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The Subaru XV STI Performance Edition has just made its regional debut here in Malaysia – specifically at exclusive distributor Motor Image’s brand new Subaru 3S Centre in Petaling Jaya. The crossover, now done up with look-faster STI parts, retails for RM143,800 before insurance.

It’s essentially a bodykit package for the Subaru XV, but don’t anyone dare call it a mere dress-up job in front of STI officials. The hallowed tuning firm insists that the STI Performance package isn’t just a simple aerokit, but finely honed add-ons that bring about both aesthetic and dynamic enhancements over the base vehicle.

The original Subaru Tecnica International (STI) parts boast proper functionality, which have been developed and checked by the wind tunnel and STI test engineers. There’s substance behind the style, apparently.

An all-around bodykit and a rear spoiler mark out the XV STI Performance – each with prominent STI branding, of course. The aero bits are said to reduce front and rear lift by 50%, with enhanced aerodynamic balance, no less. The STI Performance badges are not quite as functional, but you’d want them anyway.

Hidden under the hood is STI’s Flexible Tower Brace. More than a conventional rigid brace, this one has ball joints in the middle for added body control, improving handling response time by as much as 30%.

Also part of the package are LED daytime running lights, and a few new touches to the interior, such as chrome climate control dials and matte silver steering wheel inserts and side panels.

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Other than that, there are no mechanical changes. The Segambut-assembled Subaru XV is powered by a FB-series 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated boxer engine with 150 PS at 6,200 rpm and 196 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. Drive goes to all wheels through an Active Torque Split AWD system and a Lineartronic CVT with six virtual ratios.

The XV’s equipment list includes Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), cruise control, reverse sensor, steering wheel shift paddles, dual front and driver’s knee airbags (enough for a five-star ASEAN NCAP safety rating), automatic air-con and a two-DIN touch-screen AV system with remote that brings together DVD, USB, iPod, Bluetooth and GPS, among other things.

Even without the STI Performance package, the Subaru XV is quite a capable crossover, as we found out last year. Do read our review of the standard model for more info.