Subaru Australia has announced its performance-SUV, the Forester tS, will arrive in June with a pricetag of $54,990 (plus on-road costs), a $7000 premium over the Forester XT Premium that it is based upon.
However unlike its cosmetically identical Japanese-market counterpart, the Australian Subaru Forester tS doesn’t get any form of power upgrade and produces the same 177kW and 350Nm outputs as the Forester XT. In Japan, the Forester tS makes a more muscular 206kW and 350Nm from its turbo 2.0.
But while the engine doesn’t score any tweaks, the suspension, brakes and chassis do. The Forester’s frame is reinforced with STI strut tower bars, an STI rear subframe support and a set of STI “draw stiffeners”, while the springs are 15mm lower and matched with STI-tuned dampers.
Behind the front wheels live a set of four-piston Brembo brakes while the rear gets 2-piston Brembos, with Enkei 19-inch alloys fitted at each corner.
Cosmetic changes include a black front grille with STI badge, a “Cherry Red” stripe on the front grille and rear bumper, black mirror casings and roof spoiler, STI and tS badges on the tailgate and an STI front spoiler.
Inside the Forester tS you’ll find a black roof liner, red contrast stitching on the leather/suede upholstery (which also stretches to the door trims), STI branding on the instrument panel, seats, starter and steering wheel plus red rings around the ventilation controls.
All up, Subaru Australia says the additional equipment amounts to $12,000 of extra value over the Forester XT. According to the company, the tS is the only "true sports SUV" available in this market for under $80,000.
Broadly speaking the remainder of the Forester tS’ equipment levels match those of the Forester XT Premium, albeit minus that car’s panoramic glass sunroof.
Three colours will be offered but only 300 cars will be brought into the country, and many of those have already been spoken for. Since a local debut for the Forester tS was announced last year, “scores” of customers have already laid down deposits.
“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.
“It’s clear proof of the success of this clever joint development between the Subaru factory and the performance arm, Subaru Tecnica International.
“While the cars were built in the Subaru factory, they were transferred to STI for final completion and the addition of around 30 items.
“It certainly gives us great confidence in progressing other joint projects between the factory and STI.”