How to Make a Subaru Legacy Fasterby William Zane
The Subaru Legacy has been one of Subaru's best-selling models since its introduction in 1989, with an almost cult-like following of fans. Over the years, it has been sold in 2.2-liter and 2.5-liter versions and in normally aspirated and turbocharged variants. Thanks to its all-wheel-drive platform, it also takes well to the addition of more power, since it already has such ideal road-holding.
Install a more free-flowing exhaust. A larger downpipe, like the 3-inch one made by Cobb, adds power to the motor by evacuating the exhaust gasses faster. These are available with a catalytic converter for emission compliance or without one. To complete the exhaust, install a larger diameter dual exhaust from the catalytic converter back that will provide less restriction.
Use a Cobb Tuning AccessPort to reprogram the engine's Electronic Control Unit (ECU) with more aggressive curves for the fuel and spark delivery of the motor. You can also install a reprogrammed ECU from Jet Engineers that does the same thing.
Install a cold air intake, like the one from Blitz, in order to reduce the restriction of intake air. This replaces the restrictive factory intake with a more free-flowing intake. K&N also offers a cold air intake for the Legacy.
Install a larger intercooler from a company like AVO. This is one of the best things you can do for your Legacy. A more efficient intercooler lets the turbo and the motor run far cooler and produce more power. This is a particularly important addition if you have cranked up the boost on your turbo, since it will now be producing much more heat.
Install an aftermarket boost controller to raise the amount of air that the turbo is feeding the motor. Just make sure you don't raise it so high that it might damage the motor. As delivered from the factory, the Legacy turbo has a relatively conservative level of boost dialed in to promote reliability. But there is also power that is not being used.
Replace the stock Legacy crank and alternator pulleys, which are what drives the engine's belts, with lighter pulleys that reduce parasitic drag on the engine and free up power. They also improve throttle response and encourage the motor to rev quicker.
Attend a racing or driving school. Just because your car is fast doesn't mean you know how to use its full potential. Attend a driving school like the one offered by Bondurant to learn how to maximize your car's ability.
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.