Flat 6 Refinement with a 6-Speed Transmission | The Maverick of the Station Wagon World, “Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B”‘s Magic [ManiaxCars]

Published : 2021/03/02 15:09 Modified : 2021/03/02 15:09

Smooth revving completely unlike the EJ or FA/FB engines

 

There is no touring wagon as luxurious as this!

 

Owing to an increase in width, the BL/BP Legacy was the first in the model’s history to be registered as a “3” plate (a “3xx” number at the top of a Japanese licence plate denotes larger cars, or those with over 2000cc engine displacement).  It went on sale in May 2003, with the 3.0R, which sported a 3.0L flat 6 (250ps/31.0kgm) debuting in September of the same year. In October 2004, the 3.0R Spec B joined the lineup, with specially tuned Bilstein dampers and standard 18 inch wheels. The B4 received the code “BLE”, with the Touring Wagon getting “BPE.”

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The engine was effectively the same EZ30 as found in the previous B4 RS30 (BEE), Touring Wagon GT30 and Lancaster-6 (Legacy Outback – BHE). However, in the BL/BP the intake cam received variable valve timing (AVCS) and a lift mechanism. As a result, power climbed from 220 to 250ps, with torque receiving a bump from 29.5 to 31.0kgm. Another big difference was that the 3.0R Spec B came in 6-speed manual specification only, as opposed to the 4-speed auto only BEE/BHE.

 

Following this, the May 2005 annual update brought the car up to Applied-C spec, and brought a 5-speed auto. Another year later, the later-stage Applied-D spec also included the Subaru Intelligent-DRIVE feature. However, from May 2007, Applied-E spec saw the 6-speed manual dropped from the catalog. This meant the end of the 3.0R Spec B, and left only the 5-speed auto. To sum up, only the Applied-B to D models included a 6-speed manual EZ30. The car we report on here is an early-phase 3.0R Spec B without Subaru Intelligent DRIVE.

 

“I wanted one when it came out, but at the time I was newly married and didn’t have the money,” says the owner. “When I saw a second-hand one for sale in 2014, I thought ‘it’s now or never’, so I persuaded my wife and bought it.” 

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

First we’ll take a look at the interior. In keeping with the car’s graduation to a “3” plate, the design and materials have a more quality feel. The 3.0R Spec B came with a Momo genuine leather covered steering wheel as standard. The meter dials and needles fade into view  when you turn the ignition on, and use electro-luminescent lighting to provide exceptional visibility in day or night conditions. 

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The audio system is the stock McIntosh.  The head unit, which includes a Mini-Disc player, doesn’t conform to the DIN standard, and uses an outboard amplifier to power the thirteen speakers. Below it is the control panel for the automatic air conditioning.

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The 6-speed shifter has a meaty feel to it. The gear ratios, from one to six are 3.636, 2.375, 1.761, 1.346, 0.971, 0.756, with a final drive of 3.900. In the Applied-D spec there is also a dial for the Subaru Intelligent DRIVE function on the back of the gear knob. 

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

Optional leather seats. These are rare enough in the 5-speed auto, to find them combined with a 6-speed manual even more so. The driver’s seat comes powered as standard.

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The rear bench has headrests for up to three passengers, and can be folded forward in a 60/40 split. The rear multilink suspension hardly interferes with the interior, making for a luggage space that can be used effectively.

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The large sunroof gives the interior a sense of openness. This, too, is optional and is a two-part deal, with the front section tilting up and the rear portion sliding away to boast a large opening. “But,” according to the owner, “It’s broken, so I can’t open it.” Apparently this was a common problem with the BP Legacys.

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

The seven spoke alloys are the standard issue stock 18 inch wheels. The tires are the same as the stock ones – DNA S.drives in 215/45.

 

Legacy Touring Wagon 3.0R Spec B

 

Now, the part we were waiting for – test drive time. Amongst 6-cylinder layouts, the flat 6 is streets ahead of even the supremely balanced straight six, never mind the V6. It is incomparable to the 2.0L turbo that sits above it in terms of catalog specification, and it’s easy to see why the owner picked out the NA 3.0L six-pot. What a joy this EZ30 is to drive with a 6-speed manual box.

 

The response when you depress the accelerator is good, and pushing through the revs from 4000rpm to the redline at 7000rpm gives you the feeling you’re driving something really sporty. As one might expect of a well-built NA engine, it doesn’t get unrefined anywhere in the rev range, and the power increases in a linear fashion as the needle climbs up the tachometer gauge.

 

If you want a station wagon with a flat 6, 6-speed manual and full time 4WD you have one choice – the BPE Legacy. A bone stock example with the original wheels like this one is even more of a rarity.

 

“It’s thanks to the previous owner taking such good care of it that I can drive it in this state,” reflects the owner. “I’m really grateful to them.” He had told his wife that the car was just a two year stop-gap, but in the blink of an eye it was undergoing its third ‘shaken’ (a safety inspection carried out every two years in Japan). To the owner, it was a sign of just how this BPE Legacy had got a hold of him, and become an irreplaceable part of his life.

 

  • SPECIFICATIONS

Model: BPE
Length x Width x Height: 4680 x 1730 x 1475mm
Wheelbase: 2670mm
Tread (F/R): 1495/1485mm
Vehicle Weight: 1500kg
Engine: EZ30
Engine Type: Flat 6 DOHC
Bore x Stroke:89.2φ x 80.0mm
Displacement: 2999cc   Compression: 10.7:1
Maximum Power: 250ps/6600rpm
Maximum Torque: 31.0kgm/4200rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Suspension Type (F/R) Strut/Multilink
Brakes: Ventilated discs front and rear
Tire size: 215/45 R18 front and rear

 

  • Text and photos: Kentaro Hiroshima