Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Feeling Legassy: 2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT

It is a shame, but Subaru never produced a wagon version of their hopped up Impreza WRX STI (no, the hatchback jelly bean version doesn't have trunk big enough to fit more than a single polluting VW diesel engine block) but you can get pretty darn close on the used market with a Legacy 2.5 GT.  The Legacy provides a more refined ride free from the filling loosening harshness and freeway pogosticking of the STI, but it has an engine that is surprisingly close in performance.  Find this  2005 Subaru Legacy GT offered for $11,250 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist.

The Subaru Legacy 2.5GT is often considered the adult's version of the WRX STI, with which it shares a 2.5 liter flat-4 short block (with the exception of the STI's high compression domed pistons). A smaller turbocharger brings plenty of low end boost, 5-spd manual and AWD add to the package, and subtle styling cues round out a great family wagon that is also fun on back roads.

Today the 2.5GT is a good competitor to a used Audi S4/S6 and while it doesn't have a premium brand badge, it makes up for that with reliability and speed.  This one has a few OEM+ upgrades, including a set of lowering springs, short shift kit, sway-bars front/rear, big brake kit, ECU flash -- it probably goes, turns, and stops well.

See another tastefully modified longroof turbo?   Found on oppositelock.


  1. Apologies in advance if you're one of the 5 or 6 people who have had a flawless long-term Subaru ownership experience, but this was a great car when it was in the warranty period. After that, it quickly becomes a money pit.

    Built to a price, not a standard. I wish they were better, because they are an A+ in concept, but in ownership experience, they're a D+.

    Since you referenced VW, I'll throw out a question.....has anyone actually seen the NOx pollutant figures quoted? All I see, even on the EPA's website, is the "10 to 40x standards" figure. Not defending VW, but it seems more than a little nebulous to not quote actual test results and figures while a company is being crucified. Does anyone have a link to actual test results showing the extent of the test failure?

    1. There's a theory that says that VW's fraud did not put them over the actual limits for the year, but with the trap running on the test they qualified for a bunch of extra PZEV or some such credits, and the software reverted the car back to just legal but not PZEV standard.

      We will see where this goes. Never believe the press or the EPA on the first pass about ANYTHING.

    2. As for the Scooby...I know of no flawless long-term ownership experiences, but I was once advised when I was shopping these that the first thing you do is swap the up-pipe to get rid of the cold-start cat, because too many of the catted up-pipes fail and frag the turbo in the deal. Rather like the cold-start cats in the B5-or-whatever Audi S4s that were cooking the turbos..

      The rest of the world seems agreed that US cold-start regs are absurd.

    3. thanks mrk....that's about where my head was too.....yeah, VW seems to have been caught with a hand in the cookie jar, but right now there seem to be almost no details, and that's usually a red flag that there's more to the story.

    4. Here's a link the study by the West Virginia U's Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions that nailed VW:

      In-use emissions testing of light-duty diesel vehicles in the U.S.

    5. Thanks Gianni---appreciate the helpful link....will read as soon as possible.

  2. I had one of these GT/5mt wagons for about a year. Bought with 40k sold with 70k or so. It was a flawless ownership experience. However, the engines are not built to last and after about 100k its only a matter of time until you are rebuilding the head. I have owned 7 turbo subarus and the only high mileage one I have had burnt a valve so I had that corrected....and did an uppipe and had the head machined and had the valves replaced and had this and that...all while the engine was out. Only cost $3500 on a $7k car. So basically it was a complete nightmare, but what choice do you have when all the value has been drained out of your car?

    Overall, I would buy, but not at that price. I sold my 05 LGT with 70k on it for $14k. Budget at least $3k for work within the next 15,000 miles.

  3. The problem with these cars is that around about 100K the small filter screen leading to the turbo inlet becomes clogged with gunk, starving the turbo of oil, which impoldes, grenading the engine. Google it. Many people take out the screen to prevent this...which is why debris gets into the turbo and does the same thing. There is a fix, but it is annoying to do and is no guarantee. You really need to do it and then replace the turbo at the same time to be sure.

    I instead got a Mazda 6 wagon. Same handling, basically as fast, no turbo lag, good looks, rare, and fun. Cheaper too!

    1. So, just replace the filter every 80-100K? Not that bad in terms of regular maintenance with the timing belt. But I'm still not a big fan of the Legacy look.


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