The Subaru Forester STI Sport shows that the brand isn't giving up on sporty products, even if the performance-focused WRX STI is dead. This Japan-only special edition comes with a revised suspension and upgraded styling touches to create a more exciting crossover.
The major mechanical change for this edition of the Forester is the addition of STI-tuned dampers. It also gets a set of 18-inch wheels with a dark gray finish and 225/55 all-season tires.
The tweaked exterior has black accents for the fog light surrounds, bumper trim at both ends, and side sills. There are STI badges in the grille and on the hatchback. Buyers can order the body in Crystal White Pearl, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Ice Silver Metallic, and Crystal Black Silica
Inside, this edition gains two-tone upholstery with Nappa leather in Black and Bourdeaux red. An STI emblem is on the seat headrest. There's also red contrast stitching throughout the cabin. The instruments include STI branding on the tachometer and red accents for both gauges.
The Forester STI Sport exclusively comes with a 1.8-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder making 175 horsepower (130 kilowatts) and 221 pound-feet (300 Newton-meters) of torque. The only gearbox available is a CVT that sends power to an all-wheel-drive system.
The Forester STI Sport will go on sale in Japan later this summer. The company isn't announcing pricing for the special edition yet.
Subaru killed off the WRX STI because of rapidly changing emission regulations. While it was possible to build the model, the vehicle only would have been viable on the market for a brief period of time.
Instead, it seems like electrification is the future of performance at Subaru. At the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, the track-focused STI E-RA Concept debuted. The vehicle had an electric motor powering each wheel with a total output of 1,073 horsepower (800 kilowatts). A 60-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provided the energy for the powertrain. Subie said the goal was to go to the Nürburgring and turn a 6-minute-40 second lap, but that hasn't happened yet.
The Soltera STI debuted at the same show as a performance-focused version of the brand's electric crossover. So far, there are no signs of the production version. Although, Toyota is allegedly planning a sporty variant of the bZ4X, so we can't rule out Subaru having something like it, too.