The other day CTzen Speedmaster 227 wrote a post about a few of the Subaru Impreza models that are relatively unknown other than the performance- oriented WRX and WRX STI (link https://www.carthrottle.com/post/nk7yd8j/). As a spin-off, I’d thought I would explore another area of unknown Japanese gems, specifically the Impreza’s more practical cousin, the Legacy.
Produced on the BE platform with input from the ‘STI’ performance division, the S401 was released in 2002 featuring a twin sequential turbo 2.0L EJ208 engine producing 289 horsepower and 253 ft.lb of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox (taken from the Impreza WRX STI). The highlight of this model though, was that it was the last Subaru model to feature the sequential twin turbocharging first introduced in 1993 in the 1st generation of the model. Unfortunately Subaru’s concept never was able to be fully refined (owing to noticeable turbo lag between the transitional periods of both turbochargers at 3,500-4,000 RPM), and the S401 was a ‘sayonara’ to the design as Subaru moved back to single-turbocharged units.
Only 400 were produced, mainly sold within the Japanese market (although 2 made it into Australiasia). You can pick one out easily by the STI grille, unique BBS alloy wheels, hood scoop similar to that of the Impreza WRX STI, and numerous pink STI badges. In addition, the engine received ECU remapping, along with tuned internal components and high flow cats.
Produced in both sedan and wagon body styles, the ‘Blitzen’ model was the result of a collaboration between Subaru and Porsche Design. With every aesthetic component (exterior and interior, especially the body kit and speciality ‘wang’) designed by Porsche, other notable features included the inclusion of Aisin Seiki’s newly-developed sequential automatic gearbox: a first for any Subaru model. Models received the EZ30 engine, with model refreshes given throughout the course of its production from 2000-2003 which largely were exterior updates.
The Legacy in a more practical and outdoors-oriented ‘ute’ package. Produced from 2002-2006, the name and design concept of the Baja was focused upon emulating the 4x4s used in the famous Baja 1000 rally held in New Mexico’s Baja California Peninusla. With the platform and most of the engineering off a Legacy/Outback wagon, it was largely sold in the United States, Canada, and Chile. Engines ranged from a 2.5 litre EJ251 H4 to a 2.5 litre EJ255 H4 turbocharged unit, with 4-speed automatic and 5-speed manual transmission choices.
A unique selling point of the Baja was its ‘Switchback’ tailgate compartment. At the touch of a button, the rear passenger seat bench could fold flat and the bed at the back could fold inward into the passenger compartment to allow more cargo space (1,900 mm). The design also included a pair of stainless steel buttresses named ‘Sports Bars’. Yep, you heard that right, ‘Sport Bars’. (I nearly made a typo there).
Sold specifically within the Australian market, the Liberty GT tuned by STi received numerous changes that extended beyond the aesthetics. Essentially an Australian version of the Legacy STi S402, changes included ECU changes to the existing Liberty GT’s 2.5 litre turbocharged flat-four which increased the power by 10 kW, a torque increase by 11nM (to 350nM), lowered Blitstein suspension by 15mm, and unique 18 inch Enkei alloy wheels. Other performance changes included STi derived rear lateral links with pillow-ball bushes/ bracing for the front subframe/strut towers, Brembo brakes, and specially developed Pirelli P-Zero tires. You can even spot one through the specially-designed rear bumper which includes air ducts to improve cooling of the rear brakes, front splitter, and twin mufflers.
Only 300 were produced within the Australian market, though it was offered as an optional tuning package for existing Liberty GTs (at a high cost though: $10,000 AUD)
A concept model, but nevertherless demonstrated Subaru’s attempt at the ‘stance game’. Shown at Tokyo Auto Salon in 2004, the primary changes here were cosmetic and not entirely performance-oriented. This extended to the ‘VIP style alloys, special body kit and *tiny spoiler.
Only offered in Wagon form from 1996-1998, the GT-B models were based on the BD generation and were known for upgraded Blistein front and rear struts, larger brakes, sway bars, and front bumpers. These models were also available with the same TY752VBCAA manual transmission as in the Version 3 Impreza STI, coupled to the twin turbo-charged EJ20R unit.
Known as the “Sports Utility Sedan” and sold in limited numbers within the North American market, it was essentially a Legacy Outback with the wagon rear shortened into a trunk of a sedan, keeping the higher ground clearance of its Outback cousin. Only offerred with a non-turbocharged EJ25D, it was essentially Subaru’s earliest answer to Volvo’s ‘Cross Country’ range aside from plastic side cladding.
Both of these special edition models were technically successors to the Blitzen model released back in 2000-03. Main difference was that performance for these were not specifically a priority and more focus was drawn upon the visual changes. Both featured the iconic red paint job unique to the Blitzen models, custom made alloy wheels and grille designs, (and in the B4 concept’s case) a large ‘wang’ with homage to the original design. The difference between these two was the BL-5 GT was a special-edition model briefly released, whilst the B4 based on the more recent platform was only a concept shown at Tokyo Auto Expo 2015.
This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.