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Old 05-31-2005, 12:31 AM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 34631
Join Date: Mar 2003
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: I'm the man with no name. Lag.
Default BD GT owner thoughts on '05 GT after test drive

I've been avoiding test driving the GT's for fear of having to buy it after the drive. But today I decided it was time to shake down the new GT.

Test conditions: Catonsville MD (suburb of Baltimore City) light traffic and ~80degrees.

Also keep in mind I've driven by BD for almost three years and about to click over 50k miles that I've driven. The car now has 141k. I only drove the new GT for about 20min and a little over 10 miles

The thing I noticed looking in and out side of the car is how well laid out and roomy (for a midsize Japanese car) it was, just like my BD. Putting threw the parking lot I don't really notice anything, I'm just pacifying the sales person at this point. On the open road I notice two things right away; the clutch is very vague and the power is substantial. Getting around is a breeze and doesn’t really require a lot of shifting because you almost always have enough power. The turbo lag is noticeable only if you're low in the RPM band and you dip well into the throttle, other than that just a buttery smooth flat four. The steering however I believe is over boosted and vague at the same time, reminded me of driving a pickup truck. The shifter felt much the same as my GT, vague, but if you know where the gates are you'll be fine. I haven't checked the official handling numbers between the two, but I had about the same confidence level between the two cars. Over all I came away with a feeling of, mehh it's okay. If you’re not familiar with the legacy line you will undoubtedly be very impressed with the car. Though for me having driven mine felt the new GT was actually soft. I feel with an engine swap in my BD I'd be just as happy, well really more happy than buying a new GT, I'd save about $24-$26k and be just as fast. I along with most other performance minded legacy owners believe all the earlier models needed was about an extra 70hp and maybe better seats and the would be great. The new GT feels dumbed down with it's saving grace being what you can do to it rather than what it is. Unless you just want the feel of new or not mechanically inclined, I would just recommend an engine swap in your current legacy.

I ran some figures with the sales person and with $2000 trade-in on my '98 and $5000 with a 36month loan (not sure what interest rate he had) my payment would have been about $360 a month. That's about $360 a month more than what I pay for my BD and I figure with the $5000 down, I could use that as my "make over" budget and have a more capable machine. The only thing I wouldn't have is a warranty and the "hey, I have a new car" going for me.
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:47 AM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 9689
Join Date: Aug 2001
Chapter/Region: MAIC
1998 Legacy GT


My 98 GT Sedan has just about 111K on it, all but the first 40K I put on the odometer. I test drove the 05 GT and here are my thoughts:

It is a really sharp looking car, inside and out. Didn't notice turbo lag, but I drove it spiritedly throughout. I really have to agree with your analysis otherwise. Steering and suspension, the biggest beef I have with my 98 seems to still be an issue. As I was driving the 05 my first thoughts were, this car needs better suspension. Body roll, pitch and understeer still seem to be issues. I do understand that the Legacy is supposed to be a more 'upscale' car but to me when you put a 250 hp turbo in it and badge it 'GT' it should perform like a sports sedan.

(I should note that I have a Whiteline rear sway bar on the 98)

I didn't get enough seat time to fully get a feel for seat comfort, something that I look for in cars after driving long distances in my 98. (I'm 6' tall and my legs barely hit the seat).

However, my biggest peeve, is the factory stereo that is set up to essentially prevent a head unit swap or even peripheral connections for things like MP3 players. Put the McIntosh in it and maybe we'll talk.

I have to agree with you again, that kind of money would make the 98 a sweet machine.
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:26 PM   #3
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Member#: 38629
Join Date: Jun 2003
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Northwest
1999 Legacy GT (STI)


I posted similar thoughts a few months ago.

I like the car, but it just wasn't enough "sport" in the sports sedan. Certainly the things I disliked could be fixed with aftermarket parts, but since I personally have a lot of parts already invested in my BD.

I have a USDM Ej20 in my garage, and I'm gathering some other small parts needed for the swap.

I also have a soft spot for the look of the BD for some reason, and I think it's a crime that my hoodscoop isn't functional.
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:54 PM   #4
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 59934
Join Date: Apr 2004
2005 Legacy GT Wagon
Atlantic Blue


As a current GT owner, and ex owner of a BD Legacy, I would respectfully totally disagree. The two cars are chalk and cheese different. The 05 doors shut with a solid "thunk" as against a "clang" (and you don't have to slam them), it is quieter, and much smoother overall. The stock O5 steering/suspension is IMO a very distinct improvement over the stock BD - where the GT badge, btw, meant a trim level, not more power - as is the gearshift, which is nowhere near as vague. Plus the perceived interior quality is much better.

And of course it has guts, which the old one in stock form did not have.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:52 PM   #5
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Member#: 34631
Join Date: Mar 2003
Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: I'm the man with no name. Lag.

Thanks for the counter argument. I agree with you in one line,"...the perceived interior quality is much better." Yes the perception is that it looks, at first glance better, but I use all of my scences (sp) and the feel is no better than the BD. The new GT for sure has the "look" but maybe I expected to much. I would love it if they let me drive it alone (it almost happend due to the dealership being so busy) on my normal loop so I could better access the difference.

Your BD, was it a GT?

And yes, the doors. When I closed them on the '05 with the window half down I didn't hear that dullywing noise I hear in my BD. I still with they didn't go with frameless windows. I wonder why they do that?
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Old 06-01-2005, 02:17 PM   #6
Patrick Olsen
NASIOC Supporter
Member#: 120
Join Date: Jul 1999
Chapter/Region: AKIC
Location: Where the Navy sends me...
1997 Legacy 2.5GT
1996 Impreza coupe


I drove a 5-speed '05 GT a couple/few months ago. I found the turbo lag to be nearly non-existent (waaaay better than my sister's '02 WRX) - I'm assuming the extra 0.5L of displacement helps in that respect. As rogerd pointed out, the '05 felt much more "solid" than my '97, but then again my '97 has 143kmi on it and has had the ever-living **** driven out of it since I got it with 53k on it.

Unfortunately Hawaii has a severe shortage of good test drive roads, so I couldn't take it down a nice windy road to see how the handling was. Felt pretty nice, and the brakes certainly are stout.

Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 06-01-2005, 07:54 PM   #7
Member#: 71938
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Tokyo
2004 BL Legacy GT
Regal Blue


I've owned turbo Legacies from the BD to the current BL. My BD was quick, no mistake about that. But with a clear memory, it's failings in comparison to the current GT:

Noise. It was noisy as heck. It was light and quick because it had little in the way of sound deadening.

Flex. Mean amounts of body flex. The switch from the BD to the BE was big enough, I don't even want to compare it to the solidness that is the GT.

Interior. No way around it, the BE interior was nicer, and the GT several levels above the BE. It doesn't mean that the BD interior was horrid, just that it wasn't very cohesive as a look. Ergonomics haven't changed much, though.

Handling. The BD handled quite well, but it had the slower steering rack, larger steering wheel, and traditional Subaru understeer that plagued the Legacies and Impreza's. That was only gotten rid of on the current Legacy and STi. Most people wouldn't notice it, but at the track the difference between a neutral setup (JDM Legacy) and an understeering setup is very noticeable.

Many of the problems mentioned in this thread towards steering/handling is likely because of two areas that SOA changed on the North American Legacy. The first is tyres - RE050A's stock make the car feel *much* better in terms of steering feel. The second is the rear swaybar, which is much larger on the JDM car. Much of steering feel is purely due to how crisp car response is to inputs, and RE92's coupled with a small rear swaybar is going to take the crispness out of anything. Put some real crappy tyres on an Evo and a mini rear sway bar on it, and the steering is going to feel pretty hideous on it as well.


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Old 06-03-2005, 04:43 PM   #8
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Member#: 11620
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Ontario
1997 GF4-STiV3 clone


Originally Posted by lag
I still with they didn't go with frameless windows. I wonder why they do that?
Frameless windows allow them to make the A pillar thicker and stronger without comprimizing vision. This in turn leads to a more rigid body and better crash protection. The tradeoff is your door doesn't sound great when closing and you get more wind whistling. They likely loose lots of sales for this trivial issue, but the engineers still rule at Subaru.
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Old 06-03-2005, 05:37 PM   #9
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Chapter/Region: MAIC
Location: I'm the man with no name. Lag.

^^ thanks for the info!!

I would say that they do loose sales for that. When I was checking out my BD I thought the doors were crap and this may reflect on the overall quality of the car and was thinking of walking- then I noticed the lack of a frame and held the window (window being half down) and closed the door no noise.
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