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By Andrew Ganz

In most of its major markets, Subaru has long offered a performance-oriented version of its popular Forester, but its latest generation tops out at a relatively mild 224 horsepower and offers little emphasis on speed.

That’s set to change for some markets, Subaru says. In October, Subaru will take the wraps off of what the company is calling a “sporty SUV” at the Sydney Motor Show in Australia. A redesign isn’t likely to debut at the show given its small market compared to the major venues in the United States, Asia and Europe. But, if the speculations of an Australian newspaper are to be believed, an Impreza WRX in more practical clothing might be on the way.

Subaru briefly offered a 320-horsepower Forester STI in the Japanese market beginning in late 2005 and the company has toyed with the performance Forester concept using the latest generation car. Dubbed the Forester XTI (pictured), a modified current model Forester debuted at SEMA two years ago, boasting a 315-horsepower version of the Impreza WRX STI’s flat four, 18-inch alloy wheels, a six-speed manual transmission and a lowered and tightened suspension.

It remains to be seen just what Subaru has in mind for an Australian launch in October.



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Hotter Subaru Forester in the works?

by Jonathon Ramsey (RSS feed) on Sep 9th 2010 at 11:29AM

Scooby fans down under might get the first look at an STI version of the Subaru Forester meant for global markets. It's only speculation at this point, but Subaru has said it will bring a "sporty SUV," and the Sydney Morning Herald figures an additionally boosted Forester makes the most sense.

Regardless of whether such a beast would wear an STI badge – if it exists at all – the theory goes that it would get an STI-like jump in power above the turbocharged Forester currently on sale in Australia. The JDM version of the Forester STI, on sale for five years, puts down 322 horsepower – that's 26 more ponies than are available in the Aussie WRX STI.

The Forester is already the top-selling compact SUV in Australia. Right now the most powerful version is the 227-hp XT model, so a boost in gumption would place it incontestably above the 268-hp Toyota RAV4 and 235-hp Mazda CX-7. Subaru won't confirm anything else about what will be revealed, except that it could go worldwide.



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