It’s a name that is worshipped by Subaru fans as well as devotees to the World Rally Championship.
Any STI-fettled machine is a road “weapon” to be reckoned with, and there is arguably no better range of performance cars when it comes to the proverbial “bang-for-your-buck” quotient.
Think STI and the WRX instantly comes to mind. The WRX STI has been winning races all over the world, and here in Singapore, it still is one of the more potent cars in the racing scene.
However, there is another STI on our roads that only a lucky few owners have had the pleasure (and good fortune) of possessing. It’s the rare Subaru Forester STI, and there are less than five plying our streets.
This limited production all-wheel-drive SUV is filled with STI goodies as standard. But a serious STI aficionado like Sean Chia, the owner of the car you see here, is never going to leave his ride fully stock standard.
He felt that the standard six-speed manual felt great, slick and precise, and the original STI bodykit was distinctive enough. But the signature offbeat burble of the flat-four was muted.
So, in went a HKS Silent Hi Power Exhaust system. Why it is named “Silent”, I have no idea. Even at idle, the exhaust note is fairly loud. Step hard on the gas and the note hardens immediately and reaches a gorgeous crescendo.
Simultaneously, this car will pull harder than a standard Forester STI. This is attributed to the HKS EVC Boost Controller, which allows a higher boost setting to be selected, and the APS Cold Air Intake, which feeds the engine with dollops of force-fed, oxygen-rich air.
Riding on gunmetal Volk Racing Limited Edition RE30 alloy wheels shod with Bridgestone high-performance street rubbers – and a souped-up undercarriage featuring Tein coilovers and Carbing strut bars, handling and grip – is phenomenal by car standards, let alone an SUV. This car hugs the tarmac regardless of the cornering speed, and body roll is kept to a minimum.
With the performance part of the equation settled, Chia, an avid music fan, wanted a decent hi-fi set-up that plays “loud and proud”. And after listening to his customised jig, installed by the ICE gurus at New Generation Auto Sound Enterprise, I must say that it rocks!
Headlining this three-way set-up is the Pioneer CD tuner and pre-amp combo, designed to filter and sweeten all source outputs to the three amps residing in the boot before sending them out to the “pieces” de resistance – the DLS speakers comprising the components and mids up front and the 12-inch sub in the rear.
The A-pillar mounted tweeters and 3.5-inch mids are perfectly placed for optimal imaging, ably supported by the larger and punchier 6.5-inch mids in the doors. Vocals are a strong point, while bass is great – tight and punchy, even when the notes go super-low.
Chia is one lucky dude – he really does have the best of both worlds in his Forester STI.
If he feels like grooving to the beat on his drive home, all he has to do is pop in a CD or tune in to his fav radio station. Or he can just wind down the window, put pedal to the metal, and listen to the soulful beat of his turbocharged boxer 4-pot engine.
> Casco diffuser
> HKS EVC boost controller
> Samco turbo inlet
> HKS Silent Hi Power exhaust
> APS cold air intake
> Carbing front & rear strut bars
> Tein Super Wagon coilovers
> Volk Racing RE30 18-inch limited-edition alloy wheels
> Bridgestone Potenza RE030 225/45 R18 Tyres
> DEFI water & oil temp, turbo
+ Head Unit
> Pioneer DEX-P90RS Component Reference CD tuner
> Pioneer DEQ-P90 Universal Digital pre-amp/equaliser
> MCINTOSH MCC406M 6-channel amplifier
> BRAX X2000.2 2-channel amplifier
> DLS Reference RA25 2-channel amplifier
> DLS Ultimate Nobelium 12 12-inch subwoofer
> DLS Nobelium 6.2 component speaker system
> DLS Ultimate Iridium 3 Mids