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Subaru hints at Forester STI

Deforestation: Subaru are teasing a new STI-badged variant of its Forester crossover, which could be an optional cosmetic upgrade or, like in the second-generation version, an STI-tweaked and tuned hardcore version of the medium-sized SUV.

Images surface of a Subaru Forester wearing STI badges, but no word on Australia

28 Oct 2014

SUBARU has released teaser images of what appears to be an STI-tuned version of its Forester mid-size SUV, promising a full reveal at the end of November.

The images give away few details, but they do confirm the current-generation Forester will receive a bigger and beefier STI-branded wheel and brake package, a low-riding front diffuser and a red-accented front grille complete with obligatory STI badging.

Appearing to borrow heavily from the previously unveiled Forester STI tS concept, seen in Japan during the Super GT racing series in August, the Forester STI is speculated to feature a roof-mounted rear spoiler, lower side skirts, an aggressive rear diffuser and larger exhaust pipes.

Although power figures and engine configuration are yet to be confirmed, Subaru has let STI – Subaru Tecnica International – tweak a Forester before.

Subaru's in-house tuning company transplanted a detuned version of the 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine from the then current WRX STI into the second-generation Forester, good for 240kW, but limited sales of the go-fast SUV to Japan only.

The most powerful Forester available on the Australian market now produces 177kW of power and 350Nm of torque courtesy of a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

The Forester also represents Subaru's most popular model so far this year, with 9667 vehicles sold to the end of September.

This puts it in third place in the medium-sized SUV category behind the Mazda CX-5 (16,643) and Toyota RAV4 (13,335) – and a hardcore, rally-bred variant could further differentiate the Forester from its competitors.

STI is probably most well known for turning the already capable WRX into a hardcore, rally-inspired, road-eating machine in the form of the WRX STI.

However, STI has tinkered with other Subaru models before, with an optional “S” pack that adds a host of STI-themed goodies to the ever-popular BRZ sportscar, while the tuning arm also tinkered with the fourth-generation Liberty to produce the Liberty GT Tuned by STI.

A Subaru Australia spokesperson said that they, “suspect it's probably a purely Japanese domestic market initiative,” and that they have, “no immediate plans for such a vehicle here.”

At this stage, it remains unclear whether the STI-badged Forester will simply be a cosmetic upgrade or whether Subaru plans to make another hardcore performance-orientated wagon, but all will be revealed on November 25.

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1st of January 1970

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