Around 2 years ago, Subaru gave the new-generation Forester the turbocharged engine it deserves in the form of the Forester Sport. But unlike its predecessor (the Forester XT) which came with a 2.0-liter turbo boxer that made an impressive 240 PS and 350 Nm of torque, the new Forester Sport only came with the smaller CA18 1.8-liter turbo flat-four derived from the all-new Levorg.
Sure, it makes 177 PS and 300 Nm of torque, but fans of the Forester XT may find the output figures of the CA18 less than impressive. However, Subaru and STI have just given the crossover some extra goodies that make it even more appealing than a regular Forester Sport.
Enter the 2023 Subaru Forester STI Sport. While it may seem like the automaker decided to just slap on some cosmetic bits and call it a day, it has some unique upgrades hidden away. For starters, it comes with Hitachi Astemo SFRD front dampers tuned by STI along with tuned rear dampers. Subaru claims that the suspension setup allows the Forester STI Sport to have sports sedan-like handling despite having a high center of gravity.
It gets a special exterior that starts with the red STI badges on the grille and tailgate. Other add-ons present on the Forester STI Sport include large 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhausts, and gloss black finish on the front skid plate, bumpers, side sills, side mirror caps, and rear spoiler.
Moving inside, the crossover greets passengers with Bordeaux and Nappa leather upholstery. It also comes with red contrast stitching on the steering wheel, dashboard, door panels, and even on the center console. As an extra touch, the instrument panel comes with STI Sport gauges that remind owners they are in something special.
Under the hood is the same 1.8-liter turbocharged flat-four. It doesn't receive any mechanical or software upgrades which means it still continues to produce 177 PS with 300 Nm of torque. Power is then transferred to all four wheels via a Lineartronic CVT and Symmetrical AWD system.
The official launch of the all-new Forester STI Sport is scheduled for August 25, 2022, in Japan. But will we actually get a turbocharged model of the Forester like before? Subaru's local distributor Motor Image Pilipinas is seemingly content with the regular 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated models complete with EyeSight, so the chances of the Forester Sport (or the Forester STI Sport) coming to the country are slim to none.
Still, at least Subaru has not yet totally given up on a turbocharged Forester. We just wish that Subaru actually brings them back to the Philippines, even in limited quantities.