Click either image for high-res shots of Subaru's two custom Foresters

Subaru's Forester has long been considered one of the few sporting 'utes, and the automaker is ready to build on that image with a new Forester XTI concept, set to debut at the SEMA Show. Those interested in outward appearances will note the "Atmospheric Re-Entry paint scheme" (their words, not ours), JDM body kit, lower front spoiler and mesh front grille. It's the underpinnings that get us really excited, though. Under the skin, the Forester XTI gets the full Subaru Technica International treatment from the firm's amazing WRX STI, including its 2.5-liter turbocharged and intercooled boxer four powerplant, mated to a six speed manual transmission and, of course, all-wheel-drive. A cat-back exhaust helps bump out to 315 hp and torque to 300 lb-ft, meaningful improvements over the stock engine's ratings of 300-horsepower and 290 lb-ft. We'd love to see this one make it to the showroom floor.

Accompanying the XTI at Subie's booth is the Mountain Rescue Vehicle, which was purpose-built for the National Ski Patrol, of which Subaru is the Official Vehicle. Custom touches include an adjustable Air Lift suspension that allows for a maximum of 14-inches of ground clearance. Under the wheel arches sit 30x9.5-in. Yokohama Geolandar MTS tires on custom 15-in. reversed near-zero offset steel wheels. Skid plates and a winch complete the off-road modifications and are accompanied by a bevy of lights and a near glow-in-the-dark hue. The drivetrain doesn't see any modifications, but the stock turbo-mill ought to be up to the task anyway.

Related GallerySEMA Preview: Custom Subaru Foresters

[Source: Subaru]


PRESS RELEASES:

SUBARU UNVEILS HIGH-PERFORMANCE FORESTER XTI CONCEPT

* 315-Horsepower Crossover with WRX® STI® Engine, 6-Speed Transmission
* DCCD All-Wheel Drive and Brembo Brakes from WRX STI
* Adjustable Coil-Over Suspension
* Custom Bodywork and Paint

Cherry Hill, N.J., October 31, 2008 – Subaru of America, Inc. today revealed the Forester® XTI Concept. It will be unveiled to the public at the 2008 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show, which runs at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 4-7. The Forester XTI Concept combines the versatility of the all-new Forester 2.5XT with the all-out street performance of the rally-bred Impreza® WRX STI.

All new for 2009, the Forester was named MOTOR TREND magazine's SUV of the Year. The magazine applauded the new Forester's combination of performance, utility, comfort, safety technology and value in giving it the award. MOTOR TREND editor Angus MacKenzie, citing the judges' unanimous decision, said, "The Subaru Forester is the SUV for our times." The new Forester XTI Concept is an SUV for 0-60 times, estimated to hit the mark in less than 5 seconds.

Practically Wicked

Can a vehicle be both wicked and practical? The Subaru Forester XTI answers with a roomy interior and a lot of turbo boost. The Forester XTI ultra-performance CUV inherits the full STI treatment, with parts developed by Subaru Tecnica International (STI), the high-performance and motorsports subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

The "Wicked" portion starts with the styling, which is set off by a custom Atmospheric "Re-Entry" paint scheme. The front lower spoiler and Sport Mesh Grille are from the Subaru Genuine Accessory catalog and are joined by a JDM body kit, including side skirts, a rear skirt and a gate spoiler.

Designed and built by Subaru of America technicians, the crew installed the engine and entire drivetrain from the Impreza WRX STI. In the Forester XTI, a custom stainless steel cat-back exhaust system from the Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) catalog helps to raise output of the 2.5-liter intercooled turbo engine to 315 hp (from 305 stock) and 300 lb.-ft. of torque (from 290 lb.-ft. stock). As in the WRX STI, power flows through a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and the Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) version of Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The DCCD system offers three selectable automatic performance modes in addition to six manual center differential-locking settings.

The 18 x 8-in. S204 forged alloy wheels are by STI and are wrapped in Yokohama Advan Neova 255/40R18 performance tires. The Forester XTI also features an adjustable coil-over suspension by STI. The powerful Brembo brakes come right from the stock WRX STI, with 4-piston front calipers, 2-piston rear calipers, Super Sport ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Inside, the Forester XTI features leather and Alcantara sport seats, a special instrument cluster, front dash and center console and leather-wrapped steering wheel.


Subaru Creates Ultimate Off-Road Forester with SEMA Mountain Rescue Vehicle

- Designed as an over-the-top First Responder Vehicle for Ski Areas - All-New Forester Named MOTOR TREND SUV of the Year for 2009

CHERRY HILL, N.J.-- Subaru of America, Inc. today revealed the Mountain Rescue Forester(R) Vehicle, built for the National Ski Patrol (NSP). It will debut at the 2008 Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Show that runs at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 4-7. Working with Subaru of America, Detroit-based Specialized Vehicles built the Mountain Rescue Forester Concept as the ultimate first responder vehicle, bolstering its trail-driving capability and equipping it with essential Ski Patrol rescue gear.

Based on the 2009 MOTOR TREND SUV of the Year Subaru Forester 2.5XT turbo crossover utility vehicle, the Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle is designed to help Ski Patrol crews conduct rescues in difficult terrain and weather conditions. The men and women of Ski Patrol risk their lives in the mountains, fighting avalanches, performing daring rescues and keeping unruly skiers and snowboarders from endangering others on the slopes.

Ready for Rescue Missions

Subaru and skiing have gone together since 1974, when skiers first discovered the all-weather traction of Subaru models with 4-wheel drive. In stock form, the 2009 Forester 2.5XT combines Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with 8.9 inches of ground clearance, more than other crossover SUVs, which are typically in the 6.5-7 in. range. The Forester Mountain Rescue Concept delivers more than 14 in. of ground clearance through an Air Lift custom adjustable ride height air suspension system. Added off-road and snow traction is provided by Yokohama Geolandar MTS 30 x 9.5-in. tires on special 15-in. Subaru custom-reversed near-zero offset steel wheels.

For extra protection on the trails, the Forester Mountain Rescue Concept is equipped with custom front and rear skid plates by DeeZee and custom Trail Armor by Bushwacker, including fender flares, lower door cladding, a rear gate guard and tail light guards. Skiers won't have trouble seeing the Forester Mountain Rescue Vehicle coming: an emergency light package, augmented by Subaru Genuine Accessory Baja Sport Activity Lights, ensures visibility from a distance and in all types of weather.

To illuminate a rescue site, the vehicle is equipped with roof mounted Visi Light LED spotlights - five in front and two in the rear - by Hamsar Diversco. Topping off the concept vehicle's distinctive styling, a DeeZee custom grille guard helps protect the Sport Mesh Grille from Subaru Genuine Accessories.

Once on the rescue site, the Ski Patrol crew can use an Ultimate Performance 9.5i Thermometric 9,500-lb. winch by WARN. Remote rear door openers and external quick-access utility compartments play a vital role when time is of the essence. Extra wide round crossbars help secure the Subaru Yakima ski carriers, which on this vehicle hold Nordica snow skis. A rescue toboggan from Cascade rounds out the rescue equipment.

Subaru is proud to be the official vehicle of the NSP, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado and dedicated to serving the public and the ski industry by providing education on emergency care and safety. Subaru has been the Official Vehicle of the NSP for many years and for good reason - Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, robust construction and durability make any Subaru ideally suited to tough winter conditions.