Mike Stevens | Nov 1, 2008

The Subaru Forester has always been – in Australia if not around the world – a popular car among young enthusiasts wanting something different from the Subaru brand than just another tuned WRX or Liberty. With the new Forester chasing a wider appeal than the more iconic previous models, many of those younger fans have elected to look elsewhere for their unique SUV kick.

Tony O’Kane recently reviewed the Subaru Forester XT – the quasi-official yet not quite spiritual successor to the earlier GT – and came away with the impression that despite the attitude of its turbo WRX engine, this new performance model for the Forester range has been softened in its search for broader market appeal.

Perhaps as an attempt to assuage the grief of Suby loyalists, Subaru is now set to unveil the XTI concept at the SEMA motor show in the US. Fozza fans rejoice, for lo, it is smokin’ hot.

Subaru describes the body colouring as the “Atmospheric Re-Entry paint scheme” – whatever that means – and combined with the 18-inch S204 forged rims, significantly lowered ride height, sports body kit, and mesh grille… this is one mean looking Foz.

Outfitted by Subaru’s STI arm, you can be sure modifications are as serious underneath as they are on the surface. Sporting the 2.5-litre four-cylinder EJ25 turbocharged and intercooled boxer engine making 235kW and 406Nm of torque, we reckon the XTI ought to punch its way to 100kmh in about 5.5-6 seconds.

Paired with a six-speed manual transmission and the brand’s renowned Driver Controlled Center Differential all-wheel-drive system, the XTI is every bit STI.

No word yet on whether Subaru will unleash this upon the market, but if it wants to keep its image as makers of genuine contenders, the XTI wouldn’t hurt.

Stay tuned for more photos and information as it becomes available.

 

Subaru Mountain Rescue Vehicle

subaru-forester_mountain-rescue

Alongside the XTI at Subaru’s SEMA stand will sit the eponymously-named Mountain Rescue Vehicle, purpose-built for the National Ski Patrol in the US. Fitted with adjustable Air Lift suspension pushing the MRV a full 14-inch off the ground, and custom 15-inch rims sitting beneath the bolt-on guards.

Bathed in a fluorescent glow-in-the-dark yellow, the MRV is also fitted with a good dozen or so flood lights. The usual off-road kit, it seems. Still, an unusual treatment to see on a Forester – despite its name. Excellent to see the latest Foz can play the part when needed.

Forester XT Gallery

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