Subaru Legacy (third generation)


Subaru launched the third generation Japanese and world-market Legacy in June 1998, while the North American model was introduced in May 1999 for the 2000 model year. In all markets except for the United States, production lasted through 2002, with a limited production Blitzen model sold mid-cycle under the 2003 model year in Japan. Production in the United States lasted through 2004.

BE-BH-BT series Legacy
2000 Subaru Liberty (BE5 MY01) GX sedan (2010-05-04) 01.jpg
ManufacturerSubaru (Fuji Heavy Industries)
Also calledSubaru Liberty (Australia)
Model years1999–2004
AssemblyŌta, Gunma, Japan
Lafayette, Indiana, USA (SIA)
Body and chassis
Body style"B" pillar Hardtop and Wagon
LayoutFront engine, four-wheel drive
Engine2.0 L SOHC EJ20E, 125 hp (93 kW) H4

2.0 L EJ201, SOHC 135 hp (101 kW) H4
2.0 L EJ204, DOHC 155 hp (116 kW) H4
2.0 L EJ206, DOHC 265 hp (198 kW) twin turbo H4 automatic
2.0 L EJ208 DOHC 276 hp (206 kW) twin turbo H4 manual
2.0 L EJ208 DOHC 289 hp (216 kW) twin turbo H4 manual
2.5 L EJ251, SOHC 153 hp (114 kW) H4
2.5 L EJ251, EJ252, SOHC 165 hp (123 kW) H4
2.5 L EJ254, DOHC 165 hp (123 kW) H4
2.5 L EJ254, DOHC 170 hp (130 kW) H4

3.0 L EZ30, DOHC Flat-6 (162kW at 6000 rpm and 289 N⋅m (213 ft⋅lbf) at 4400 rpm)[1]
Transmission4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
Wheelbase2,650 mm (104.3 in)
Length4,760 mm (187.4 in) (wagon)
4,680 mm (184.4 in) (sedan)
Width1,740 mm (68.7 in) (Int'l)
1,694 mm (66.7 in) (Japan)
Height1,410 mm (55.7 in) (sedan)
1,510 mm (59.6 in) (wagon)
1,440 mm (56.5 in) (Brighton wagon)
Curb weight1,500 kg (3,300 lb) max
PredecessorSubaru Legacy (second generation)
SuccessorSubaru Legacy (fourth generation)

At its introduction in 1999, it won the Automotive Researchers' and Journalists' Conference Car of the Year award in Japan.

All models were equipped with standard, symmetrical all wheel drive. World-market and Japanese models ranged from a naturally aspirated or twin turbo 2.0 liter flat-4 to naturally aspirated 3.0 liter. Even though dimensions became mid-sized, it was still rated by the EPA as a compact car.

Flat roof wagons are no longer manufactured worldwide, and instead the raised roof is used for both the Legacy and Outback wagons (Lancaster in Japan).

In late 2000, the EZ30, a newly designed 3.0 L H6 was offered in the Outback and Lancaster (Japan) models.

The Legacy is the only vehicle in this class that provides AWD as standard equipment.



The B4 model was introduced for the third generation and was a sedan-only model. The RSK featured the familiar DOHC, twin-turbo 2.0 litre engine rated 276 bhp (206 kW) (265 bhp (198 kW) for automatic with manual mode). This results in a 0–60 mph time of 5.2 seconds for the manual and 5.8 seconds for the automatic. This engine was popular with Japanese buyers due to reduced tax liability based on Japanese vehicle size legislation; the car offered performance advantages over larger cars sold in Japan with bigger engines but with a smaller tax bill. The B4 moniker also applied to naturally aspirated models, such as the 2.0 L TS-R.

Australia models (called B4) were detuned to run on lower octane (98 RON) fuel and were rated 258 PS (190 kW; 254 hp) for the manual and 239 PS (176 kW; 236 hp) for the automatic models. This results in a 0–60 mph time of 5.6 seconds for the manual and 6.6 seconds for the automatic.[2][3]

A B4 TS-R model was equipped with a less powerful, naturally aspirated 2.0 L DOHC AVCS engine, but shared many of the body and suspension components of the more powerful RSK.

In 2001, a B4 RS25 model was introduced with a naturally aspirated 2.5 L DOHC engine.

In 2002, the B4 RS30 was introduced with a naturally aspirated 3.0 L EZ30 DOHC flat-six engine.

B4 Engine Structure

The B4 is powered by a 'phase 2' all-alloy DOHC, 16-valve, intercooled turbo 2-litre boxer four. According to official Subaru literature, there are several advantages to the boxer design. Due to the balance afforded by horizontally opposed cylinders, the crankshaft requires less weighting and there is no need to install balance shafts. This results in reduced noise, vibration and less power loss. Strength is also an advantage of the boxer design – the crankshaft is sandwiched between the left and right hand crankcases and is supported by 5 main bearings. The low and wide engine structure also lowers the vehicle's centre of gravity and improves mass distribution.

Working from the crankcases out, the 'phase 2' engine sees the crank thrust bearing relocated to the rear of the shaft – this reduces the transfer of natural frequencies to the transmission, resulting in improved NVH. Pistons are all-new in the B4. Despite being made from forged aluminium, the pistons are heavier (162 up from 152 grams) and incorporate solid skirts, reduced piston pin offset, a molybdenum coating, reduced top-land to cylinder clearance and flat-top combustion surfaces. Improved off-boost torque comes from a raised static compression ratio – 9.0:1 compared to the Impreza WRX's 8.0:1.

The two DOHC, 16-valve heads incorporate a fuel-efficient, low-emission design, with a 'tumble swirl air' motion created by a specially shaped intake port and increased valve angle and lift. The belt-driven camshafts act directly on hollow valve stems. Intake valves are hollow (reducing their mass from 51.6 to 48.4 grams) and the exhaust valves (46.7 versus 50.5 grams) are sodium-filled for more efficient heat transfer.

Sequential Turbo Staging

The B4 uses a sequentially staged primary and secondary turbocharger to deliver good throttle response and a wide torque spread. The primary turbo delivers boost in the low rpm and load ranges to deliver 278 N⋅m (205 lb⋅ft) at 2000 rpm, while the secondary turbo joins in above 4000–4500 rpm. With both turbos boosting, a 320 N⋅m (236 lb⋅ft) torque peak arrives at 4800 rpm and maximum power (190 kW (255 hp)) is seen at 6000 rpm. Note that Japanese-market B4s – running on 100-octane fuel – are rated at 206 kW (276 hp).

The primary turbo (located at the left rear of the engine) delivers boost in the low rpm and load range, while the secondary turbo comes in to aid mid-to-high range breathing. During the primary turbo stage, boost pressure is controlled by a conventional arrangement of an ECU-controlled duty-cycle solenoid and an internal wastegate.

The secondary turbo remains inoperative during this stage, as a separate exhaust control valve (situated on the right side of the engine) remains closed. This valve prevents exhaust gasses from entering the secondary turbine.

During the 4000–4500 rpm transitional stage, however, the exhaust control valve is partially opened, bringing the secondary turbo up to near-operating speed. The ECU – working with another duty solenoid and vacuum diaphragm – determines the amount that the exhaust control valve opens. The ECU calculates this amount of valve opening based on the input of a differential pressure sensor that takes feeds from the intake manifold and the outlet of the secondary turbo.

Any boost pressure produced by the secondary turbocharger during the transitional stage is redirected to the atmospheric side of the compressor inlet (between the turbos and air filter).

With the primary turbo continuing to supply manifold pressure and the secondary turbocharger essentially bleeding off the boost it makes during the transition, the ECU will determine when to close the pressure relief valve and fully open the exhaust control valve. Once this is done, the ECU will again look at the input from the differential pressure sensor and open yet another valve – the intake control valve (which is mounted between the secondary turbo's compressor outlet and the intercooler).

With the intake control valve open, boost pressure from the secondary turbo is allowed to pass through the intercooler (in addition to the boost supplied by the primary turbo). Manifold pressure during the second stage of turbocharging remains regulated by the primary turbocharger's wastegate – there is only one turbine by-pass valve in the whole system.

Subaru claims: "The 'staging' between the single and twin-turbo operating range, which was quite noticeable to the driver on the previous model B4, has now largely been 'tuned out' by the careful selection of turbocharger size and the controlling mechanisms. As can be seen from this torque curve, however, under some driving conditions it is still possible to detect a slight reduction in the rate of acceleration in the preparatory or intermediate phase that occurs between 4000–4500 rpm."

The Turbochargers

Despite being called twins, the B4's turbochargers are not identical. The primary turbocharger is an IHI VF33 unit (RHF4 core - floating metal thrust bearing design), which uses a 46.5 / 35.4 mm 9-blade turbine wheel and a 47.0 mm / 35.4 mm 6 + 6 blade compressor. At idle, the turbo spins at around 20,000 rpm and it can go on to a maximum speed of 190,000 rpm. It has a 17 mm diameter wastegate opening to bypass excess exhaust gas. The secondary turbocharger is an IHI VF32 (RHF4B core - ball bearing design). On the exhaust side it uses a 46.5 / 35.4 mm 9-blade turbine wheel, teamed with a 52.5 / 36.6 mm 10-blade compressor wheel. It's rated at 180,000 rpm.


Like the WRX, the B4 uses a bonnet scoop to feed a top-mount air-to-air intercooler. Manufactured by Sanden, the intercooler has an effective depth of 73 mm, a width of 140 mm and a length of 370 mm. With 26 tubes to take induction air from one end-tank to the other, the unit has a 13.37 kW heat transfer capacity and reduces 120–130 degree Celsius charge air to 70–80 degrees Celsius (claimed).

Gearbox and Driveline

Australian-delivered Liberty B4s come with a longitudinally-mounted 5-speed manual gearbox only. It is essentially the same unit that was introduced in MY99 models (which saw the most changes since the Liberty was introduced in 1990).

Amongst its list of improvements is increased case rigidity and twice the number of bolts attaching it to the engine (eight instead of four). The syncromesh baulk ring, gear docking teeth angles and the double cone synchro on 2nd and 3rd gear have also all been retuned.

The B4's 'S type' close-ratio gearset has taller ratios in the first three cogs than the Impreza WRX, but a shorter 4.11:1 final drive ratio counters some of this effect. The gears are now cold forged and shot peened for added strength and a flexible flywheel design is now incorporated to reduce engine vibration reaching the driveline. The pull-type 230 mm single plate clutch has increased torque capacity thanks to an 830 kg clamping load pressure plate.

The B4's AWD layout is traditional Subaru. The viscous limited-slip centre coupling apportions front-to-rear torque 50:50. Torque distribution at the road, however, is dependent on load distribution and tyre grip. As a result, the static straight driving ratio is 60:40 front-to-rear. Under dynamic driving conditions, however, the torque distribution varies accordingly. The viscous coupling senses rotational speed difference between the front and rear axles and transmits torque to the end with the most grip (which has lesser axle rpm).

A rear viscous LSD is also used to improve high-speed stability and traction during low-speed cornering.


The B4 is suspended on the same platform as other Liberty models – MacPherson struts under the front and a multi-link strut rear. The front suspension incorporates cast aluminium L-shaped transverse links and the cross member features a newly devised 'performance rod'. The performance rod is a lateral brace, which improves side-axis stiffness by 500 percent and longitudinal stiffness by 50 percent. This provides more constant suspension geometry under hard cornering. The rear suspension, too, receives an additional support sub-frame to improve rear suspension lateral and longitudinal stiffness (by 200 percent and 20 percent respectively).

Front Suspension Damping Rate – Bump/Rebound (N @ 0.3 m/s) 932/2159 Suspension Travel – Bump/Rebound (mm) 105/95 Spring Rate (N/mm) 25.1 Swaybar Diameter (mm) 20 Rear Suspension Damping Rate – Bump/Rebound (N @ 0.3 m/s) 600/2350 Suspension Travel – Bump/Rebound (mm) 125/85 Spring Rate (N/mm) 47.5 Swaybar Diameter (mm) 17 The front strut is a lightweight Bilstein. The struts are inverted to deliver higher bending rigidity (thanks to larger damping tube diameter) and less damping fade as a result of increased piston size. Springs are mounted offset so their centreline coincides with the pivot axis. This reduces road shock and – by minimizing bump and rebound friction – provides less vibration.

The B4's initial spring, damper, and swaybar specifications were devised in Japan and later tuned at the Nürburgring circuit. It's said the target was to at least equal the performance of the BMW M3.


The B4 is slowed by 294mm ventilated front disc brakes and twin-pot floating calipers and 290mm ventilated rear discs and single-pot floating calipers. An increased diameter vacuum assisted tandem booster gives reduced pedal effort though relatively firm braking feel (see graph). The system is diagonally linked to maintain safety in the event one line should fail, and front and rear pressure control valve are used to balance braking force to suit weight distribution. Maximum braking deceleration from 100 km/h is 0.99g with a 39.4 metre stopping distance.

The B4's standard anti-lock braking system is Bosch's 5.3i system (which is made under license by Nippon ABS). It's a 4-channel, 3-phase system with the front wheels controlled individually, while the rears are controlled jointly (through the 'select low' method). The select low method uses the rear wheel with the lower coefficient of adhesion to calculate the brake line pressure applied to both of the rear wheels.

An advantage of the new system is the increased level of wheel speed control afforded by the 3-phase control cycle, which now operates at 18 MHz (up from 12 MHz) and has increased ROM capacity (32kB up from 12kB). Under driving conditions, the result is around 50 percent less yaw moment (oversteer/understeer attitude) when one side of the vehicle is braking on ice and the other is on asphalt. One-third the amount of steering correction is needed under these conditions.

The aforementioned 'select low' method of rear braking force, together with electronically delayed buildup of braking force at the front wheel with a high adhesion coefficient and negative steering roll radius, maximises chassis stability under braking.


A combined key, remote central locking transmitter and immobiliser transponder protects the Liberty B4 from theft. Once the key is inserted into the ignition barrel and switched on, an antenna amplifier (positioned around the ignition barrel) reads the transponder code and transmits it to the engine management system. Without the correct code sequence, the engine is not allowed to start.

In addition to the key immobilizer, Subaru Australia also installs a dual-stage security system (as came fitted to previous Impreza STis). The remote locking transmitter represents the first stage of security, while a console-mounted numerical keypad forms the second stage. To disarm the 6 points of immobilization, the correct four-digit code must be entered into the keypad. The system also features an anti-hijack, mode, intrusion alert, false alarm prevention, internal screamer siren, infrasonic sensor, valet mode, and anti cross-pollination software.

The B4's instrument cluster is backlit and delivers excellent visibility under all conditions. The clock rings, pointers, and the calibration data are sequentially illuminated once the ignition is switched on.

American car audio company McIntosh spent 12 months in Japan customizing a sound system to suit the acoustics of the B4. The double-DIN head unit incorporates a single CD player, tuner, and cassette deck, while some units also had a mini disc player. The system features a high-performance digital to analog (D/A) converter, 20-bit Burr-Brown chips, Dolby B noise reduction (tape), dual-antenna AM/FM radio, and McIntosh's Power Guard technology, which gives low distortion at high sound pressure levels. A 6-band, 4-channel parametric equalizer has also been tuned specifically for the B4.

Separate to the head unit – under the front passenger seat – is the system amplifier. The output power handled by each of the 4-channels is 24W and the subwoofer is 60W. The total harmonic distortion of the system is as low as 0.05 percent – comparable to a good home audio system.

The speaker system comprises 20 mm soft dome tweeters in the sail areas, 165 mm polypropylene cone 2-ways in the front and rear doors and a 152 x 228 mm subwoofer offset to one side on the rear deck. The whole system weighs about 10 kg (22 lb).

An electronically controlled rear muffler is used to keep the B4 quiet at low road speeds. The pipe that leads into the rear muffler is divided in two, with one pipe equipped with a flapper valve. The ECU – working with an actuator and cable – opens this valve when traveling at medium-to-high road speeds. This increases exhaust gas flow.


The bonnet of the Liberty B4 is made from 1mm thick aluminium. Once fitted with its intercooler scoop, the bonnet assembly weighs 9.5 kilograms – some 8 kilograms lighter than the steel bonnet fitted to other Liberty models.

Body strength has also been improved over the first 1999 current-shape Liberty. Torsional rigidity has increased from the 1999 model's 2.52 x 106 Nm2/rad to 3.5 x 106 Nm2/rad. Flexural rigidity is increased from 4.89 x 106 Nm to 5.47 x 106 Nm.

Other tech facts about the Liberty B4... The B4 has a 0.34 Cd and a CdA of 0.703 m2 It produces 190 kW (255 hp) at 6400 rpm and 320 N⋅m (236 lbf⋅ft) at 4800 rpm – in comparison, the Australian delivered Impreza STi made 206 kW (276 hp) at 6500 rpm and 353 N⋅m (260 lb⋅ft) at 4000 rpm. Maximum boost pressure is quoted at 0.933 Bar (at 4800 rpm), the engine has a minimum fuel octane rating of 98 RON. Subaru Australia lists the vehicle capable of 0 – 60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 6.5 seconds, a 14.6 second quarter mile and a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph).

Front caliper pot diameter is 42.8 mm (x2), and rear caliper pot diameter is 38.1 mm (x1). The B4 has a combined cycle driving range of 650 km (404 mi).


The fourth revision of the third-generation Legacy, introduced in 2001, made several subtle but important changes to the front of the car. The grille and headlights were altered slightly, making interchangeability with Revisions A-C style headlights impossible. The headlights in the Japanese market kept using HID bulbs as in previous years, but the shape of the headlight was altered slightly. The grille was made slightly taller than the A-C models, and the shape of the bumper around the grille was altered slightly to accommodate a lower joint where the hood and bumper meet. Consistent with previous models, the HID headlights had a dashboard-mounted adjustment switch that allowed the driver to re-aim the headlights to reduce glare to approaching traffic, although the switches were altered slightly internally to adjust for the increase in power needed to adjust the new style headlights. The bonnet became a lighter aluminum alloy, similar to that available on the STI's at the time. Compression and timing changed in order to further reduce the effect of loss of boost during the switch over from the primary to secondary stages. The ECU also got an upgrade, as it is now tunable by the manufacturer or third-party tuning workshops. Additional optional extras were offered upon purchase including but not limited to; a new body kit, headlight surrounds, and 4-pot brakes – the stock wheels were designed to accommodate this upgrade. The D-Type Legacy is Subaru's best shot at the sequential twin-turbo engine besides the STI revision.


North AmericaEdit


Available only for 2000, the Brighton was the lowest trim level of the legacy wagon available. It came standard with a 165 hp (123 kW) SOHC EJ252 and a 5-speed manual transmission, rear drum brakes, steel wheels with hubcaps, an AM/FM radio and cassette, and other basic features but lacked roof rails, a tachometer, wiring for keyless entry, power locks, cruise control, and some other features that were available on the L trim.


For most of this generation, the L was the lowest trim package available. From 2000 to 2002, it can be identified with unpainted plastic body molding, door handles, and mirrors. It came standard with the features from the Brighton, plus features that were mentioned as excluded from the Brighton trim, rear disc brakes, and larger tires. From 2003 to 2004, the L had gained standard features in the Special Edition (2003) and 35th Anniversary Edition (2004) such as the "snowflake" style 16" alloy rims from the 2000 to 2002 GT, painted plastic body molding, door handles, and mirrors, dual sunroofs on the wagon and a single sunroof on the sedan, simulated interior wood trim, a CD player, leather-wrapped shift handle and steering wheel, and other features only previously available on the GT.[4]


The GT (2.5GT for 2004) is a trim level that featured larger front brake discs than the standard trim, single beam dual bulb halogen headlights, foglights, sportier suspension, GT specific sideskirts, and a viscous limited-slip rear differential, as well as simulated wood interior trim. The engine is the same 2.5 L naturally aspirated EJ251 engine found in the L and Brighton trim. In 2003, the Sportshift 4-Speed Automatic with Variable Torque Distribution was introduced as an option on the GT.[5]

GT Limited

The GT Limited is a package offered from 2000 to 2002 that had the same additions as the GT trim and added the factory all-weather package. This included features like heated seats, de-icer, and mirror defrosters, but retained the same EJ251 engine. This trim level was dropped for 2003 and features standard on the Limited became standard on the GT. This package was only available for the sedan.



The TX was the lowest trim package available in Japan, being equivalent to the early USDM L trim. It included dual-beam single bulb headlights, unpainted plastic door handles, mirrors, and body molding, an AM/FM cassette radio, steel wheels with hubcaps, and manual climate controls. A 135 hp (101 kW) 2.0 L naturally aspirated SOHC "lean-burn" EJ201 was used. An S Package was available that upgraded the grille to the touring wagon-style grille and added foglights, alloy wheels, painted door handles, mirrors, and body molding.


The Brighton added to the TX. This trim featured automatic climate control, upgraded 15" mesh alloy rims, foglights, and a standard CD player. It retained the same 2.0 L engine. The JDM Brighton got unique badging, unlike the USDM Brighton.

Brighton S

The Brighton S was an upgraded Brighton and featured a sportier look with painted body molding and single beam dual bulb headlights.


The 250T wagon featured an upgraded 170 hp (130 kW) DOHC 2.5 L naturally aspirated EJ254 along with an upgraded stereo, Momo steering wheel, single-beam dual bulb headlights, and simulated woodgrain dash trim.


The 250T-B is a version of the 250T upgraded with Bilstein struts and "snowflake" alloy rims featured on USDM Legacies.


The GT is a tuned version of the Legacy Touring Wagon, using a 265 hp (198 kW) 2.0 L twin-turbo EJ206 if equipped with an automatic or 276 hp (206 kW) EJ208 if equipped with a manual.


The RS was an upgrade over the standard B4 with a 155 hp (116 kW) naturally aspirated DOHC 2.0 L EJ204.


The RS25 was a performance model featuring an upgraded 170 hp (130 kW) naturally aspirated DOHC 2.5 L EJ254 along with Bilstein shocks.


The RSK sedan featured the twin-turbo EJ20 from the Legacy GT, along with Bilstein shocks. RSK stands for Rally Sport Kompressor, as Kompressor represents the twin-turbo.

TS Type R

Available in both wagon and sedan form, the TS Type R featured a 155 hp (116 kW) naturally aspirated DOHC 2.0 L EJ204 with a sportier appearance, similar to a GTB without the hood scoop.


The GT30 wagon and RS30 sedan were introduced in 2001 for the 2002 model year as Revision D models. They featured the EZ30 and are identifiable by their unique grille. They were only available with an automatic and came standard with VDC.

GT VDC Basic spec GT twin-turbo, but came with Subaru's own traction & stability control VDC (third generation)VDC, (Vehicle Dynamics Control). These models were only available in Auto.

GT-B The GT-B is a further enhanced version of the GT Wagon. The "B" in the name refers to the Bilstein struts that the car was equipped with. An E-Tune package was available giving a stiffer chassis and longer gearing for better fuel economy. The E-Tune II was introduced in 2001 as a 2002 model for Revision D and featured a stiffer chassis and other upgrades. Vehicles with the Bilstein shocks had a small Bilstein badge attached to the rear of the vehicle, below the "GT" badge. They featured some different interior options, larger brakes and wheels, and more.

Legacy Wagon Avignon Concept (2001) It was a concept car named after an area in Southern France, based on the wagon body. It includes a cobalt blue body, naturally aspirated 2.5 L engine, a unique body kit, wheels, and interior accents, such as clay-colored seats and a light-colored dashboard.

The vehicle was unveiled in 2001 at the 35th annual Tokyo Motor Show.[6]

Legacy STi S401 version (2002) It is a limited (400 unit target, 286 actually produced) version sedan built by STI division. It includes a twin sequential turbo 2.0 L EJ208 engine and a 6-speed manual transmission.[7][8]

The S401 model also featured Brembo brakes and 18" X 7.5" BBS alloy wheels.

Blitzen (2000–2003) The Blitzen model ("Blitz" is German for lightning) was the result of a collaboration with design house Porsche Design, and featured many unique parts and paint schemes, and was the top-level luxury sport package from Subaru, using items from their STi performance division. The wheels, body kit, and interior were all designed by this German group. It also featured an implementation of Aisin Seiki's new sequential automatic gearbox,[9] the first use of sequential-shifting on a production Subaru model. The model was refreshed in 2002 with an updated design. The model was refreshed again in 2003 with the interior designed by Andreas Zapatinas.[10]



This was the lowest trim available outside of domestic and North American markets. It came standard with manual climate controls, an AM/FM cassette stereo, rear drum brakes, and a 125 hp (93 kW) 2.0 L SOHC EJ20E. 125 hp (93 kW)


The GX came standard with a 153 hp (114 kW) 2.5 L SOHC EJ251, automatic climate controls and an upgraded CD player. VDC and leather were options.

GX Limited


Subaru Outback
Also calledSubaru Legacy Lancaster (Japan)
Subaru Legacy Outback (Europe)
Body and chassis
Body style5-door station wagon
4-door sedan (USA only)
Engine2.5 L SOHC 165 hp (123 kW) H4
3.0 L DOHC 212 hp (158 kW) H6
Transmission4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,649 mm (104.3 in)
Length4,760.0 mm (187.4 in) (wagon)
4,683.8 mm (184.4 in) (sedan)
Width1,745 mm (68.7 in) (Int'l)
1,694 mm (66.7 in) (Japan)
Height1,607.8 mm (63.3 in) (2000–02 wagon)
1,579.9 mm (62.2 in) (2003–04 wagon)
1,480.8 mm (58.3 in) (sedan)

With the arrival of the third generation Legacy, the second generation Outback wagon became its own model. The Legacy SUS remained unique to North America and was realigned with the Outback Limited package, offering the sedan with an optional horizontal six-cylinder engine, also optional on the wagon. The new body style was introduced to Japan in September 1998 and called the Lancaster. The USA-spec Outback was available starting in 2000. In October of that year, Nissan introduced a Japan-only called competitor with an Outback-like appearance called the Nissan Avenir Blaster.

The raised roof was retained, but the new body was smoother, rounder, and about 3 inches longer, with a slightly longer wheelbase. A new version of Subaru's flat four-cylinder "boxer" engine was standard, offering more low-end torque, better fuel economy, and smoother performance. There were no changes to the front suspension, but there was a complete makeover of the rear suspension, which included a new design that occupied less of the backspace, adding more room in the trunk and cargo floor. Safety improvements consist of three-point seat belts for the driver and additional four passengers. There is also a child-safety-seat anchor for all of the seat positions in the back. For the front, the seat belts are positioned to better hold the driver and front passenger along with front and rear airbags installed to protect the occupants in a collision. The Subaru Outback received a good rating from The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2000 for its performance in a safety demonstration of a crash test at 40 miles per hour. The Outback has been since developing to make it as safe, smooth, and convenient a ride that it can be.

The rear seat on the Outback sedan does not fold down, unlike previous generations where the rear seat had a 60:40 folding seat for extended length items. Rear headrests are now included as standard equipment on all trim levels. The ground clearance is 7.3 in (190 mm). The engine now meets California's LEV emission standard.

The Outback came standard with a 165 hp (123 kW) by SAE, 4-cylinder boxer engine, four-cylinder SOHC design with a maximum torque of (166 lb⋅ft (225 N⋅m)) that was available at a lower RPM compared to the previous generation. The 2.5 L SOHC four-cylinder engine uses a timing belt that must be replaced around 100,000 miles (160,000 km), whereas the 3.0 L six-cylinder engine uses a timing chain that does not require replacement under normal conditions.

The base model six-cylinder was offered as the H6-3.0 — its interior, and available options, were identical to those of the Outback "Limited", with the exception of a manual transmission, although many successful non-factory transmission swaps have proven that it physically bolts up without issue (but still requires some significant modifications to the electrical system). Badging for all 6-cylinder Outbacks was located on the front grille as well as on the rear of the vehicle.

In a higher trim level, known as the Outback H6-3.0 L.L. Bean in the USA, it included standard features like an in-dash six-disc CD changer, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and dual moonroofs. OnStar was available as an option on the USA-spec L.L. Bean and VDC trims. In-dash satellite navigation was offered on Japan-spec vehicles on upper trim level wagons starting with Model Year 1998 and continued to offer a Momo black leather steering wheel with genuine wood inlay, shift knob, and parking brake handle. Plaid upholstery was still offered on Japan-spec Lancasters.

The six-cylinder was also available as the Outback H6-3.0 VDC; a 200 Watt McIntosh stereo system was standard from 2001 to 2004 with Subaru's VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control) system, which integrated stability control with traction control. These were some of the only vehicles ever factory-equipped with McIntosh stereo equipment. The system was also mated to a previously used Japanese-market AWD system, called VTD, in which power was split 45/55 front-to-rear in normal conditions. When wheel spin is detected, the system cuts power to the spinning wheel and directs power to those that are not. Only when necessary do the brakes slow the affected wheels, when the vehicle detects excessive oversteer or understeer. This package had more sound insulation than other trims, as well as those features found on the H6-3.0 L.L. Bean, such as dual moonroofs, OnStar, and leather upholstery. Its curb weight was just slightly higher than that of the standard H6-3.0 L.L. Bean trim, and while the VDC badging was placed on the front quarter panels only, the H6-3.0 and Outback markings were also applied as usual.


2002–2003 Subaru Outback 2.5 wagon
2002-2003 Subaru Outback H6 3.0 wagon
2001–2002 Subaru Outback H6 3.0 wagon

Australian-specification vehicles differ from cars delivered in the United States by following the Japanese models; primarily headlights, side indicators (on front quarter panels), rear taillights, front and rear bumpers, and a higher placing of the "Outback" badging on the front door bodywork (as opposed to being placed on the plastic cladding).

This generation of Outback was released in an early style with gold-colored cladding, all-in-one headlights (not dissimilar to the US model headlights), and internally a light gray cloth (sometimes speckled with various colors), a light brown wood textured dashboard and a plain instrument cluster. A nudge bar (a smaller style of bullbar or roo bar) was also available as an aftermarket option. The later style (2002–2004) was updated with silver cladding, an updated range of paint colors, multi-unit headlights (where headlight and indicators were in different sections of the unit) and internally a dark gray/black cloth, dark gray plastics, a very dark brown faint wood texture, and metal trims on the dials of the instrument cluster.

Models available included the base "Outback", the "Outback Limited" which added a sunroof and cloth/leather seats and the "Outback H6" which included the 6-cylinder engine with VDC as described in this article. The H6 was released with slightly different 16-inch wheels and available in a single metallic pearl off-white colour instead of the usual colour with gold or silver cladding. The H6 was only available in automatic, apparently due to the size of the 6-cylinder engine taking up too much space to fit the manual box and associated dual-range mechanicals.


Lancaster 6 (D type) (Front)
Lancaster 6 (D type) (Rear)

The Lancaster (as known in Japan) was released originally in September 1998 following the original release of the third-generation Legacy in May 1998. The Lancaster models were available originally in 2.5 L engine size with the E-4AT transmission or 5-Speed Manual. In May 2000, Subaru released the Lancaster 6, featuring Subaru's reborn Flat-6 engine. This was in production from April 2000 to May 2001 when Subaru released the facelifted Legacy models included a revised Lancaster design. These changes were seen on 'Outbacks' produced in Japan, US built Outbacks did not use the facelifted design released by Subaru Japan.

The Lancaster ADA (Active Driving Assist) was introduced in September 1999. The system featured two CCD cameras mounted either side of the rear-view mirror. The system was installed on 2.5 L models with VDC and then later in 2000 on the newer Lancaster 6 VDC models.[11]

The ADA system featured 4 key safety components:

Function Description
Lane Departure Warning ADA will detect when the vehicle is diverging from the intended course of the road. An audible sound is made through the navigation system and dashboard warnings are illuminated.
Inter-vehicle Distance Warning When the ADA detects the car fast approaching another vehicle in front, the system will warn the driver via an audible sound.
Dynamic Cruise Control Whilst cruise control is active, ADA will keep the vehicle at a safe distance from the car in front. This in turn requires no input from the driver when the car is fast approaching a vehicle ahead.
Curve Alarm / Shift Down If ADA detects an upcoming corner and calculates the car could face loss of traction or under/oversteer, ADA will warn the driver audibly and down-shift the transmission automatically to provide engine braking to the vehicle in order to slow it before entering the corner.

While Subaru's newly marketed ja:EyeSight (Japanese) system (essentially ADA) found in the 5th generation Legacy and Outback draws media attention for 'new advanced technology', the ADA system was actually a system developed back in the late 1990s along with the development of the 3rd Generation Legacy and is no means 'new technology' as such, but more a 'newly recognised' system for a more safety-conscious global market.


Subaru Baja
Subaru Baja

Subaru developed a four-door coupé utility (pickup) version of the Outback with all-wheel-drive, known as the "Subaru Baja" (pronounced ba-ha). Manufactured from 2002 to 2006 and marketed for the 2003 through to 2006 model years, the Baja combined the handling and passenger carrying characteristics of a traditional passenger car with the open-bed versatility, and to a lesser degree, load capacity of a pickup truck. Subaru marketed the Baja in the United States, Canada, and Chile.

The unibody design borrowed heavily from the existing mechanicals, platform and sheet metal of the Outback wagon.[12] Production occurred at the Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. factory in Lafayette, Indiana.


Chassis typesEdit

code BE BH BT
body styles sedan extended roof wagon Baja Truck


Models Years Type (code) Power, torque@rpm
B4 (Australia) 2001–2002 1,994 cc (1.994 L; 121.7 cu in) 2.0 L H4 twin turbo (EJ208/206) 258 PS (190 kW; 254 hp)@6400, 320 N⋅m (240 lb⋅ft)@4800 manual

239 PS (176 kW; 236 hp)@6000, 309 N⋅m (228 lb⋅ft)@4800 automatic

B4 RSK & GT 1998–2003 1,994 cc (1.994 L; 121.7 cu in) 2.0 L H4 twin turbo (EJ208/206) 276 bhp (206 kW)@6500, 343 N⋅m (253 lb⋅ft)@5000 Manual

265 bhp (198 kW)@6000, 319 N⋅m (235 lb⋅ft)@5000 automatic

B4 RS & TS-R 2001–2003 2.0 L H4 (EJ20) 157 PS (115 kW; 155 hp)@6400, 196 N·m (145 lb·ft)@3200
B4 RS25 2001–2003 2.5 L H4 (EJ25) 172 PS (127 kW; 170 hp)@6000, 238 N·m (176 lb·ft)@2800
B4 RS30 & GT30 2002–2003 3.0 L H6 (EZ30) 223 PS (164 kW; 220 hp)@6000, 290 N·m (213 lb·ft)@4400
Blitzen 6 wagon 2002–2002 3.0 L H6 (EZ30) 223 PS (164 kW; 220 hp)@6000, 290 N·m (213 lb·ft)@4400
Blitzen wagon 2002–2002 1,994 cc (1.994 L; 121.7 cu in) 2.0 L H4 twin turbo (Ej208/206) 276 bhp (206 kW)@6500, 343 N⋅m (253 lb⋅ft)@5000 Manual

265 bhp (198 kW)@6000, 319 N⋅m (235 lb⋅ft)@5000 automatic[13]

STi S401 version 2002 2.0 L H4 twin turbo (EJ20) 293 PS (216 kW; 289 hp)@6400, 343 N⋅m (253 lb⋅ft)@4400–5600


Models Years Type (code)
B4 RSK 2001 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
B4 (Australia) 2003 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
STi S401 version 2002 6-speed manual

The 4-speed automatic transmission had a feature where the transmission could be instructed to ignore 1st gear from a standing stop to assist driving on traction limited situations, such as ice and snow. The system was activated by moving the gearshift from the "D" position down to "2nd". The car would then start in 2nd gear, and not 1st. The transmission also splits the delivered torque 50-50 between the front and rear wheels. Once the car stopped, the transmission would start back in 2nd and not 1st, until the system was upshifted to 4th.

Japanese models with automatic transmission include a "Power/Econo" button that was previously installed on the gear selector has been relocated to the transmission surround on the right side, due to a redesign of the automatic transmission gear shift handle.

The automatic transmission also has the ability to change the shift points, and hold the gears longer when the engine is operating at a higher RPM. This is achieved by pressing the accelerator pedal rapidly, which causes the transmission to hold the gear until 5000 rpm before shifting to the next gear. No indicator light appears in the instrument cluster, unlike previous generations. The transmission also has engine over-rev protection by shifting the transmission to the next available gear once 6500 rpm has been achieved, even if the gear selector is in a low gear position.

Japanese-spec vehicles with the twin-turbo had a "Sportshift" manumatic transmission, that allowed the driver to push the automatic gearshift selector to the left, and then allow the driver to shift the automatic like a manual transmission. In-dash satellite navigation was offered on Japan-spec vehicles on upper trim level sedans and wagons starting with Model Year 1998 and continued to offer a Momo black leather steering wheel, gearshift knob, and parking brake handle.


  1. ^ "Japan specification Legacy listing [Archive] - Subaru Legacy International".
  2. ^ Red Book 2003 Australian-spec Subaru 3GEN MY03 Liberty B4
  3. ^ Red Book 2003 Australian-spec Subaru 3GEN MY03 Liberty B4
  4. ^ "Subaru 2003 Legacy information, prices & options".
  5. ^ "Subaru 2003 Legacy information, prices & options".
  6. ^ "2001 Subaru Legacy Avignon Concept". 2004-03-01. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  7. ^ スバルテクニカインターナショナル株式会社 代表取締役社長 桂田 勝. "Subaru site". Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  8. ^ "English language S401 review". Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  9. ^ MotorTrend, July 2000
  10. ^ スバル レガシィ B4 「BLITZEN 2003 model」を発売 Fuji Heavy Industries Press Release,24-Dec-2011
  11. ^ Used car specs on Subaru Lancaster ADA
  12. ^ "First Drive: 2003 Subaru Baja". August 9, 2002.
  13. ^[dead link]