Subaru has added a sportier touch to the sixth-generation Legacy sedan by equipping it with the Active Torque Vectoring system from the upcoming WRX Impreza and go-faster WRX STi.
That’s for the United States market, where Subaru last year posted its best sales year ever. It’s not known if the system will be standard when the all-wheel-drive Legacy arrives in New Zealand early next year.
Subaru NZ managing director Wallis Dumper said he assumed the torque device would be available here, but “I don’t know. We haven’t ticked all the boxes (on equipment) yet.”
The US-spec 2015 sedan was unveiled at the Chicago motor show. It will be built at Subaru’s plant in Indiana; the NZ car will be built in Japan.
Unlike other active devices that modulate torque, Subaru’s instead applies the car’s brakes to the inside front wheel during aggressive cornering to improve handling. The first test will come when the WRX is launched here next month.
Subaru in the US has equipped Legacy with the system in an effort to boost its appeal. More than 50 per cent of Subaru sales in the US last year came from the Forester and Outback, so-called lifestyle wagons that have always been strong Stateside. Legacy sedan sales slumped 10 per cent or so in the US in 2013, largely because the new car was on its way.
The 2015 model shows off Subaru’s new design language, first seen on the Legacy Concept at the Los Angeles motor show last November.
Up front, there’s the hexagonal shield grille and hawk-eye headlights, an improvement over the current car’s front end. The roofline is better, too. It isn’t as coupe-like as the concept but it blends better with the rear end.
The rear tail- and brake-lights use LEDs and have the same design motif as the front. The rear also gets Subaru’s first radar system, a safety device similar in operation to the Eyesight camera up front.
The new car is slightly bigger than the current one. It rides on the same 2750mm wheelbase, but the car’s overall length increases by 40mm, aiding space inside. The A pillar has been moved forward to expand the cabin area. In addition, front-quarter windows were added with door-mounted side mirrors to reduce the front blind spot created by the side mirrors for increased forward visibility.
Subaru says the chassis, steering, suspension and brakes have been totally revamped. Increased body rigidity and suspension mounting positions suppresses roll to achieve higher ride quality without sacrificing handling and road holding.
Engines have pretty much been carried over but revised for improved fuel economy and better performance. Subaru US says the 2.5-litre, four-cylinder boxer unit now delivers 130kW and 236Nm, and the 3.6-litre six-cylinder 190kW and 335Nm. Gearboxes are stepless CVT units.