Mild visual update keeps Legacy fresh. New SI Drive system and paddleshifts for optional auto box give greater breadth of appeal. A good-looking, good-to-drive alternative to the mainstream.
What's new?
A mild exterior and interior makeover, retuned suspension, paddleshifts for the optional auto 'box and a new "SI-Drive" system, of which more later.

What's it like?
The facelift is subtle, but keeps the car fresh. The cabin has now got higher-quality materials, but it still isn't up to the standards of Audi, BMW et al.

The engine is, though. The 241bhp flat six sounds good and goes well, even when mated to the optional auto 'box. Subaru's five-speeder isn't the best auto 'box we've sampled, but it gives the Spec B broader appeal, and the manual override is reasonably rapid to react. Plus the paddles aren't attached to the steering wheel, so there's no confusion if you swap cogs with the wheel turned.

The SI-Drive system is not to be confused with BMW's i-Drive, despite being operated by a similar-looking rotary control in the centre console. What it does is swap between three different engine management modes: Intelligent, Sport and Sport Sharp. Sport mode makes for a sharp throttle response , and Sport Sharp even more so, while Intelligent mode "gives the driving efficiency of a good 2.0-litre petrol". In fact it makes it feel like my mum's driving (sorry mum, that's not a plus), but at least fuel economy is best in this mode.

Elsewhere the Spec B is as good to drive as ever, with well-weighted controls, accurate and feelsome steering and damping that treads a careful line between comfort and agility.

Should I buy one?
Yes. The Legacy is a refreshingly different choice that's engaging to drive, quick and well-equipped.

Rory Lumsdon

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drivenfromthere... 18 January 2012

Re: Subaru Legacy 3.0R spec.B

Hee hee. Just bought one in Newport Blue with the Auto and Si Drive. Pick it up in Feb!