Subaru Tecnica International, better known by its initials, STI, has finally unveiled its work at tuning the Forester into a higher performance machine. Unfortunately while tweaks to the suspension and styling are plentiful, it’s not clear how much acceleration is going to improve from just a few minor upgrades to the powertrain.
All of the tS models come with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission. STI fits new software to control the engine and gearbox, plus a cooler for the CVT, but Subaru doesn’t say what effect this has on overall performance. The Sport Sharp driving mode has also been also retuned in the SI-Drive system.
However, the Forester tS should definitely be a better handler with a 0.6-inch (15-mm) drop for the suspension and STI parts for the strut tower brace and rear subframe support. The upgrade to forged 19-inch wheels from BBS and commensurately larger tires should help the CUV stick to the road better, too, and Brembo ventilated brake discs front and rear can bring things to a halt.
On the outside, the Forester tS wears some subtle updates with a cherry-red pinstripe running around the front grille and rear bumper. STI also fits a new front and rear spoiler, plus black mirrors provide a little contrast on each side. Inside, there are some new seats up front with a mix of black leather and Ultrasuede with red stitching and matching door panels.
We were hoping Subaru might let STI go wild on the Forester to create a higher-riding take on the WRX STI, but that didn’t happen. The tS goes on sale in Japan on November 25 and is limited to just 300 units. Prices ring up at 4,027,778 yen before the country’s consumption tax ($34,170).