I’ll get right to the point. Those who saw part one of this two-part FTC Subaru sidebar and thought I literally flipped it, you’re in for a disappointment. I suppose I could make up a fabulous story about how I skidded down a cliff rubber side up after rescuing innocent children from an exploding volcano, but to borrow a line from an old Kenny Rogers tune, sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em. This is especially true when you violate the Christopher Smith Purchasing Cheap Cars for Dummies guidebook, which opens with the chapter entitled: Never fall in love with the idea of a car.
Welcome to the next Flip This Car adventure, a 1991 Subaru Legacy Sport Sedan turbo five-speed. There’s just one problem—it’s not actually the next adventure. Well, it sort-of is, or rather was, because while I still have the 1994 Buick Roadmaster as of this writing, the Subaru has already been bought and sold. If you’re confused, it’s okay. I’ll explain this whole mini-adventure in a two-part Flip This Car series, starting right now.
Subaru will be bringing its all-new 2012 Impreza to the New York International Auto Show later this month. So far, the company is mostly keeping mum about the details, but they have told us that it will deliver 36 miles per gallon fuel economy, which would make it the best in the US for an all-wheel-drive car.
Coming right on the heels of our drive of the Legacy GT, we found it fascinating to experience the transformation of the Legacy’s driving dynamics through seemingly modest changes. In short, by raising the car about 3.5 inches, retuning the suspension and switching from a manual/turbo four to an automatic/normally aspirated six, this feels like a completely different car. Those of you with a penchant for saying “because car X uses the same platform as car Y, we know Z” should drive these cars back to back. If you were honest, you’d drop the platform bigotry in a flash.
More so than other Japanese or domestic sedans priced in the low-to-mid $30K range, the Subaru Legacy 2.5GT is consistently fun to drive, and it is easy to understand why. Start with a 265-horsepower turbo four that produces big, dirty bags full of torque down low and a nice rush of power on top, add a six-speed manual with really well chosen gear ratios, couple the whole works to a full-time all-wheel-drive system, and what have you got? You’ve got a platform that is responsive and communicative, that provides good grip and acceleration in the dry, and that adds a measure of security in inclement weather or on sketch road surfaces. And what’s not to like about that?
Check out this piece of forbidden fruit. The Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT tS, for the Japanese market, is tuned up by STI.