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Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M

With the pleasant memory of our recent stint in the 2006 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Limited still fresh in our minds, we looked forward to the arrival of the top-of-the-line 2007 Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B to the CNET garage. We weren't disappointed, as the spec.B offers all the Limited's performance while also including some gadgets that were absent from the 2006 model. That said, we didn't get everything we hoped for, as the important Bluetooth option is still missing, and the satellite radio kit requires a stiff $456 buy-in (subscription not included).

But Subaru's familiar touch-screen system--which incorporates navigation, trip computer and maintenance interval controls--works as well in the Legacy as in the less-inspiring B9 Tribeca where we encountered that system most recently. The sound system in the spec.B is enhanced with the simple additions of an auxiliary-audio input and MP3/WMA playback capability for the CD changer.

Our test car maintained the same low profile we appreciated in the 2.5 GT Limited, with no garish body add-ons drawing attention to its dark-gray metallic paint. The spec.B has more aggressive 18-inch wheels and rubber, but the simple multispoke design is in keeping with the car's overall clean look. For drivers looking to fly under the radar with confidence-inspiring all-wheel-drive performance and enough interior amenities to justify the cost, the spec.B is a very solid mount.

The interior of the Legacy spec.B is where the main improvements over the 2006 Legacy are found. As we noted in our review of that car, navigation was an available option but required the SportShift automatic transmission, so we contented ourselves with the five-speed and called it even. Luckily, no such compromise is required in the spec.B, and in fact, an extra cog is thrown into the manual transmission to boot.

The navigation system remains one of our favorites due to its relatively stripped-down touch-screen interface and ability to detour and recalculate routes rapidly. Destination entry is possible via text input from an on-screen keyboard, by using a points-of-interest database or simply scrolling and pointing on the map. Setup of the many split-screen options is intuitive, as is control of the other systems accessed through the nav screen: the trip computer, the maintenance monitors and various mileage, the calendar and the calculator functions.

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Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT spec.B 4dr Sedan AWD (2.5L 4cyl Turbo 6M
Japanese Import Car, New & Used Car, 2007