The Forester STI SUV We’ve All Been Waiting for Is Finally Here… Sort of…
Christmas has come early this year for Subaru fans, more so for Subaru fans in Japan. For about a decade Subie aficionados everywhere have lamented the lack of STI treatment on any car in their line up other than the Impreza. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the WRX STI, especially the 2015 Subaru WRX STI I have sitting in the garage (that get’s it’s own long-term test report next month). But, admittedly it’s light years less practical than the bigger Subarus, like the Outback and the Forester, which are, in turn, even more light years less fun and scooty than the WRX and STI.
So, for pretty much that same decade of lament, more industrious Subaru owners, who are unsatisfied with the Forester’s erstwhile range-topping 250 horsepower and the lack of cavernous cargo space of the WRX and STI, have built home-made Franken-cars. These one-off Forester STIs used the engine and drive-line of an STI and the body of a Forester, combined with a few aftermarket parts.
It appears that Subaru has paid attention. Now, if you’re hoping for a flat-out, bonkers 305 hp, full-STI-itized Forester, you can stop reading right here. Subaru has dipped but their little to into the pool of insanity, testing the waters of a high-performance Forester by releasing the Subaru 2015 Forester tS for sale in Japan. “tS” technically stands for “Tuned by STI”. So, the 2015 Forester tS is more like a Forester WRX than a Forester STI. Which, is a good start.
2015 Subaru Forester tS (aka 2015 Forester STI aka 2015 Forster WRX)
So, what exactly did Subaru do to the puppy dog of their line-up to make it a Forester tS? The most obvious modifications need to be performance related, right? Each of the 300 planned examples of the Subaru Forester tS will be powered by Subie’s bulletproof turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a six-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT). However, the Forester STI… er tS, rather… will get some appropriate upgrades in the form of new software controlling the engine and gearbox and a new transmission cooler. No word on what this will mean in terms of actual power and performance. I’d put the Forester tS’ output somewhere in the neighborhood of the 268 hp of the current WRX.
In terms of looks and suspension, there have been mods-a-plenty. The suspension has been dropped 15 mm (0.6 inches) and is essentially built from the STI parts bin. The 2015 Subaru Forester tS also gets the WRX and STI’s “Sport Sharp” driving mode, sharpening the whole thing up. More aggressive looks, a unique interior, bigger 19-inch BBS forged wheels and four-pot front/two-pot rear Brembo brakes round out the upgrades.
As I mentioned above, Subaru will only be making 300 examples of the Subaru Forester tS (aka 2015 Subaru Forester STI), and all of them will be going to Japan. Hopefully this thing will eventually makes its way across the Pacific. Price in Japan pre-tax is 4,027,778 Yen or about $33,868. For the full scoop at the latest scooty Subaru, check out the details and specs below.
2015 Subaru tS Technical Specifications
- 4,027,778 Yen (about $33,868)
- 245/45 R19 tires (TURANZA ER33)
- BBS-designed 19-inch forged aluminum wheels
- Brembo front 17-inch opposed 4-pot ventilated disc brake with STI logo
- Brembo rear 17-inch opposed 2-pot ventilated disc brake with STI logo
- STI-tuned suspension (15 mm-lower, inverted-strut front suspension)
- STI-designed flexible tower bar
- STI-designed flexible draw stiffener, front and rear
- STI-designed flexible support subframe, rear
- Exclusively-tuned ECU (Engine Control Unit)
- Exclusively-tuned TCU (Transmission Control Unit)
- CVT oil cooler
- Exclusively-made black front grille (with “STI” ornament and cherry red pin stripe)
- STI-designed front spoiler/STI-designed rear under spoiler
- Black roof spoiler
- Exclusively-made large-diameter muffler cutter
- Fog light bezels (metallic silver)
- Black door mirrors
- Black side window moldings
- Exclusively-made side cladding moldings (metallic silver)
- Cherry red pin stripe on rear bumper
- Exclusively-made “STI” ornament, front and rear
- Exclusively-made “tS” ornament, side and rear
- Exclusively-made luminescent speedometer (up to 260 km/h) with STI logo
- Exclusively-made multifunction display
- Exclusively-made leather lapped steering wheel (quality-feel leather with “STI” ornament and red stitching)
- STI-designed push button ignition (red) with STI logo
- STI-designed leather lapped gear knob with STI logo
- Exclusively-made seats (black leather/black punching Ultrasuede® combination seats [red stitching and red accents])
- Door trims (black punching Ultrasuede®/black Ultrasuede® with red stitching)
- Carbon-toned instrument panel
- AC controls comprising silver dials and piano black-toned switches with red bezel
- Black interior (trims on pillars, roof, and window sills)
- Exclusively-made side sill plate with STI logo
- Exclusively-tuned EyeSight
- Exclusively-tuned VDC (Vehicle Dynamics Control)
- Maximum 300 units (must be preordered by April 5, 2015)