Issue: Jul 2004


2005 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT and Outback 3.0R



Added power and safety makes Subaruís flagship sedanís and wagonís even better.

by John Peter

 Following in the wake of the popular 300 hp WRX STi, a car thatís caught on with Americaís tuner crowd, Subaru introduces a newly-styled and more powerful Legacy and Outback to the lineup.

Mike Whelan, national manager, corporate communications, says that development of the new vehicles began about four-and-a-half years ago with the engineers focusing on the phrase ďdelivering sensuous performance with intelligence value.Ē

At first glance, the Legacy sedan could be mistaken for an Acura. A new sleeker, wedge-shaped design still carries the familiar Subaru face and WRX-style hood scoop with a more stylish headlamp treatment. The wagon and sedan share sheet metal from the C-pillar forward and Outback and Legacy models are differentiated by lower cladding and unique front fascias. The new design also helps the aerodynamic package. The Legacy sedan posts a 0.29 Cd with the wagon coming in at 0.31.

The body is based on an improved version of the ring shaped reinforcement design with hydroformed steel B-pillars to enhance side impact protection. A greater use of aluminum alloy and high tensile steel make for a lightweight body structure with improved rigidity.

To further increase rigidity, the body has been constructed using larger and straighter front and rear frame rails. The rear of the frame has a larger, straighter cross member for added strength. The new design has increased bending rigidity by 14 percent and torsional rigidity by five percent yet reducing overall body weight by as much as 180 lb.

The aluminum hood saves 16.5 lb and the wagonís aluminum rear gate is 12 lb. lighter. Aluminum bumper beams not only reduce weight but also lower the vehicleís center of gravity and reduce yaw.

The rear cross memberís larger, more rigid design provides for a lower roll center and increases rear suspension mount local rigidity of 200 to 300 percent.

To further lower the Legacyís center of gravity and improve handling, the engine is mounted 22 mm (.8 in.) lower in the chassis and the front differential is lowered 10mm (.4 in.). The battery is moved 26 mm (1 in.) rearward and the windshield washer tank is mounted lower on the firewall. The front suspension castor angles are increased from 3 degrees to 6 degrees and the vehicle sits on a one-in. wider track for better stability.

The Outback, which is classified by NHTSA as light truck, has its engine lowered 12 mm (.47 in.) and the differential remains unchanged.


While the 2005 Outback 2.5 XT has 8.7 in. of ground clearance, .3 in. higher than the í04 model, a 1-in. wider track and lower center of gravity give it a better Static Stability Factor calculation than the previous generation vehicle.

Towing capacity for the 2.5 XT is 2,700 lb. and the 3.0R is 3,000 lb.

A canon-mount steering rack improves steering response and a damper valve has been incorporated into the steering rack to filter out some of the kickback. Steering ratio is 15:1 on all Legacy turbo models.

The ABS system incorporates electronic brake distribution (EBD) and uses a magnetic encoder mounted inside the hub for a more accurate measurement.

The brakes use a tie rod-type tandem brake booster. The BMW 3 Series was benchmarked for brake feel. 

 Subaru can be proud of the new Legacy and Outback interior treatment. Lisa Fleming, Corporate Communications Manager says that when Bob Lutz, Chairman of GM North America, saw the Legacy at this yearís Detroit Auto Show, he told Subaru that he wanted the vehicle transferred to GMís interior design studio as soon as the show was over. (Subaru is partly owned by GM). It seemed that Mr. Lutz wanted his interior design team to see what an interior could and should look like.

All 2005 Legacy and Outback models share an interior design that integrates the IP and large center area into the center stack. Legacyís interior theme is monochromatic while Outback gets a two-tone treatment. The soft urethane foam-padding on the dash extends all the way below the gauge panel. Tasteful use of brushed aluminum, wood and chrome trim add to the elegant look of the interior. The Legacy 2.5GT and Outback 2.5 XT and 3.0R models come with perforated leather-trimmed seats.

The eight-way adjustable driverís seat and four-way adjustable passenger seat are 15mm higher and designed for better long-distance support and comfort. The 4-gauge IP in the 2.5L models has an LED display with needle pointers picked up from the Imprezza WRX STi. A wood-trimmed MOMO steering wheel adds to the sporty upscale look. The interior also features dual-zone climate control, illuminated switches for all power window and seat controls and a HomeLink integrated transmitter system in the driverís sun visor. The Outback comes standard with a dual panel glass power moonroof. 

 Subaru has developed two new powerplants for the 2005 Legacy and Outback.

The Legacy 2.5GT and Outback 2.5 XT get a 2.5L intercooled/turbocharged, horizontally-opposed (boxer) 4-cylinder with Subaruís Active Valve Control System (AVCS), that makes 250 hp at 6,000 rpm and 250 lb. ft. of torque at 3,600 rpm. The 2.5L shares its architecture with the WRX motor.
 
The semi-closed deck design greatly improves block rigidity and special reinforcing ribs in the block provide additional strength. While the architectures may be similar, the cylinder block, cylinder heads, crankshaft, camshafts, intake system, turbo and intercooler are all unique to the Legacy and Outback. The 2.5 features a resin intake manifold that not only reduces weight but has better flow characteristics. A new cross-flow design allows for a smaller yet more efficient intercooler. Subaru has equipped all turbo models with dual exhaust and twin mufflers, new for the 2005 Legacy and Outback.

The Outback 3.0R is powered by a 3.0L normally-aspirated 6-cylinder boxer engine that makes 250 hp at 6,600 rpm and 219 lb.ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm on premium fuel.

The 3.0L has a new air intake and new resin intake manifold as well as AVCS and electronic throttle control. A 3-port tuned exhaust system maintains three ports down to the collector for improved breathing.

All Legacy and Outback models come with symmetrical all-wheel-drive Ė each system specific to powertrain choice.

Legacy and Outback models with the turbo 4- and 3.0L 6-cylinder engines mated to a new 5-speed automatic, utilize a VariableTorque Distribution (VDT) AWD system. VTD uses and integrated electronically-controlled hydraulic transfer clutch and planetary gear-type center differential to control power between the front and rear wheels. Under normal conditions the power split is 45 percent front/55 percent rear. The system can respond to road conditions, transferring power to the wheels that have traction.

The 3.0 L Outbackís Vehicle Dynamics Control system incorporates VTD with an all-wheel, all-speed traction control system that adds individual wheel braking and throttle control to correct understeer and oversteer. The system uses sensor inputs and tire characteristics to govern power distribution based on available surface friction, using a special friction-estimation technology. The transfer torque ration can be controlled over a broader range due to more precise mapping of vehicle control parameters. 

Legacy and Outback models with the 5-speed manual transmission use a viscous coupling continuous AWD system. Under normal conditions, torque split is 50/50 front to rear. Loss of traction to the front or rear wheels causes a rotational difference between the front and rear discs in the viscous unit, shearing the fluid, causing it to heat up and thicken, transferring power from the plates rotating faster to those rotating slower.

New for í05 and standard on all 2005 Legacy and Outback models is a 5-speed electronic direct-control automatic transmission with lock-up torque converter. The transmission  incorporates an aluminum oil pump cover, clutch drums and planetary carrier and weighs in at just 267 lb. including the AWD transfer gearing and front differential that are integrated into the transmission case.

Engine torque is now monitored by an internal local area network (LAN) system. The new 5-speed can electronically adapt to the ownerís driving style. A map switch in transmission monitors the driverís intentions, determining the best shift map for transmission. The 5-speed automatic uses a lateral-g sensor to hold the appropriate gear while cornering and will make a positive downshift to optimize acceleration as the vehicle exits the corner. The transmission will also downshift to improve performance while going uphill and apply the proper amount of engine brake and hold the appropriate gear when going downhill.

The transmission is built by Fuji Heavy Industries with development coming out of Subaruís Pro-Drive world rally program.

The optional SPORTSHIFT, available on the 5-speed automatic, allows drivers to manually shift gears via a console-mounted shifter. The 2.5L Legacy and Outback models have steering wheel-mounted shift buttons that will put the vehicle in temporary SPORTSHIFT mode, to downshift to pass for example, automatically reverting back to normal mode.

The optional 5-speed manual uses a dual-mass flywheel that helps dampen engine vibration, improving fuel economy and NVH and a push type clutch release system on all turbo models. The manual has a double cone synchronizer on first gear and an improved shift linkage lever ratio reduces the shifter lever throw.

Standard safety features include dual stage driver and passenger air bags and active front head restraints. Front seat side impact bags and side curtain air bags are new for í05. Both Legacy and Outback have a new occupant detection system, mounted under the seat that adjusts the force of the airbag when the seat is moved forward. The new side impact door beams incorporate a pipe beam, augmenting the plate-type beam, that ties into the rear wheel arch to reduce the possibility of a side impact forcing the door into the cabin.

The Legacy and Outback carry over the brake pedal system from the Forrester. In a frontal crash, the brake pedal breaks from its mounts to lessen the risk of foot injuries.

All Outback 3.0R models have a direct tire pressure monitoring system that uses transmitters attached to the tire valve to measures each tireís air pressure.

Built in centrifugal switch comes on at 20 mph, preserving battery life.

The rear wiper has a built-in deicing function and when the wipers are in intermittent mode, the rear wiper will function in regular mode when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.

The 2005 Legacy and Outback were scheduled to go on sale June 1. Subaru is planning on sales of 90,000 yearly with all vehicles being manufactured at the Lafayette, Ind. Plant. Subaru currently has all of the production capacity at the plant and has announced that a new seven-passenger vehicle coming next year will likely be produced at that facility as well.

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