The Subaru Forester TS has only previously been sold in Japan, and features more aggressive interior and exterior styling, including STi badging, as well as reworked suspension with STi sport springs and shock absorbers. It is powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine that produces 259bhp and 256lb ft of torque.
A company insider told Autocar that Subaru was looking to leverage it's STi brand more assertively, and that the decision to offer the Forester TS in Russia was a test of the market ahead of launching more products.
"Russia is the perfect market to trial sales of a more aggressive Forester," said the insider. "but it's clear that STi's abilities and experience could work on other cars in other markets. Confining them to WRX projects doesn't make sense when the demand is there."