, later updated to the 2.5 liter engine found on USDM Legacies.

The BL/BP Legacy was refreshed in 2006, with an all new grille, bumper and taillights.

As of the 2008 model year, the Legacy wagon and Outback sedan were discontinued in the United States, leaving the Legacy sedan and Outback wagon. The Legacy wagon was not discontinued in Canada. 2008 also brought the 3.0 L Flat-6 engine to the North American Legacy sedan. The Flat-6 has been available in the Outback sedan wagon since 2000.

USA Trim level designations have been updated and are listed in order of least expensive:

2.5i, 2.5i Limited, 2.5 GT Limited., 3.0R, 2.5GT Spec.b

In 2006, the trim level 2.5 SE was slotted between the 2.5i and the 2.5i Limited and the GT spec B was added.

In 2007, the 3.0R was added with the 6 cylinder engine.

For 2008, the 2.5i USA model has been certified PZEV emissions, and a badge has been attached to the rear of the vehicle on the bottom right hand side of the tailgate. All other models are certified LEV2.

Newly standard on select 2009 Legacy models, the 9-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is custom-optimized for the dimensions of each vehicle's interior.

European Legacy have two trim levels: the 2.0R and the 3.0R spec B. In Japan, the Legacy comes in three variations: Legacy Touring Wagon, Legacy B4 sedan and Legacy Outback. The JDM Outback engine choices are either the 3.0 or 2.5 DOHC.


On May 10, 2008, the Japanese-spec Legacy can be fitted with a new safety feature, called EyeSight. It consists of twin cameras, one on each side of the rear view mirror, that use human like stereoscopic vision to judge distances and generally keep tabs on the driver. The system can can help you keep your distance on the highway, a lane departure warning system, a wake up call should everyone pull away from the lights but you, and even keeps an eye out for pedestrians. [] [ Retrieved from Autoblog September 4, 2008] SI-Cruise has been integrated into the EyeSight feature as a driver safety aid.

TI S402

Subaru released a limited edition Legacy STI S402 (402 is the number of vehicles that were built) for the Japanese market only in May 2008. The engine is the 2.5 liter boxer turbo good for convert|285|hp|abbr=on and 292 lb·ft. of torque. Past generations of the STi S-series were sedan only, but the S402 includes the wagon as well. [ Legacy STi S402] [ Specific S402 details (Japanese site)]

Liberty GT tuned by STi

Subaru released a special version of the Liberty sedan and wagon, tuned by STi. Modifications have been made to such items as the brakes, suspension, engine, and interior, with only 250 examples being sold in Australia. [ Liberty STi]


The flat-4 diesel engine is offered in both the Legacy and Outback sedans and wagons, identified as the Subaru Legacy 2.0D the vehicle was released in the EU starting March 2008. The vehicle is offered with a 5 speed manual transmission only.

The official introduction of the Legacy and Outback diesel was at the Geneva AutoShow in March, 2008. [ Legacy Diesel Review retrieved 01/22/08] [ Legacy Diesel Announcement retrieved 01/23/08] [ Legacy and Outback diesel announcement retrieved 02/08/08]

According to the Subaru Insiders on-line newsletter dated March 2008, Subaru is "currently making modifications to the diesel so it meets the more stringent U.S. standards. Subaru diesel models should be domestically available in two to three years."

Fifth generation (2010-)

The Legacy will receive a redesign in the 2010 model year. At least one illustration of what the 2010 Legacy may look like exists on the Internet. [ On Deck: Redesigned 2010 Subaru Legacy 05/23/08]

Accomplishments and motorsports


In 1990, the Legacy was declared the number one selling 4-wheel drive car in the USA by R.L. Polk & Company, based on registration statistics for CYE 1989. According to AutoFacts Inc. AutoGuide, dated June 28,1990, the Legacy was the least expensive Sedan or Wagon offering both 4-wheel drive and ABS. The Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) voted the Legacy "1990's Best New Sedan".

In Australia, it was "Wheels" magazine's Car of the Year for 1994 and again for 1998. Upon the Turbo's introduction to the Australian market it was claimed to be the fastest accelerating car for under $100,000 on the Australian car market. The BL/BP chassis Legacy was the Car of the Year Japan for 2003-04. It was also joint Top Gear car of the year for 2007 with the Ford Mondeo.

Performance Enhancements

The EZ series of flat-6 cylinder engines, used in current Legacy products, replaced the EG series found in the Subaru SVX.Subaru has produced high performance versions of the Legacy with a Bilstein suspension and tuned turbocharged engines equivalent to the homologized rally version WRX STI (generating 205 kW (275 hp) on manufacturer's figures for the 2.0 L equivalent engine with manual transmission). Recent 3.0 L engines move close to the 2.0 L turbo output and share the Bilstein suspension. 2.0 L-engined turbocharged models with the Bilstein suspension were named either the "GT-B" (for wagons), or "Spec B", or "RSK-B4" (for sedans). The new 2003 model moved many models to simply "B4" or even "GT" in some countries. The Spec B badge still exists in the UK, where the 3.0R stands as the premier MY06 model. In Australia, the 2.5GT (SatNav) marks the top of the pile for the Legacy/Liberty range.

In North America, early sporty models were known simply as the Sport Sedan and Touring Wagon. Later models were given the GT and GT Limited nomenclature. The 2006 Legacy model brought forth a limited run of 500 Spec B models. For 2007 the Spec B became a regular production model (albeit a somewhat limited run). The Spec B model features a 6-speed manual transmission, an improved suspension system by Bilstein, navigation system (making the Spec. B the sole MT Legacy to get one), exclusive (to the Spec B) interior, 18" wheels, and additional aesthetic modifications.

World Rally Championship

The Legacy was campaigned by the Subaru World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship and British Rally Championship, with the help of Prodrive, beginning in 1990. It wasn't considered a truly competitive model at first, but showed promise under the command of Markku Alen, who in 1991 managed a third-place finish at the Swedish Rally. 1992 debuted the combination of experienced Group B, Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, and WRC driver Ari Vatanen, paired with the up-and-coming Scottish driver Colin McRae for Subaru's WRC effort. Two second place finishes, one by each driver, strengthened the commitment of Subaru to the World Rally Championship, the Legacy, and their drivers. The Legacy's primary competitor, with a turbocharged engine and AWD, was the Mitsubishi Galant VR-4.

1993 became a breakout year for Subaru as Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen pushed the Legacy to a third place finish at the Swedish Rally and a one-two placing after the first leg of the Acropolis Rally. Prodrive boss David Richards was eager to prove the potential of the new Impreza WRC car, but was charged with gaining a victory in the Legacy before the Impreza could debut. At Round 8 held in New Zealand, Subaru finally struck gold when McRae managed to hold back Francois Delecour in his Ford Escort WRC for the win. This would be the last WRC event for the Legacy, as the Impreza debuted at the following event, where it placed second in the hands of Vatanen.

Richard Burns was successful in numerous events with the car during 1992 before joining the World Rally team to drive the Impreza in 1993. Alister McRae, Per Eklund, Possum Bourne and Hannu Mikkola also competed in the Legacy during its WRC participation.


The Legacy remains an ever-present competitor in rallies around the world. SCCA ProRally and Rally America participation from many teams has been impressive. The Legacy and the Impreza have many interchangeable parts which makes for a very competent and reliable entry.

The Legacy, and its Outback stablemate, has won the Alcan Winter Rally several times; the first win was in 1990 followed by another win in 1992, 2002 and 2006.

A 1990 Legacy was the first Group N car to ever finish the WRC Safari Rally. This rally is considered the world's most gruelling rally under the World Rally Championship. In 1990 the 38th Safari Rally had 59 competitors total, only 10 of which were able to reach the finish. The Legacy was the only Group N car able to reach the finish and was in 8th place overall.

peed records

On April 23, 1998, a Generation III Subaru Legacy set a new world speed record for mass-produced turbocharged station wagons (1600 cc-2000 cc class), clocking 270.532 km/h (168.101 mph) over one kilometer on Highway 10 in La Junta, Colorado. [] This record was previously set by a Generation II Subaru Legacy in 1993 at convert|249.981|km/h|mi/h|3|abbr=on.

The original Legacy speed record was set between January 2 and January 21, 1989, with three Japanese-spec turbocharged RS sedans at the Arizona Test Center outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It broke the 100,000 km FIA World Land Endurance Record by maintaining an average speed of 138.780 mph (223.345 km/h) for 447 hours, 44 minutes and 9.887 seconds, or 18½ days. Pit stops were made every two hours with a driver change and refueling, while tire changes were made at 96 hour intervals, or every 13,400 miles (21,600 km) driven.


* Information listed for the first generation Legacy above was sourced from Subaru sales brochures for the noted model years from the USA, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia. Information obtained from Japanese Legacy brochures was translated into English from the original Japanese printing.

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