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Subaru has revealed its new performance SUV. Teased last month wearing the trademark pink STI badge, this is the brand new Forester tS.

It’s described as STI-enhanced rather than a fully-fledged STI model, tS in fact being shorthand for ‘tuned by STI’. A bit like M Division’s watered down stuff, but then the M135i is a belter, so that’s not necessarily criticism.

As a result its engine stays the same, save for a small ECU tweak to boost its responses a little. In the Japanese market - the only place the Forester tS will be sold officially - that means 250bhp from a turbocharged 2-litre flat-four petrol engine.

And, rather unfortunately, Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT transmission. That means only two pedals but a whole lot of droning as the car simulates an automatic gearbox without the use of any actual gears. Ho hum.

More exciting are the mechanical upgrades. The ride is lower, the front suspension strengthened and a Brembo brake package much more performance-minded than before. There’s also extra cooling for the transmission oil, not something an SUV typically cries out for.

Those beefier brakes sit behind some quite excellent 19-inch BBS alloy wheels, while there’s a subtly tasteful bodykit and a smattering of STI badges. We’d screwdriver them off for the full Q-car effect, though.

Just 300 will be built, and sold for the yen equivalent of £24,000. A stonking bargain when you consider a standard petrol Forester costs £31,000 in the UK. If you can find a friendly importer, that car could be gaining an unlikely in-house rival.

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