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Ultimate AWD Sports Sedans



  • A few years back, I had a '99 Legacy and my father had a '98 A4 Quattro. I think both were great cars and both have come a long way since. I miss my Legacy since getting rid of it. I did feel that the interior fit and finish was superior on the Audi, but my Legacy was far more reliable. My dad would have spent thousands on repairs were it not for the warranty, and I think he even sent the Audi service dept. a Christmas card one year. I didn't even know who the Subaru service manager was.

    As far as snow performance, I think whoever raised the issue of ground clearance has a very valid point. I felt the Subaru was better in the snow as I found out having to drive down the street in 6" of snow to help dad dig out the Audi. If memory serves, the Audi was lower with performance tires, which improved handling, but sacrificed bad weather performance.

    IMHO, I do not think you can go wrong with either one and realize they are VERY different cars now. I feel that Subaru has improved considerbly and closed the gap with the new generation Legacy. If I had to do it tomorrow, I would take the '05 Legacy GT in a heartbeat and put the 5K-10K saved toward early retirement. Happy driving!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    When we get lots of snow my neighbor asks me to buy the milk, and he has one allroad quattro and an XC70.

    Those even have the clearance but I think they're just not willing to risk doing any damage when the weather is nasty.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 120,482
    Your neighbor is a wuss.. tell him I said so.. lol

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Well after all the talk on here I drove a legacy gt limited 5 speed yesterday.

    First thoughts - interior is clean, functional and pretty typical of mid-level Japanese cars. The interior in not on par with a G35/3 series/a4 by any stretch. It's very econobox cheap. Soft materials but the overall design makes blah seem edgy.

    Seats were decent but the cheap leather wasn't warming me over. Steering wheel felt slim and plasticky. Not a very sturdy unit. Auto down on one window and no auto up at all? What the heck (sanitized per Pat's request), this is a 2005?! Shifter felt notchy without the engine running and just the clutch depressed.

    Started the car - whoa the 2.5 is a rough running engine. Neat little swing of the needles when the engine comes to life. Ran through the gears again at a standstill, still vague, notchy, rubbery VW-like manual feel. Pulling out of the spot the steering felt dead. That's okay, it's just parking lot stuff.

    hit the road and accelerate. nice. I had forgotten how wonderful it feels to have instant power (unlike the torque-less world of BMW's inline 6 engines). car pulls pretty strongly through the first few gears. also the bulky outside of the car doesn't appear that bad when moving. interior's feeling cramped though and egad do you sit up high in the car. I could use a lowering of a few inches.

    First corner comes and the car leans. Salesguy says many mods available. Yeah it'd need some serious tuning on the suspension to make the car livable. Once we hit the freeway the car roughly roars up to 80. Only 5 gears? Darn, no wonder gas mileage is bad! It's turning high rpms and I'm only doing 90. engine's pretty noticable too but not in a purring sexy way like my ZHP. This is more nissan clatter - as if a rod or some part of the engine will explode through the hood at any moment.

    Nice pick up though - again, the bad gearing means the car will sprint at highway speeds but it's at the sacrifice of mileage and the constant drone of a malfunctiong lawnmower sounding engine. Salesguy claims 3-4k in mods will get you over 300 whp. Intriguing...

    Off the freeway and banking. Not exactly glued to the road. The typical intrusive, fun-numbing of Subaru's awful AWD system robs corners of their enchanting promise. Car stays planted but doesn't feel like it's being guided by invisible rails (ala bmw, miata, etc). Too much mechanical interference with cornering, imho.

    On surface streets the engine's always on boil and little too unrefined for my tastes. The car wants to run hard but it's more of a nissan-like level of half-way threre luxury. This car isn't a near luxury competitor...too many cost cutting corners from the wind noise to the bad manual to the light doors.

    Good size trunk. Back seat is not comfy - neither is the bimmer's though.

    Overall a fairly fun car but more of a 22k car given the total lack of anything approaching luxury. honda's accord coupe v6 sports a better, more refined, eager engine, infinitely better tranny, and total luxury-like entombment. If not for the FWD, it'd be a lexus-like car. can't see spending 26-28k on this car. I'd always feel like I was driving something slapped together by boy racers who wanted to pretend they were going after the luxury class.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I disagree about the G35's interior, I actually think the Subaru's is nicer. Carlos Ghosn went a little too far in cutting costs.

    A 6 speed is rumored, basically SoA is training techs to service them, so it's almost certain for MY06.

    Accord doesn't come in a sedan with that manual trans. And the sedan's suspension is softer than even the Subie you're complaining about.

    The EJ25 engine is the same in the STi, same semi-closed deck block, forged pistons, different tuning. All the STi stuff bolts on.

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Have you been in the redesigned 2005 G35? sounds like you're talking about the 03-04 G35. Different ducks.

    I made it clear I was talking about the Accord Coupe. Just popped into my head as an example of a luxurious, quick, decent car in the low 20s.
  • hoxhox Posts: 24
    Tell me where you can find a v-6 6 speed Honda Accord coupe for $22k new? It stickers at $26,500 and only about 300 are produced for the states. If there pricing were here, they couldn't keep them on the lots anywhere. They go for 25k plus at dealers if you find them.

    Don't get me wrong great car, not AWD, but certainly tops the RSX or TSX (Acura's).

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    ell me where you can find a v-6 6 speed Honda Accord coupe for $22k new? It stickers at $26,500 and only about 300 are produced for the states.

    When i was shopping for a car in 03, I got offers of 22.5k on two of them from different dealers in san diego. when helping a friend look for a car in 04, we drove a 6 speed accord v6 coupe and also got an offer of 23.5k without haggling. just standing still. shrug, i take that to mean it's no big deal.

    If there pricing were here, they couldn't keep them on the lots anywhere. They go for 25k plus at dealers if you find them.

    honda dealers give their cars away and every honda I've looked at always is priced at or below invoice. usually below. could be the market you're in as san diego honda dealers will bend over backward to move product.

    Actually, I probably would take the TSX over it. Prefer the 4 door to the ugly look of the two door coupe world. I know i'd take a tsx over a 325i.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The last G35 I sampled was at a Lexus event last year, so I'm sure it was a 2004. Glad to hear there were improvements, I should check it out because I like the rest of the package.

    Honda might be afraid that a 6 speed Accord sedan would cannibalize the TSX and maybe even TL.

  • civic4civic4 Posts: 33
    I have also owned an Audi A4 1.8T. I will say it was a nice car to drive, but if you check out the problems with Audis, you would not want to keep the car past the warranty or Audi Advantage period. That is around 4 years or 50K miles. My wife and I drove the '05 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Ltd model ands were impressed with the fit and finish, especially of the interior of the car, the Audi has the exterior beat but we both agreed the interior was very impressive. We were quoted a price of $24,989 for the Ltd with automatic in a silver with black interior, we never buy on first quotes, we have a 2001 Audi A6 4.2 as our other car.

    The Audi had started "nickel and thousanding" us to death toward the end, transmission, turbo, timing belt tensioner, leaking gaskets, gas gauge malfunction etc..., needless to say, my wife gave the stepson the keys to go to McDConalds, well, the antilock was not working and the road was a bit slick from an early morning rain, (Audi wanted $1600 to fix the main brain of the car which was the problem with the antilock), the son was too busy looking inside his McDonald's bag, and what can I say, a telephone pole jumped out in front of him....(he says it was a squirrel that jumped out and he hit the pole to avoid it last minute, but we won't argue that point....just glad the Audi preformed as it did and gave its life up for his!!)

    We would have considered another Audi, but we tend to keep our cars longer than the warranty period, and the Audi just doesn't have the reliability record for mileage milestones. I have noticed Subaru owners do not have as many critical complaints as Audi owners....maybe we will be driving that Legacy Ltd. for our 4.2, no problems yet, and we have a 100K powertrain warranty on that vehicle, and with 43K on the odometer, we may keep her for a bit longer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    How fitting that we've been talking about this - CR's car issue named Subaru the most reliable brand, number one for MY2004.

  • johnny420johnny420 Posts: 473
    "Don't get me wrong great car, not AWD, but certainly tops the RSX or TSX (Acura's)."

    Why? Because it has more horsepower? Pretty narrow defintion of performance if you ask me.

  • taxman10taxman10 Posts: 59
    I guess I'll join in on this.
    I just got a A4 2.0 Quattro, 6 speed.
    I've had a 1996 Outback H4 and a 2001 LL Bean H6. I put Bridgestone RE950s on the Bean and it changed personality from a dull car to one with some spirit - albeit losing some snow performance.
    Before getting the A4 I was in the local Subie dealership and tested a 5 speed Legacy GT Ltd and the automatic version.
    While I liked the Subie, was very familiar with them and could appreciate the distance they had come since 1996, the car is a half class below the new A4 by any measure other total HP and price.
    Fully loaded I stickered at $36,700 and invoiced at $34,400. Comparably, but not quite ( x zenons, bose/sattelite, better, I think, materials, longer warranty and free maintenance, etc) equipped, the the subie is $7,000 less.
    For a lot of people the tradeoffs and savings might make a difference - I wasn't sold.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    That's to Hox, right. I prefer the TSX.
  • deano2deano2 Posts: 1
    I was just wondering whats your opinion on the best awd sports sedan?

    Iam thinking of the Audi S4.

    What do you think?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I have broadened the topic name and categories here - enjoy!
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Especially if we're talking ultimately expensive. :o)

    Forget S4, how 'bout the RS4? RS6? S8? Phaeton W12?

    More down to earth, JDM Legacy STi? MazdaSpeed 6? WRX STi? EVO IX?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    More down to earth, JDM Legacy STi? MazdaSpeed 6? WRX STi? EVO IX?

    Great vehicles all, but the thread title is "Ultimate AWD Sports Sedans," not "Best-Bang-for-the-Buck AWD Sports Sedans."

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They are the ultimate in terms of performance for the dollar. It's all about what you're measuring.

    Also, the STi and EVO are very extreme machines, in face I'd argue that they are more extreme, as in requiring more compromises from the driver, than even that Bentley.

  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    I agree the G35 has a less refined interior compared to the LGT. Those silver cruise control buttons on the steering wheels looked and felt like they came off an 80s boom box!

    "Steering wheel felt slim and plasticky" Umm, gotta disagree with you there. Momo might not offer the best for their OEM lines, but certainly is right up there in feel and thickness versus the competition.

  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I agree the G35 has a less refined interior compared to the LGT. Those silver cruise control buttons on the steering wheels looked and felt like they came off an 80s boom box!

    Was this an 05 or 04 model G35? 05's have a new interior. Nissan heard the complaints and addressed them. The G35 MT has real aluminum covering the center console, doors, etc. It's quite nice actually. Far more substantial than anything in the TL, TSX, 3, MB or GT.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I should check out the new interior. I'd heard they were upgrading the Z, but I didn't know they also did the G35.

    Acura uses real aluminum too, FWIW. Besides, the stuff dents easily, if you bump a briefcase up against it.

    This is a case where fake aluminum (pluminum?) is actually better.

  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    05s weren't out while I was shopping.

  • samiam_68samiam_68 Posts: 775
    Did anyone check out the 2006 GS-300 AWD? 245hp, 21/27MPG, gorgeous in and out, Dolby surround with DVD audio and SAT radio. NAV. Memory everything. BOW friggin' WOW! I WANT ONE! I'm getting a second
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They look better now, also.

    Gen I was Guigiaro, but CALTY messed up Gen II and the proportions just didn't look right.

  • dashbbdashbb Posts: 119
    I currently drive an Audi A6 4.2 Quattro. Its hard to enjoy a FWD car once you've owned a true AWD system such as the Quattro. Other than Audi, Subaru and Lancer EVO, all other cars are either front-drive, rear assist or rear-drive, front-assist. (Please correct me if I'm mistaken).

    Subaru Legacy GT Wagon offers more cargo space, and although it has about 50hp less than Audi, it makes up for it in curb-weight.

    With the shotty reliability of Audi's & the high sticker price, Subaru Legacy GT becomes the obvious choice. The only thing you lose is the status that comes with the 4 circles! :-)

    What I did not like about the LGT compared to Audi:
    --Small rear seats & passenger volume.
    --Narrow wheels & tires. Audi has 255/40/17 size.
    --Inferior fit & finish quality, especially leather.
    --Slow Auto-Manual (Tiptronic) shifting in Subaru. The LGT reads a book before shifting.
    --No memory seats, navigation, quality sound system (such as Bose).
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 848
    that 1 Audi A6 4.2 buys almost 2 GTs.


    PS BMW, if I am not mistaken, has AWD that works all the time. New 5 series with AWD might be more to your liking.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    2006 should get a Nav option. Dealers have already seen the order codes.

    Audi, Subaru, EVO are indeed full-time.

    You can add BMW, Mercedes, and Infiniti, that I know of. All systems are full-time and send most of the power to the rear axle for kicks.

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