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Sydney show: World debut for Subaru Forester ‘STI’

Gearing up: The 193kW Forester S-Edition concept features a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifts.

Subaru all but confirms the 2011 arrival of an S-Edition-based hi-po compact SUV

15 Oct 2010

SUBARU today confirmed one of the industry’s worst-kept and most highly anticipated secrets – that it is planning an STI-style version of the Forester.

Displayed for the first time globally this morning as the S-Edition Concept, but destined for the showroom sometime during 2011, the fastest production iteration of Australia’s best-selling compact SUV is derived from the existing (and continuing) Forester XT.

It features a variation of the Impreza STI’s turbocharged 2.5-litre horizontally opposed four-cylinder petrol engine, tuned to deliver 193kW of power and 347Nm of torque.

2 center imageWhile this is a 24kW and 27Nm jump respectively over today’s XT, it falls short of Subaru’s A-line Boxer unit as found in the Impreza STI, which produces 221kW and either 350Nm (auto) or 407Nm (manual).

Speaking of gearboxes, the S-Edition Concept also introduces an extra ratio to the Forester for the first time since the series started in 1997, in the form of a five-speed automatic transmission.

Also snared from the newly introduced Impreza STI auto, the gearbox features paddle shifts.

Whether the other Forester autos ditch the old four-speed unit for this transmission, or adopt the larger Liberty’s CVT, remains to be seen.

Other S-Edition Concept additions include revised ‘sports’ suspension, Subaru’s ‘Variable Torque Distribution’ (VTD) All-Wheel Drive hardware, 17-inch STI alloys, “exclusive styling accents”, Alcantara seat trim, drilled alloy pedals, and unique luminescent instrumentation.

While Subaru Australia will not as yet confirm the S-Edition Concept’s transition to production, managing director Nick Senior hinted strongly that this was imminent.

“We’re delighted and honoured that Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) have chosen Sydney for the worldwide unveil of this Forester concept,” he said.

“It points towards an exciting development in our Forester range early next year.

“Forester is firmly established as Australia’s best selling compact sports utility vehicle, with the most recent addition to the range being the diesel variants that are proving a sales winner for our all-wheel drive brand.

“There’s no denying Forester’s appeal to Australians in both urban and rural environments, so we think this concept will only add to the huge interest.”

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