While not a fully-fledged ‘STI’, this new Forester may unlock just enough rally DNA to entertain Subaru fans.
Subaru has unveiled a new version of the Forester known as the STI Sport and while it remains a Japan-only affair for now, some hope exists for it to be released in to Australia – with Subaru’s local distributor confirming it is working on a range of special-edition Forester models for our market.
Not to be confused with the more rugged Forester Sport sold in Australia, the Forester STI Sport is a more on-road-focused midsize SUV
While not a true STI model like the now-retired WRX STI sedan, Forester STI Sport has still received some fettling from Subaru’s performance arm.
STI engineers have upgraded the front suspension by adding Hitachi Astemo SFRD dampers and the stock rear dampers have also been dialled in. Subaru claims that the outcome is a driving experience similar to a sports sedan while retaining a smooth ride.
In Japan, the Forester can be had with a 1.8-litre turbo-petrol flat-four which is likely unchanged in the STI Sport, though its 130kW/300Nm outputs still outgun the 136kW/239Nm developed by the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated flat-four sold in Australia.
To better suit the STI badging, designers have darkened the front grille and fitted a contrasting black body kit complete with more aggressive 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the cabin is trimmed in a combination of red and black Nappa leather material, and even the analogue gauges are given a more sporting backing plate.
When asked if local buyers could expect to see a change to the Forester line-up following the introduction of the STI Sport, Subaru Australia public relations manager Adriana Saviane was coy but telling with her response.
“We are working closely with the factory on upcoming Special Edition options for the Australian market,” she said.
“We look forward to sharing further details closer to launch.”
While certainly not a confirmation, the response shows that Subaru Australia could usher in the Forester STI Sport as a temporary addition to the local range.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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