Revealed in late 2014 for the Japanese market, the special STI-tuned Forester tS was confirmed for an Australian launch during last year's international first drive of the new Levorg wagon. Just 300 examples will come to Australia.
When it lands, the sports-tuned and powered-up tS will command a $7000 premium over the regular Forester range's top-shelf XT Premium model.
As previously confirmed, the local version of the tS will draw power from the same 177kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that drives the XT, missing out on the 206kW unit that motivates the Japanese-market special.
The difference in output doesn't seem to have affected local interest, however.
“When we flagged Forester tS late last year, the customer enquiries went through the roof and the end result is we’re already wishing we’d ordered more than 300," said Subaru Australia managing director, Nick Senior.
“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.”
Setting the tS apart from its regular siblings are STI-specific styling and handling tweaks, which the company says totals 28 unique changes to the mid-sized SUV.
The Australian-market tS is based on the recently facelifted Forester range. Its features, which Subaru says amount to $12,000 in additional value, include:
Exterior styling and handling features:
- STI and tS rear badges
- STI front spoiler
- Cherry Red stripe on front grille and rear bumper
- Crystal Black Silica door mirror covers
- Crystal Black Silica roof spoiler
- STI Enkei 19-inch alloy wheels 19x7.5J
- Black front grille with STI badge
- Brembo four-piston front brakes
- Brembo two-piston rear brakes
- Rear subframe bushings
- STI flexible draw stiffeners front and rear
- STI flexible tower bar - front
- STI front stabiliser bushings
- STI rear subframe support
- STI tuned coil springs - Cherry Red - 15mm lower
- STI tuned dampers (front inverted)
- Black roof liner and trimmings
- Centre console lid with red stitching
- Combination instrument gauge with STI logo
- CVT gear knob with STI logo
- Door trims with suede, red stitch and black grip
- Leather and suede trim seats with red accents; red stitch - front with black STI
- Leather trim steering wheel with STI logo
- Multi-Function Display visor with cover and black stitch
- Heater control panel with red coloured rings
- STI red push button start
The Forester tS is set for an official debut in early June, with more than half of the 300 examples understood to have been sold already.