The 2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6 R Limited is an excellent import, any consumer who fails to recognize the niche market Japanese automaker’s latest mid size four door sedan as a viable option when shopping for a new car are seriously missing out. This Ruby Red Pearl 3.6 R Limited is the automaker’s top of the line Legacy, and a pleasant surprise from the all wheel drive automaker is just how luxurious their flagship sedan can be. Subaru is an automaker that we would traditionally relate with Gran Turismo and the World Rally Championship, but in this case the “R” is meant less as a nod towards a high performance racing model, but is more likely to stand for the new Legacy’s relaxed attitude. However that doesn’t mean that the new Legacy isn’t going racing, in fact it is already a GT300 race car, and once you have a look at the flared four door, you will never look at another new Legacy the same way again.
The all new 2010 Subaru Legacy wears a set of the automaker’s aerodynamic hawk eye headlamps up front, stylish 17 inch wheels underneath a set of curvaceously contoured flared fenders, a redesigned rear suspension that makes a more spacious rear bench while under the hood of our 3.6 R is a rather large horizontally opposed six cylinder engine. The 3.6 Liter boxer engine makes a total of 256 HP and 247 lb-ft of torque while getting and EPA estimated 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway using regular grade gasoline.
One interesting feature of the Legacy 3.6 R is that the flat six engine is only available with a 5 speed automatic transmission that has been beefed up to work with the flatter torque curve from the bigger power plant. Our 2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6 R came well equipped, and would have set us back somewhere around $31,000. If you ask us, that is a great price to pay for such a relaxed all wheel drive sedan experience.
Continued after the jump.
Subaru has completely redesigned our Ruby Red Pearl Legacy for 2010. The new car features a striking front end made up of a pair of new headlamps that incorporate all the auxiliary lights necessary to be street legal into a new streamlined shape that swoops back extending where the hood meets the front fenders. This adds an aggressive touch to the previous generation’s playful units, just like where the 2009 car had round cutouts in the front bumper, the new Legacy makes has a sharp crease making the mid size sedan look like it means business. While the entire shape of the front bumper is new, a subtle styling cue change from last year is the direction that the side openings are pointing. Most automotive designers introduce a new model with a smiley face, creating a series of curves that opens upwards and run horizontally across the front bumper to make the car seem friendlier, and while the body colored cutouts point down and away from the car, our Legacy 3.6 R’s black plastic inserts have a well placed opening that gives the luxury sedan a bit of a sinister grin.
Aside from the boldly outlined front grill it is nice to see that Subaru has brought back bulged fenders for the 2010 model year. Just like the Quattro automaker Audi, almost all of Subaru’s running gear is placed ahead of the front axle because of their commitment to Symmetrical All Wheel Drive; the point is that this has always led to both automakers vehicles having particularly long noses. Subaru solved this problem by using boxer engines that are shorter by nature; however the 2010 Legacy’s wheelbase has been stretched in the interest of a bigger back seat, but it has also made the front end of the Legacy look proportionally smaller and more aerodynamic. Speaking of those rear seat passengers Subaru has redesigned the doors with window frames and extended the rear unit in the interest of occupants getting in and out of the new luxury sedan.
Out back the Legacy looks a bit larger thanks to the large wraparound taillights and much curvier rear end. Unlike last years model that had a bit of an aerofoil shaped into the rear deck lid design, the 3.6 R’s trunk was shaped using only obtuse angles which makes it not only look larger but adds valuable storage space inside. The round theme works well with the new Legacy, especially from a rear ¾ view, the mid sized four door’s bold fenders and side skirts make the car look planted on the pavement. Speaking of the wide arches; we saw those same 17 inch rims on the Impreza GT and we liked them then, so on a Ruby Red luxury sedan we think they look even better.
The Legacy 3.6 R is the top of the line model from Subaru’s mid size luxury sedan lineup, however in this case the “R” is more representative of a relaxed driving environment and not for the typical racing inspired model. The new Legacy is the roomiest Legacy ever thanks to that longer wheelbase we talked about earlier and an all new double wishbone rear suspension that gives back seat passengers a much more spacious and luxurious ride. Speaking of luxury, our Limited model’s interior came wrapped in supple black leather and featured attractive wood trim on the dash and doors as well as few high tech convenience features like dual zone climate control and a Harman-Kardon sound system complete with a large navigation screen that will play DVDs when you are in park.
Subaru keeps things simple inside of our Legacy Limited sticking to three main themes: black, silver and wood. The black is classic and covers almost everything from the leather seats and carpeting to the doors and dash. Then there are the few select silver trim items that add a modern sleek feel to the interior; for instance the leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel is made to look even more aerodynamic thanks to the three painted pieces that connect the comfortable rim to the airbag/horn cover, the center stack and shifter are another example of the 21st century finish. However it is the horizontal wood trim that wraps around the mid section of the dash and doors that give the Legacy its most upscale finish. This touch goes a long way to separate the larger luxury sedan from the entry level Impreza’s metallic swooshes on the dash.
While Subaru does offer one of the best touch screen navigation units in any new car being sold today, the audio and climate controls are teaming on becoming a bit more complicated than they need to be, but after all what are luxury car buyers looking for. Other electronic creature comforts include heated power adjustable driver’s seat and one touch window make the new Legacy a very relaxed ride for the driver and a more spacious experience for those in the back seat. Our Legacy 3.6 R’s interior was definitely on par with most luxury cars, and even fooled a few of our friends along the way.
Our Subaru Impreza 3.6 R is powered by a 3.6 Liter flat six engine that makes 256 HP and 247 lb-ft of torque and only comes equipped with Subaru’s new 5 speed automatic transmission. The combination is good for moving the 3,500 pound luxury sedan from 0 to 60 MPH in a spirited 7.8 seconds while burning ordinary 87 octane to the tune of 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway, making it a very efficient luxury sedan. Subaru claims that the redesigned engine with its broader torque curve and beefed up transmission means that you won’t have to wait to find power and they were right.
The Subaru’s all wheel drive system provides the new Legacy with lots of grip and makes the new Legacy handle as if it were a much smaller sports car. The drive train is so good that we think the big 3.6 Liter boxer engine won’t ever push the Legacy to a point past what the all wheel drive system can handle. Getting behind the wheel of the new Legacy makes you want to sit back and relax simply because of its softly sprung luxurious ride, with enough grunt to inspire confidence and the luxury of knowing that you won’t ever be forced to use it.
Why to Buy:
If you want a car that looks great and drives even better while offering a host of creature comforts and a very spacious interior, the Legacy 3.6 R Limited is model that you should give some serious thought to. A well equipped Legacy, like our Subaru will set you back a little over $30,000; now that is not bad for a very luxurious all wheel drive experience.
Why not to Buy:
Although the Subaru Legacy 3.6 R is the flagship model, it isn’t the performer of the bunch, if speed is what you are after consider a 2.5 GT model with a turbocharged 2.5 Liter flat four and a lot less weight over the front axle. If a bargain is what you are after the leather clad 2.5i Limited is your best value for the money. The 2010 Subaru Legacy has an option to suit all consumers price points, starting at $19,995 for the entry level model and goes all the way up to $30,995 for a fully loaded 3.6 R like ours.
If Subaru just isn’t for you, consider a few other premium sporty Japanese sedans like the Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima as well as the upscale VW Passat from Germany.