Subaru bills the 2.5GT as its "enthusiast" model, and although it's not quite as fun as a WRX, it is by far the most enjoyable Legacy I've sampled in many years. There's no discounting the power offered by the turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four, but mating it to a six-speed transmission is simply brilliant. Other midsize cars may offer manual transmissions, but they're only available on lower trim models that focus more on thrift than on thrust.
The 2.5GT has plenty of the latter. Once boost comes on, this engine just pulls, and it's made even more enjoyable by the fact that you can row your own gears. I love the feel of this clutch (which borders on the excessively firm side), but the shift feel -- long, lanky, and somewhat vague -- needs some work. I'd be interested in dropping $455 on Subaru Performance Tuning's short-throw kit for the car.
The presence of a push-button parking brake seems a bit odd on a manual-transmission model until you realize two things. First, the car is equipped with hill start assist, which will help hold you steady when launching on steep grades. Seconds, as long as the driver is belted in place, the brake will electronically disengage once you begin to let out the clutch. Nifty.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer