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Success for STI-fettled Subaru Forester tS

Catch it while you can: Subaru Australia wishes it had access to more than 300 STI-enhanced Forester tS special editions, as customer enquiries for the spruced-up SUV have ‘gone through the roof’.

Around half of Aussie-allocated Subaru Forester tS limited editions already sold

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Subaru logo23 May 2016

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

SUBARU fans wanting to get their hands on a limited-edition Forester tS dusted with dynamic- and interior-enhancing goodies from the famed STI performance skunkworks had better hurry, because GoAuto understands that around half of Australia’s 300-strong allocation has already been spoken for.

Officially on sale from June this year at $54,990 plus on-road costs, the first Forester tS tyres have only just begun squeaking their way onto the glossy tiled floors of Australian Subaru showrooms, where customers have been laying down deposits since before the model was announced for Australia.

Based on the range-topping turbo-petrol XT Premium variant, the tS sits 15mm lower on cherry red STI-tuned coil springs and dampers (with inverted front dampers), while four-piston (front) and two-pot (rear) Brembo brake callipers lurk behind moody-looking dark anodised 19-inch STI Enkei alloy wheels.

Less visible are further chassis upgrades comprising STI front stabiliser bushings and rear subframe supports, plus rigidity-enhancing measures including a front strut brace and draw stiffeners at both ends.

Advertising the sporting intent of this tS edition are a black STI-badged grille with cherry red interior edging, cherry red stripe on the rear bumper, black mirror housings and rear spoiler. The makeover is completed by STI and tS badging.

More STI branding continues inside, with the instruments, gear selector, leather-trimmed steering wheel, red engine starter button and front seats bearing the Subaru Tecnica International emblem.

Adding to the sporting atmosphere are leather and suede upholstery on the seats, doors, centre console lid and multi-function display visor with red trim and stitching, black headlining and red-ringed climate control knobs.

Just three colour choices are available, with Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica offered alongside the iconic WR Blue that harks back to the original, Japan-only second-generation Forester STI launched at the peak of Subaru’s rallying success.

The tS carries a premium of $7000 over the updated XT Premium that launched in February at $47,990 plus on-road costs, but while the tS loses the XT Premium’s sunroof, Subaru values the upgrades at $12,000.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior described the special edition as “a graphic demonstration of Subaru’s innovation, uniqueness and inspiration”.

“Arguably it is the only true sports SUV under $80,000. And with its rarity and Subaru’s renowned retained value, it is bound to be one of the first collectible SUVs.”

Mr Senior admitted that he soon wished Subaru Australia had ordered more than 300 examples as early demand and customer enquiries “went through the roof”.

“It’s clear proof of the success of this clever joint development between the Subaru factory and the performance arm, Subaru Tecnica International,” he said.

“While the cars were built in the Subaru factory, they were transferred to STI for final completion and the addition of around 30 items.”

Mr Senior added that the success of the tS would likely lead to more similar special editions in future.

“It certainly gives us great confidence in progressing other joint projects between the factory and STI,” he said.

In Japan, a similarly fettled tS version of the Subaru BRZ sports coupe is also offered, wearing a number of STI extras, but Subaru Australia has poured cold water on any hopes that the more exclusive sportscar will be offered Down Under.

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