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Now this is what we would call a proper performance SUV. Subaru, or rather Subaru Tecnica International (STI), has just unveiled the Forester tS. Now before we can announce we have a legitimate reason to buy a SUV, let it be known that the Subaru Forester tS is only available for the Japanese domestic market (JDM).

Set to go on sale at Subaru dealerships in Nippon-land on November 25, the limited edition Forester tS will only be available in a total production run of 300 units. Looking very much like a Forester on steroids, it features a bold, blackened grille complete with STI badging and signature cherry red striping.

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Further aesthetic enhancements include silver highlights around the fog light surrounds and a redesigned rear bumper. A black roof spoiler, door mirrors and window frames further provide a tasteful contrast. Wheels are BBS-sourced, 19-inch forged aluminium wheels wrapped in 245/45 Bridgestone Turanza ER33 tyres.

A turbocharged, 2.0 litre flat-four with a custom engine control unit (ECU) by STI ensures a healthy output of 280 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Transferring all that power is a Lineartronic CVT transmission with an exclusively-tuned transmission control unit (TCU) to Subaru’s trademark all-wheel drive system.

Retardation comes courtesy of STI-badged four-pot calipers in front and two-pot calipers at the rear, clamping on ventilated discs at all four corners. The suspension layout is an inverted-strut format with a 15 mm reduction in height. A tower bar and draw stiffeners – front and back – increases chassis rigidity.

Stepping inside, one is greeted by a set of sport seats which feature a combination of leather and Ultrasuede. A new instrument cluster along with a redesigned multifunction display and STI-themed gear knob are presented. An STI-specific steering wheel, ignition button and side sills complete the upgrades inside.

Additional safety measures include Subaru’s EyeSight technology which packs adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and an autonomous braking system via cameras mounted in the rear-view mirror. A retuned vehicle dynamics control (VDC) system further expands the Forester’s safety net.

The Subaru Forester tS is available in four colours – WR Blue Mica, Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic and Crystal Black Silica. It costs 4,350,000 yen (RM123,792.67) and is available for order up until April 5 2015 for all colours except WR Blue Mica, which has to be ordered prior to February 8 2015.