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Legacy GT v. Spec B v. Mazdaspeed 6

taxesquiretaxesquire Posts: 681
edited March 6 in Mazda
To anyone who's driven 2 out of these 3, what is your take on the similarities and differences between these vehicles?

I'm not in the market to buy, but these 3 cars really intrigue me - I've heard that the extra costs of the Spec B is not worthwhile over the GT, and that between the GT or Spec B and the 6, the Subaru is faster, but the Mazda handles better.

What's your experience?


  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I believe the Spec B is definitely not worth the money. The Mazdaspeed6 and Legacy GT do pose great value for what they cost.

    In regards to the GT being faster then the Speed6, it is slightly, because of the gearing. However, I have gotten the Speed6 to 60 in 5.4 seconds, repeatedly This summer, I will be at the track to see how it does.

    Handling is much better in the Speed6 over the GT. Much less body roll. Spec B has improved handling over the GT but not Speed6.

    Subaru does have a more sophisticated AWD system, as opposed to Mazdas Active-Torque Split AWD.
  • Thanks - did you test-drive all 3 and then buy the 6?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    i would get the spec b, mainly for the suspension, vdc, and the 6-speed trans. It's worth it if you push your car, if you aren't pushing it the LGT is worth it.

    Mazda 6 is ok, but the awd and the transverse engine is the spoiler for me.

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    I should have clarified. I am a Mazda and Subaru dealer. I have driven all many times. The Speed6 and GT much more. We have only had 5 Spec B's, and test drives were limited. However, the Spec B is not worth the money. If you were looking to spend that much, look at the STi Limited Edition.

    My twin bother has a Speed6, and chose it over the Leg GT. His we are taking to the track when it opens in the spring.

    Even though Subaru has a phenomenal AWD system, it is still inferior to the Mazda's handling.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The SpecB's drivetrain is worth it if you will have a need for it. If you are planning to go with some power upgrades or track your car often, the 6MT drivetrain is bulletproof compared to the 5MT in the legacy.

    STi Limited edition is still much smaller so for those of us who can't fit in it, the SpecB is where it's at. I am personally waiting for the next gen leg cause the leg is just too small for my liking though.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    I am personally waiting for the next gen leg cause the leg is just too small for my liking though.

    Is it supposed to gain in room, or are you hoping it does? I find that our new Outback has more usable space in the cargo area (with rear seat backs up), but usable leg room in the rear seats is highly diminished compared to our '96 Outback. Granted, I am talking wagons here, but I would expect that the passenger compartment in the sedan is the same.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    The impreza is going to the legacy platform, which means that likely the legacy will go to a larger platform or else there would be much overlap. Also I'm hoping that after meeting the CEO and him asking what I wanted from Subaru and I grabbed my gut and said "Big car for a Big Man" and he laughed and said OK. Can't ask anyone higher for a bigger car!

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Hahahahha, that seems like a good bet. :P
  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The impreza is going to the legacy platform, which means that likely the legacy will go to a larger platform or else there would be much overlap

    That's what I have been hearing. My fiance is looking for the new Impreza as well to replace her 2002.

    Many mfg's are having their best sellers grow in size. Sans Nissan Altima, and Maxima. Remember how small the Altima used to be? Heck, the late 90's Legacy is the size of the current Impreza.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup interestingly we use the cage for a 99 RS meant for an RS with full interior, in our 94 Legacy sans interior. The only issue we had was the width of the cage, it could have been about 2" wider and fit the legacy better.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I've driven a Legacy GT at the Las Vegas Speedway infield track, and was pretty impressed. It's a lot sportier than Accord/Camry or even the Altima, and handled itself well on a track for a family sedan/wagon.

    Weight is balanced front to rear, and the AWD actually biases more power to the rear wheels.

    The spec.B adds Bilstein shocks and firmer tuning. I haven't driven one, but when you look at the price keep in mind it has black/blue heated leather seats and GPS Nav standard. Look at it as an alternative to an Audi A4, or perhaps a completely loaded MazdaSpeed6.

    I drove the MazdaSpeed6 at Zoom Zoom Live. It was a short course, basically an autocross course with cones and stuff, tight turns, not much room to accelerate.

    Under those non-ideal circumstances, the Speed6 was disappointing. On paper it looked better, and I expected more. It felt heavy, lazy around the turns. More roll than I expected, and perhaps because the course didn't allow the turbo to spool up, not nearly as quick as I had expected.

    The Haldex works fine, but there was still too much understeer for my liking. The worst thing about it was that it felt nose heavy, i.e. even though it has AWD it feels like FWD.

    Not really a fair comparison, though, because the Legacy I drove had longer straights for the turbo to spool up, but I liked it much better on the (longer, better) track.

    Drive them both, one thing the Mazda has going for it right now is incredible value, the few that are left over have huge incentives and represent a phenomenal bargain.

    Also, search Car & Driver and Road & Track back issues. C&D compared them directly and picked the Mazda. R&T compared a larger group and picked the Subaru. Split decision.

    In the latter, they went to a wide open track, and the Subie scored better lap times. The Mazda held its own, I think it came in 2nd ahead of BMW, Audi, and Infiniti.

    Two great cars, shop them both.


    PS I also drove a Miata and an RX7 at Zoom Zoom Live, and those impressed me far more. Perhaps their non-turbo powertrains and lighter weight put the Speed6 at a disadvantage.
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    How about the engine differences? Weren't there some initial tuning and heatsoak issues with the Mazdaspeed turbo? Have those been worked out?

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Mazda had a TSB early on, I think those were pretty much addressed.

    The MazdaSpeed3 has an engine mount issue, and it's bad enough that photos are circulating on the internet with engines that basically nearly fell out of the engine bays. There was talk of about 4-6 cases so far.

    I'm sure Mazda will step up and sort these out ASAP. For owners I'd suggest a bit of lock-tite to be safe. It's the mount at the very front of the engine on the driver's side.

    I love those cars but was bummed when Mazda announced they'd be FWD only. I'd still take one over a GTI any day.

  • aviboy97aviboy97 Posts: 3,159
    The MazdaSpeed3 has an engine mount issue, and it's bad enough that photos are circulating on the internet with engines that basically nearly fell out of the engine bays. There was talk of about 4-6 cases so far.

    Yes, I actually happened to notice this a few months ago when I saw a video dyno of the Mazdaspeed3, and the engine would jerk all the way to the firewall. I did not look good. I'm sure Mazda will address this issue rather quickly.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A bit of lock-tite would be a good idea if anyone happens to own one.

    Mazda seems to step up, though.

  • In a couple of months, I plan to buy a used car for about $20K. I've been driving a Protege5 for nearly six years, and I'm looking for something more "grown up" with a manual transmission.

    Using, I've been able to find a few 2005 GT models locally with manual tranny for just over $20K. I am enamored with the extra power offered by the GT, but I wonder if it's worth it.

    If I go with the 2.5i, there are a few advantages: local sales prices, even on 2006 models, are easily under $20K; I won't have to use premium fuel, and; I will get better gas mileage. I also assume that my insurance premiums will be lower. So, I could get a newer car with fewer miles but with less HP.

    Are there any other considerations between the two models? I'm sure it's a matter of "what do you really want," but I wonder if there's really that much of a cost difference. I know that I really want the GT's power now, but six months from now, I may be more worried about about the costs.

    I would consider the Mazdaspeed6, but prices around here for a 2006 are north of the $23K mark. I could probably get a 2006 WRX for under $20K, but it has that boy-racer persona.

    The other car I'm seriously considering is a 2004-2005 G35 sedan, but I would probably have to give up the stick shift. I know Infiniti offers the manual, but they are hard to find in the sedan!


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Also G35 Sedan doesn't come in a MT.

  • Personally, I couldn't enjoy a car of the Legacy's size with under 200 hp. The GT doesn't have the most powerful engine in it's class, but it's got more than enough for me.

    Also, an '05 GT will have depreciated more than an '06 2.5 - the fact that GTs are still more expensive shows that financially, you may do better buying a used GT than a new 2.5, which will depreciate more rapidly and significantly since the most expensive part of the car is the engine, and the GT's engine is better/more desireable.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Your timing is a bit late, IMO.

    You could get a left over 2006 MazdaSpeed6 for low $20s, close enough that it might have been worth it to stretch the budget and buy new. After all, you get a longer warranty.

    The rebate on the 06s is something like $3750, not sure exactly but it was over $3 grand. The 07s only have a $1000 rebate (just read Automotive News today, so that's my source).

    Same for the Legacy GT, at the end of MY2006 I saw some in the $22k range. But the 07s just arrived and are price higher right now.

    Comparing the GT vs. the 2.5i, keep in mind the GT has heated seats standard, plus the extra power, and if you get an automatic it's a 5 speed vs. a 4 speed. I think it also adds the rear Limited-slip diff, for even better traction. Depending on the model year, the wheels and tires are bigger and sportier.

    Premium fuel will cost you a premium of about $150 a year, not that significant IMO. If you drive the P5 hard, you'll really enjoy the GT more. If you don't, and just light-foot it to save gas, go for the 2.5i. Be honest with yourself, basically, and you'll be happier.

  • turbodturbod Posts: 10
    Hi Guys,

    You not going to belive this..and Im a lil surprised myself !

    Other day was on way home in my 05 GT, I came to the red light.I looked over and was a black Charger SRT8 with a big hemi 425 emblem on side. I looked and thought nice car wasnt thinking nothing else, I moved forward couple inches waiting for the light..then he rolled forward too, I rolled up a lil again he did too again.
    SO I thought what the hell..I moved over my shifter in sport mode..he looked over at me,we both sitting at 2 lanes that merge left onto divded 4 lane hiway he had inside lane.

    Light goes green we both hit it...going aroung the turn I let up slightly lost a lil rpm so quickly put it to the floor ..I was waiting him to pass me heading down the hiway I could hear his HEMI LOL..but never saw him up to my drivers door was on my rear quarter..I looked at my speedo was on 80 mph..he still not passed me ..being alot of cops in this area usually I let off at 85 or so..then he went by me lol. I figured at 90 he would have passed me, but up to 80+ i was out ahead . Wish I had kept going but like I said alot cops in this area didnt want go jail going 100 + lol.
    I guess that Dodge driver had a lil surpise too.
    My subie seemed to get faster when it clicked over 12k miles I now have 14k on it and use mobil 1 oil. Otherwise its all original. Love my Subie !! :shades:
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