THE STi has been here before.
It was an idea that made more sense than fermenting hops: back in 2004 Subaru’s go-fast arm took a Forester from the production line and zapped it with the STI parts catalogue. It also took the best bits from the Impreza WRX STI – 2.5-litre engine, Brembos, diffs, suspension – and dropped them on the Forester STI’s goodies pile.
For all that, it wanted a currency-converted $35,000, to which we replied: “Find a better bargain and we want to know about it!”
However, Subaru restricted the stove-hot crossover’s habitat to Japan only and broke the hearts of petrolhead parents everywhere.
Luckily, Subaru’s having another crack at a Forester STI of sorts, called the ‘tS’. Better yet, it’s been confirmed by Subaru Australia and will go on-sale here next month for $54,990. And it looks remarkably close to our render.
However, there’s a problem. Subaru is poised to drop the Japanese 2.0-litre engine and opt for the current Forester XT’s lower spec 177kW engine. And it’ll also be offered in, terrifyingly, CVT-only.
How would we fix it? Glad you asked.
Here’s how we’d do it
1. New scoop
With the original Forester STI packing essentially the same turbocharged 2.5-litre engine found in today’s WRX STI, we’d opt for the newer unit from the WRX. An upgraded ceramic turbine and ECU tune will see power bumped from 195kW and 350Nm to 220kW and 395Nm. It’ll also see Subaru’s much-loved bonnet scoop return.
2. Save the stick
CVT transmission? We’d sooner attach electrified alligator clips to our... actually, nevermind. Our Forester STI cops the WRX STI’s beefed up six-speed manual to the back of the engine, along with a shorter first and second gear to help catapult the extra weight.
3. Wheel work
It’s obvious the Forester will be for the racetrack rather than off-road. So with compliance less of an issue, we’d go for the Enkei wheels seen on the BRZ S edition – at 19-inches in diameter. We’d also wrap them in Michelin rubber for some seat side-bolster-testing lateral grip.
4. STI special
STI will again shower the car with the best bits from both its catalogue and its sharp-steering WRX STI. It’ll bolt on a new transmission cooler, strut brace, fatter anti-roll bars, lower springs, inverted struts, and Brembos. Meanwhile pink badges, a spoiler and black skirt inserts will help the Forester STI stand out in a crowd.
5. Your shift
Subaru is well-known for flogging its special editions for bargain prices, so we’d suspect our Forester STI to scrape in at less than $50K, adding to the exclusivity of the 300 examples that would land here.