The 3 Series Throne (BMW 330i vs Infiniti G35, Legacy B4, Volvo S60)

Discussion in 'GT4 Race Reports' started by niky, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. niky

    niky Moderator

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    [​IMG]
    The 3-Series Throne
    BMW 330i versus Infiniti G35, Subaru Legacy B4, Volvo S60 T5 Sport


    [​IMG]

    It’s a Pavlovian response, really, like the dog that salivates every time it hears a bell ring. Whenever someone mentions the words “sport” and “sedan” together, some other bloke shouts “BMW!” It’s a given, and we dare you to find an exception to that rule.

    The previous BMW 3-series was an instant hit when it came out, and has been guaranteed the status of ‘future classic’ due to its overwhelming dominance of the sport sedan scene. With a model range encompassing everything from the M3 super-coupe to the four-wheel drive turbo-diesel 330xd super-tourer, there was a 3-series for everybody.

    And for people who wanted the spinning propeller on their car but couldn’t quite make the monthlies, there was even a 316i. Thank God they’re not bringing that one back. Now the cheapskates who want a new Beemer will have to settle for the sardine-can stodgy 1-series.

    Eherm... Well, the king is dead, long live the king. The old 3-series, with the exception of the M3 (whose days are numbered, too -ed), is now consigned to that great car-lot in the sky, and the Bavarian dealerships are filled with a new 3. But can it live up to the standards of its forebearers? More to the point, is it any good as compared to the competition?

    We put together a group of cars which could compete with the new 330i in terms of power, space, comfort and cachet. The fact that they’re all cheaper can’t hurt either. And this is the group that’s fighting for the 3-Throne.

    The Competition

    BMW 330i – Cr. 48,040
    [​IMG]

    The new kid on the block, the 330i has a big shadow to fill. Which is quite alright, as it’s bigger than the previous 330i in all the right ways. Back seat passengers are no longer economy-class citizens… merely second class. The engine is now stronger, too, 254 hp trumps the 225 hp of the previous 3. Weight is up only 17 kilograms over the previous model, surprising, considering it’s bigger by about 100mm in every direction. BMW claims that this model is stiffer, lighter in structure, and better than the old one in every way. It’s also a pretty car. Amazing, considering the looks of the other models in BMW’s range. We like it.

    Infiniti G35 – Cr. 30,720
    [​IMG]

    The Infiniti G35, based on Nissan’s outstanding new Front-Midship platform, benefits from the biggest engine in this group and a chassis and suspension shared with its coupe sibling and the new Nissan 350Z. Much praise has been ladled onto the Infiniti for its grunt and ability, but we feel that not enough has been said about its exceptional size. This is a roomy car, though the build quality is nowhere near the BMW’s. It’s also got the biggest footprint here, though the Volvo and the BMW are both heavier. One sore point on such a stylish package is the wheels, which look tiny and overwhelmed by the tires and wheel-arches on this car.

    Subaru Legacy B4

    One wouldn’t think the Legacy as a natural 3-series competitor, but Subaru has been making a lot of noise about how it compares to the Germans. We brought two of them to see what they’ve got.

    Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B – Cr. 28,800
    [​IMG]

    This is the odd car out in this comparison. With an engine and drivetrain lifted straight from the Impreza WRX (ahem… it was taken from the Legacy in the first place –ed), this car left us with visions of rallying mayhem on dirt roads. It’s got more ground clearance than its 3 liter sibling, but it’s far from being a Forester in a pin-stripe suit. It’s a pretty car, but the hood scoop ruins those sleek lines. This Legacy is almost a thousand dollars cheaper than the WRX STi. It has the same motor and four-wheel drive system, more legroom, and a much nicer body shell. Something tells us that someone at Subaru’s marketing department has got a really wicked sense of humor.


    Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R – Cr. 28,500
    [​IMG]

    This is the Legacy for the business executive, more restrained and seemingly softer than its turbocharged sibling. It’s not as powerful as the 2.0, and we figure the bigger engine should make it less dynamic and more front-heavy. Despite this being only 30 kg. heavier and having only 30 hp less (according to the manufacturer’s specs, but God knows what 276hp actually means in Japanese… –ed), we figure this one will be a totally different car. But in the looks department, it wins hands down. But looks aren’t everything, and this car definitely has its work cut out for it in this company.


    Volvo S60 T5 Sport - Cr. 35,580
    [​IMG]

    This car is one of the first fully-redesigned models under Volvo’s new IKEA-style design direction. As such, it is quite handsome (for a Volvo -ed), but looking a bit dated. And that T5 five cylinder turbo engine has one cylinder too few… or too many, depending on who you talk to. But it’s got grunt, no two ways about it. Still, one asks, how can a front-driver compete in this assemblage of mighty metal? I guess there’s only one way to find out.

    The Tracks

    As with our previous premium sedan comparison, we decided to use the Infineon Raceway, as it is relatively close to our office, and the “El Capitan” layout, which PD has laid out once again, in preparation for another Yosemite Enduro. Since the Enduro was scheduled for the coming weekend, we still had some time to do our own testing before the racers started their qualifying session on Friday. Again, Poyphony Digital sent us all these cars on sticky summer tires (Sports Medium -ed). These allow us to push the cars to their limits without the fear of a disastrous off. In view of the manner in which we drive these cars, the choice of rubber is entirely appropriate.

    Infineon Raceway Sports Car Course

    • Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B
      - 1:47:662​
    • Infiniti G35 Sedan
      - 1:49:524​
    • BMW 330i Sedan
      - 1:49:632​
    • Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R
      - 1:52:275​
    • Volvo S60 T5 Sport
      - 1:52:309​

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Subjective Ratings

    5th - Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R

    It’s not the slowest, but it may as well be. Despite the tuneful humming of the 3-liter boxer six, this was a seriously boring car to drive around this track. Boring, at least, compared to the competition. As we noticed in the last track-shootout (Euro Sedan Comparo - Issue 1 -ed), this track doesn’t seem to favor four-wheel drive vehicles, and they consistently lap slower than comparable front-wheel drivers. That the heavier and similarly powered front-wheel drive Volvo lapped here almost as fast says something about the racetrack abilities of the Legacy. Unfortunately, it’s not very flattering.

    Note that despite this, the Subaru (and in fact, all of these cars -ed) lapped faster around here than our last track champion, the Accord Euro R. The Accord Euro R is as close as you can get to a full-out SCCA racer, sans rollcage, in the sedan market. Yet, all of these cars can kick its butt two ways to Sunday. True, the Subaru accelerates quickly, takes turns in a flat and composed manner, and is a sports sedan in almost every sense of the word. But compared to the rest of these cars, it’s sadly lacking.

    4th - Infiniti G35 Sedan

    What’s this? Are we insane? Second fastest in the test, and we put it as low on the subjective ranking board as we could go! Whatever for? Like the Primera we tested last time, we were not impressed with the amount of body roll and brake dive we got on the G35. We don’t know if this is endemic to Nissan products, or if it is just an artifact of the American-market suspension tuning. It may be the latter, as the big Nissan…. errhh… Infiniti… has the softest spring rates here. And the relatively small wheels can’t help. This car could do with a tad more rubber.

    Not that this car leans like a boat. It’s actually a pretty stiffly set up machine. It’s just not as good as the others here. It understeers out of corners even more than the front and four wheel drivers here, and lags behind the BMW in every corner in side-by-side lapping.

    Nevertheless, it is fast. The titanic thrust of that big growly VQ35DE pulls it out of the hole very well (unfortunately, you can’t hear it much from the well-insulated cabin -ed). Much has been said about the torque of this engine, but what impressed us was its huge pull high up in the rev range. We have a feeling that Nissan is seriously underquoting this engine’s power. In various applications, it makes from 245 to almost 300 horses, and it seems that the horsepower peak in this iteration is just a flat band at the top of the power range, limited only by the ECU.

    Case in point. Drag the BMW and the Infiniti down a straight, and the BMW’s linear pull (254hp) matches the Infiniti’s (256hp) up until both hit about 5000 rpm. The BMW’s acceleration is still the same, but the Infiniti seems to get to its peak horsepower early, and stays there for another 2000rpm. It just starts to walk away from the BMW (and very quickly, too), which is strange, considering both cars weigh nearly the same. It is this alone that makes it faster around the track than the BMW.

    But as with the Primera, it’ll take more than an engine to impress us. And this car just doesn’t.

    3rd - Volvo S60 T5 Sport

    Surprisingly, this was a very fun car to throw around the track. Where the Accord Euro R would grip and grind through, the T5 would growl and slide and skitter around. We had an early issue with brake dive, which we thought was due to soft spring rates, but we soon realized that this merely meant that the rear was very stiffly sprung. This, combined with a front-heavy weight bias, allowed us to throw the S60 around with ease. But it is never as unbalanced as the European V6s we last tested (the Opel Vectra and the Citroen C5). It just kicks around and keeps going. There’s just enough power to elicit wheelspin around slow corners, and just enough grip and control to keep the car moving in the right direction. This car is a perfect balance of everything.

    This car may have turned in a slower time than the Legacy 3.0, but it’s close, and is likely a matter of driver ability. Maybe we were just having a little too much fun.

    The soundtrack is harsh and tuneless, and we can’t quite tell if it’s any worse or better than some of the fours we’ve driven. But it’s appropriate. Growling engine, howling tires, oversteer… like an acquaintance from another motoring magazine once noted; this is the closest you can get to classic muscle car fun in a front-wheel driver. And it gets our respect for that.

    2nd - Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B

    We used to think that Japanese alphabet-soup labeling was confined merely to cars like the Subaru Impreza WRX STi Spec C, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR FQ300 and the Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II Nurburgring Edition... *whew*, but apparently it’s infected even Subaru’s mainstream models. But wait, this is a WRX in drag, not a luxury sports sedan!

    Well, it drives like WRX in drag. It’s the fastest car here by far, and corners with aplomb. The same suspension that feels soft and uninspiring in the 3.0 Legacy comes alive with the extra power. The thrashy engine note adds to the drama, too. The suspension feels harder despite having the same quoted spring rates, and we suspect better damper settings were put into this car than the 3.0.

    In the end, though, we didn’t rate this as high as the BMW because this car obviously doesn’t need us to go fast in. It’d probably turn in the same lap times if you put a ten year old in there. That we rated it this high indicates that it still appeals to the ten-year old in us, and that’s a good thing.

    1st - BMW 330i

    Okay, accuse us of being biased. After all, the 330i isn’t the fastest car here. But that’s not the point. These are subjective scores, and subjectively, the 330i makes us feel good. The engine note is the nicest one here, and the body control is excellent. The 330i is neutral through even the tightest turns, with understeer brought under control with a dab on the throttle or brakes. It’s also very easy to put into full four-wheel drifts, although our best lap times, understandably, weren’t done in this manner. The 330i deals with directional changes very well, and makes a lot of its time over the other cars through left-right transitions and esses. The engine pulls smoothly up to redline, and is reminiscent of a VTEC Honda... zingy. Maybe Mr. Smooth needs a shot of steroids to generate a little more excitement, but this car is okay by us, as it makes us feel very good indeed.


    Yosemite Park Road Test (El Capitan configuration)

    • Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B
      - 2:00:013​
    • Infiniti G35 Sedan
      - 2:00:789​
    • BMW 330i Sedan
      - 2:01:674​
    • Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R
      - 2:04:882​
    • Volvo S60 T5 Sport
      - 2:05:074​

    We keep coming back to the El Capitan course because, unlike some other magazines, we actually care about losing our licenses. Also, it’s much safer to test a car’s high speed performance on a closed-off course than on a public highway. El Capitan is the closest thing to a typical American freeway that us trackmeisters have to work with.

    Again, times here were at least two seconds faster than those recorded with the Accord Euro R. Apparently, even if we had managed to get an Acura TSX for this comparo (it’s a true 3-series contender, that one -ed), it wouldn’t have done very well in the timed sections, being a bit heavier and a little softer than the Accord on which it’s based. Note also, that unlike our last comparo, 125mph (200 km/h - we’re using American cars and speedometers, this time -ed) is the minimum terminal speed at the end of the straight, not the maximum.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Subjective Ratings

    5th - Infiniti G35

    Wow, we’re really being harsh. But we’re looking for an heir to the 3-throne here, and that implies car dynamics. And car dynamics are sadly lacking for this big sedan, given the company it keeps. That said, the damping is superb, and you rarely feel like you’re going to lose control of this big car. Unfortunately, that warm, safe feeling is accompanied by tons of understeer, and Ed had a big moment with a barrier at the end of the main straight (where the course does a long fast kink to the right) at over 130 mph, which ended the day for the G35. Luckily, his insurance is paid up, and PD has offered to pick up the bill for us. Considering the damage isn’t just cosmetic, that’s big of them.

    For the 8/10ths driver, this is a good traveling companion. It’s comfortable and fast. For the 9/10ths driver, perhaps the coupe version or the track edition of the Z-car is a better choice.

    4th - Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R

    While this is definitely a quick car, it isn’t the best here. We put it below the Volvo for sheer lack of excitement. But lack of excitement might be too strong a word. It’s hard to define, but the difference in feel between the 3.0 and the 2.0 is immense. The 3.0 feels more planted and secure than the 2.0, well-damped and progressive on these bumpy mountain roads. It’s no slouch, either, topping out at 128 mph on our straight. It’s faster than the Volvo once past 60 mph, pulling away over the grunting turbo five, and is a match for it in the turns. Unfortunately, dynamic ability and personality aren’t always concurrent, and this doesn’t have the personality.

    Compared to almost anything else, though, it’s a great car.

    3rd - Volvo S60 T5 Sport

    Well, we really do like the little Volvo that could, but it’s no match for the big guns here. And unfortunately for the Volvo, that’s that. That stiff spring setting of the Volvo is even more apparent around the undulating highways around Yosemite than on the track, hills and off-camber turns making the back end skip and slide even more. It’s still quite stable, though, and there’s little danger of it suddenly coming around like on many heavy European front drivers.

    Suddenly, the five cylinder argument starts to make sense. The weight balance is a happy compromise between the 4-pot and 6-pot option. Overall, this feels like a light car, and would be an excellent companion on some B-road tomfoolery. Not that we’re encouraging you to do that, but if you get the urge, you can’t go wrong with this one.

    2nd - BMW 330i

    I guess you were waiting for this one, huh? After much debate, we decided we had to give the top spot to the other car. Not that we don’t like to pander to BMW, or because the free beer and bratwürst they give us whenever we visit the Nürburgring isn’t nice (oops, there goes next month’s lunch budget -ed), but because what this subjective comparison comes down to in the end is feel. (I feel, for example, that you’re beating a dead horse here… -ed)

    The 330i feels great. It flows across bumps and undulations, remaining neutral and composed if you drive it smoothly, and segueing into progressive powerslides if you muscle it around. (If you try to muscle around a G35, all you’ll get is understeer -ed) It’s the easiest car to go fast with in the real world, as you’re always within your limits, no matter what the speed. But as much as we were enamored with it on the track, on real roads, it’s nowhere near as fast as the Legacy 2.0... or the G35, for that matter. And in terms of bragging rights amongst mid-sized sports sedans, speed is the name of the game. The 330i doesn’t have as much speed as the Japanese sedans here, and suffers on the highway. But as soon as the road gets knotty, the 330i is right in there, and, given pole position, can put some air between itself and anything here, bar the turbo Subaru. And hence our conundrum. The 330i is the perfect boy’s toy, and in terms of cachet, luxury and ability, is head and shoulders above everything else out here, but Subaru’s wild child has its claws in our hearts.

    1st - Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B

    We’re personally of the opinion that Subaru should have called this car the Subaru Legacy STi and left it at that. As it is, it’s just a plain awesome car. Where the BMW feels like a great road car, the Legacy feels like a racecar in disguise. It comes very close to breaking the El Capitan 2 minute barrier, one which separates the high-powered sports cars from the sports sedans.

    The only car that comes close to the Legacy in terms of speed in this group is the G35, and it is no match for it in terms of dynamic ability. Where the G35 feels like it has maybe twenty hp more than the owner’s manual indicates, the Legacy feels like it has even more. We wouldn’t be surprised if this car turned out to have three hundred horses flat, because we can hear them grunting in there every time we put our foot down.

    Where the Legacy 3.0 R flows over the hills and bumps of El Capitan, the 2.0 skitters and jumps. It’s amazingly more communicative out here than it is on track. This is possibly due to the fact that there’s more happening here that needs to be communicated. The 2.0 has a little more suspension travel than the 3.0, and it needs it, as it pounds that suspension senseless while going through these mountain roads. Tossing it around corners is much easier than it should be. We honestly expected it to understeer more, as WRXs are reputed to, but it feels wonderfully balanced. That four-wheel drive system works wonders, though, where wonders are needed, maintaining traction when we get the car sideways through the “slingshot” (see sidebar on El Capitan -ed) and making the car even more forgiving than the 330i and the S60.

    The stiff suspension, neck-snapping acceleration, and raucous engine may seem too harsh for softer sensibilities, but for these boy-racers, it’s plain vanilla.

    Conclusion

    Scoring: Each track position counts for 1 point plus the number of cars below the entry. Each subjective position counts for 1 point plus the number of cars below that entry, then multiplied by 1.5 to give more emphasis on the driving experience.

    Track
    • Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B
      5+6.0 = 11​
    • BMW 330i Sedan
      3+7.5 = 10.5​
    • Infiniti G35 Sedan
      4+3.0 = 7​
    • Volvo S60 T5 Sport
      1+4.5 = 5.5​
    • Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R
      2+1.5 = 3.5​

    Road
    • Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B
      5+7.5 = 12.5​
    • BMW 330i Sedan
      3+6.0 = 9​
    • Infiniti G35 Sedan
      4+1.5 = 5.5​
    • Volvo S60 T5 Sport
      1+4.5 = 5.5​
    • Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R
      2+3.0 = 5​

    Combined
    • Subaru Legacy B4 2.0 GT Spec B
      - 23.5​
    • BMW 330i Sedan
      - 19.5​
    • Infiniti G35 Sedan
      - 12.5​
    • Volvo S60 T5 Sport
      - 11​
    • Subaru Legacy B4 3.0 R
      - 9​

    [​IMG]
    Though it finishes last in this test, the Legacy 3.0 is definitely a good driver’s car, and driven at 8/10ths on any road should give no reason for complaint. But someone has to come in last in this test, and that’s how it goes.

    [​IMG]
    If it were just a little faster, the Volvo S60 would have finished higher, as it is, it holds a special place in our hearts among this group, and stands out as one of the best front-wheelers we’ve ever driven. That we gave it great marks in terms of subjective scoring says a lot about how it drives. If we'd had our way, we would've put it in third place overall.

    [​IMG]
    The G35 muscles its way into third through sheer grunt. Too bad it isolates you from that noise and the road just a little too well. Better steering and balance would’ve saved the day for the big Infiniti, but it just didn’t convince us.

    [​IMG]
    The 330i is definitely a worthy heir to the throne, and in the hearts and minds of the purely aspirationally inclined, it is still the king. But we’re performance nuts here at Road&Trek, and it’s not the king of performance in this group. Still, it counts as a terrific car, and we can’t wait to see the M-versions that BMW is sure to spawn from what is surely the new benchmark in sports sedans.

    [​IMG]
    The Legacy 2.0 is a blast to drive. Forget the fact that it’s lacking two cylinders and most of the cushioning of the other cars here. For 30K, we doubt that you can find a more focused track tool than this. Like its Impreza stablemate, it is actually liveable on a day-to-day basis. And it is undoubtedly much, much more attractive.

    Data Sheet for cars in the test [​IMG]


    Epilogue: click to read
     
  2. Revheadnz

    Revheadnz

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    Yet another brilliant write up Niky, enjoyed your first two as much as this. Feels just like I'm dipping into a Road and Track magazine, I eagerly await the next one :tup:
     
  3. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Thanks. I didn't think I could get this up today... having an issue with picture loading. Maybe tomorrow I'm going to change the pictures at the start of the article to Imageshack. It's a pain working with TWO free servers. :D

    Edit: Oh, and thanks go to my little brother, s12ken, for the cover and the sideways pictures. :dopey:

    Edit x 2: I still can't believe how understeery the G35 feels compared to the others here, when, by all other accounts, it's a very nimble and oversteery car... :(
     
  4. 95GTIVR6

    95GTIVR6 Premium

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    Superb write-up. Tell your bro I like the "Road&Trek" cover. Very cool!

    My favorite part of the write-up was when you talked about "Alphabet Soup" in the naming of Japanese Cars. I lol'ed when I read that!

    Anyways, very good write-up, especially compared to my short, simplified versions. I did wonder however, why you did not include the Toyota Altezza/Lexus IS. Wasnt that car created to compete with the BMW 3-series? Oh well, no use comparing it now that the test is done.

    :tup:
     
  5. De Bolle

    De Bolle

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    Very enjoyable to read, and finally the graphic department managed the deadline with it's cover..... :)
     
  6. franz

    franz Premium

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    Wow ... that's amazing
    excellent work!
     
  7. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Epilogue
    Road&Trek

    Testing the day after

    One thing has always bothered me about our testing. It's the nature of subjective comparison. You may drive a car one day and think it's a total dog, but drive it another day, and it comes up smelling roses.

    In our 3-Series comparo, we were very cruel to the Infiniti G35, very effusive about the Volvo S60 T5 Sport (Swedish alphabet soup, anyone?) and very fan-boyish about the Subaru Legacy B4 20 GT Spec B (whew). But how would we feel about them the morning after? I took it upon myself to find out.

    With just one day remaining before the Yosemite Enduro, I borrowed Ed's Accord Euro R, the G35, Legacy and S60 from our test, and a brand new G35 from a very good friend (thanks, man) for a few more runs around the highway track. I also got in touch with the race organizers and managed to call on a few Subaru Impreza drivers for comparison.

    Infiniti G35 Sedan vs. Coupe

    First, the G35. This car isn't really that bad. Driven in isolation, outside our testing environment, the car doesn't seem like such a dog. It feels more neutral, and the perceived understeer seems to be an artefact of a wide turning circle, high speeds, and smallish tires. These observations are vindicated by a drive in the G35 coupe. In this iteration, the chassis comes alive, becoming more communicative, braking better (thanks to better brakes), gripping better (thanks to bigger wheels and low profile tires) and drifting and power-oversteering more easily (thanks to a lower and stiffer suspension). So the G35 is a good drive and a good communicator, but in comparison to its coupe stablemate, it's a dog. And in comparison to the other cars we tested that day, we'd come to the same conclusion. A conclusion that seems just, in light of further driving.

    Volvo S60 T5 Sport vs. Honda Accord Euro R

    Next up, the Volvo S60 T5. I drove this car back to back with the Accord Euro R to see if it was really that much better. The S60 delivered. It's fast and enjoyable, and is still easy to drift (for a front-driver) without the scary feeling that you're going to go overboard (like in V6 front-drive sports coupes). I managed to chop over 2 seconds off our testing time, and 2:02:653 isn't bad for an FF Sedan. Jumping in the other car, our original impressions of the Euro R held true. It's fast and tight, and doesn't condone much tail-wagging or drifting. It's a very precise machine. I did manage to clip off 0.03 seconds from our test time, which indicates how close to the limit you can drive the Accord. If the engine had just a bit more power down low, this car would be unstoppable. But the S60 just delivers the thrills. We found the extra speed by wringing the engine to its (very very noisy) limits. Not bad for a torquer.

    Subaru Legacy vs. Subaru WRX

    The Legacy, driven in isolation, feels like all fast AWD cars, understeering under power and out of turns. That understeer is easily cured with a lift of the throttle or a dab of the brakes. Hence the impression (albeit unjustified) of a more neutral balance than the G35. In an impromptu "Impreza Challenge" against two Impreza drivers who were at the track for qualifying, the Legacy acquitted itself well. Against an older Impreza, the Legacy held a tighter line, and could almost keep up in the straights. Against a brand new Spec C, the Legacy was noticeably slower in a straight line, but could still acquit itself well in turns. The newer WRX turned in a little tighter, and could drift and slide with ease through corners that the Legacy just gripped through. But cornering ability was close enough that it all came down to engine power. Although I was never really in the hunt against these two, I feel that with a little tuning to bring the power up to WRX STi levels, I could probably take a few heads next time.

    Post Mortem :lol:

    One reader complained, upon seeing a pre-press copy of this article, that we didn't include the Lexus IS300 in this comparison. Unfortunately, PD didn't have a loaner of this car in sedan form. Although a wagon version was available, we just couldn't see ourselves driving up to Chez Pierre's in a wagon, and snob appeal was a major requirement of this test, which is also why we didn't bring the wagon versions of the Legacy to this test.

    We are going to feature the IS200 in a future article, though.
     
  8. 1989therat

    1989therat

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    Nice write up..I was gonna do some photoshp write-ups..but I don't have photoshop..nor do I know how to use it. :)
     
  9. Pupik

    Pupik Staff Emeritus

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    Nice magazine cover; tell me, what was the "Salon" car that month? :)
     
  10. Small_Fryz

    Small_Fryz Premium

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    Very Nice :tup: :tup:
     
  11. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Durh? :crazy: , maybe a Miata... instant hair teasing. :ouch:

    I'm not the one who makes the covers, so I can't often control what's on them... :yuck: :lol:
     
  12. spykerdriver

    spykerdriver

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    Dude, thats no contest, the Volvo should win. Just because it should.
    BTW great write-up very complete and detailed.
     
  13. niky

    niky Moderator

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    I know. I'm thinking of making the Volvo our "Long Term Test" car. I'm still using it, actually, as a benchmark for a sports coupé test I'm currently running.

    And let me tell you, it's not flattering for the two doors. :yuck:
     
  14. Carey Hart

    Carey Hart

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    Very nice write-up. I like the Volvo, but I think it's a shame the Volvo s60r isn't in the game, with 4wd and about 300hp.
     
  15. CTznOfTime

    CTznOfTime

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    Very nice WORK !! :tup:
     
  16. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Haha... thanks... that one takes me back. I actually spent another fiteen minutes of my life re-reading that article...
     
  17. DK

    DK Premium

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    Great review, you should be on Top Gear! :tup:
     
  18. finnracer

    finnracer

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    niky, great comparison, could you provide me with links to all the tests/comparisons/features you have made for road and trek so far?
     
  19. Smallhorses

    Smallhorses Staff Emeritus

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    Try clicking the links in his signature next to the "Road & Trek Archives" text. ;)
     
  20. niky

    niky Moderator

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    It's actually not a complete set of links... but they're easy to search for... I don't start very many threads.
     
  21. finnracer

    finnracer

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    Thanks-I forgot all about the signitures!!
     
  22. Bieniu

    Bieniu

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    great write up, thumbs up :)

    I really liked the way you did the comparison - testing diffrent cars (I'm talking about the diffrences in power, drive and price). I've never driven the Volvo myself, but after reading this, I feel obligated to try it :dopey: Also, I found the Legacy 2.0 to be amazingly good AFTER I took some weight off it. Without that it felt a bit lazy. Other than that, brilliant car. :)
    Now about the BMW. Well, I bought it some time ago and I have to say I got dissapointed. For ~48.000 Cr. I expected it to be a rocket, which it isn't. Somehow it didn't feel good, even after a tune up to 350 bhp and new suspension, when I tried it in Pan Euro. I really think it loses badly to the Legacy 2.0, which is a lot cheaper.

    Anyway, very good job on those cars, looking forward to any new releases :tup:
     
  23. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Well the whole idea was to rate these cars on their predictability and flingability... not on how fast they are... though that is featured, too.

    No new updates till GT5. Was briefly considering doing this for Prologue, but not enough cars to do it with.
     
  24. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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    Anyways, what tyres were you using that time?? I have 3 330is and they worked great. It isn't a rocket for sure but when you say that it doesn't feels good, I have to disagree because in my opinion, they're just amazing and a very handy car! Getting a new suspension is not enough without fine-tuning it. Owh, you also have to cut down some weights if you want it to be a whole lot better. The Legacy is another story because, it's built with rally technology and it's a 4WD car which means more traction.

    Try to spend more time in the car and I believe, you can get it right and fly away around the Nordschleife but not because of fast, but fun ;)

    Great review niky. Nicely done!! :tup:
     
  25. Bieniu

    Bieniu

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    I'll try fiddling with the suspension and will let you know if that helped :tup: :)



    R - hard :)
     
  26. Prince.M5

    Prince.M5

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    I believe you can do it mate ;):tup: Try slowly and do not rush.

    No wonder that you lost some grip since you were using the R2 tyres. Try to fit in the R3 and it worked great :tup:
     
  27. DK

    DK Premium

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    I have one problem with your list. Well, maybe not. This is for executive cars, right? Then I'm wondering where the Chrysler 300C is, seeing as that's an executive car.
     
  28. finnracer

    finnracer

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    ^The 330c is a lot larger than the cars tested!
     
  29. niky

    niky Moderator

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    This is for cars of roughly similar size, power and price (or as close as you can get it in GT4)... the Chrysler 300C is two sizes too big for this comparison... and given the handling of this lot, wouldn't even be in the running.
     
  30. finnracer

    finnracer

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    Niky will you be making any new Road and Trek articles soon or are you stopping at where you are now?