The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Subaru Showcases Tuners at 2008 SEMA Show

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

LAS VEGAS, November 4, 2008: Subaru of America, Inc. is showcasing high-performance concepts, along with a group of specialty tuner and race vehicles at the 2008 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center Nov. 4-7. Among the vehicles spotlighted in the Subaru SEMA display are a 2009 Forester XTI and the WRX STI featured in the upcoming "Fast and Furious 4" film.

Subaru upped the ante in the street performance arena for 2009 with a thoroughly revised 265 horsepower Impreza WRX. This year's WRX, in 4-door or 5-door models, hits the tarmac with more boost, power and a fully retuned suspension. On display at the SEMA Show this year is a new WRX upfitted with SPT parts, 18-inch wheels and a radical paint scheme.

The Forester XTI Concept combines the versatility of the all-new Forester 2.5XT with the all-out performance of the Impreza WRX STI. Forester was recently named MOTOR TREND magazine's Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year for 2009.

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." In other award news, the Subaru 2.5-liter turbo Boxer engine -- variations of which power Impreza, Forester, Legacy and Outback models -- was named "International Engine of the Year" by a global panel of 65 judges.

Following is a rundown of the Subaru specialty vehicles for the 2008 SEMA Show:

2009 Forester XTI Concept

Can a vehicle be both wicked and practical? The Subaru Forester XTI answers with a roomy interior and a lot of turbo boost. This concept for an ultra-performance crossover utility vehicle inherits the full STI treatment. STI (Subaru Tecnica International), the high-performance and motorsports subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., excels at designing race and street cars and the XTI concept blends both.

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

Built by Subaru of America technicians, the crew started with the engine and entire drivetrain from the WRX STI. In the Forester XTI, a custom stainless steel cat-back exhaust by Subaru Performance Tuning (SPT) helps to raise output of the 2.5-liter intercooled turbo engine to an estimated 315 hp (from 305 stock) and an estimated 300 lb.-ft. of torque (from 290 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 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 Concept also features the powerful Brembo brakes from the WRX STI, with 4-piston front calipers and 2-piston rear calipers, along with Super Sport ABS and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). Inside, the STI treatment adds leather and Alcantara sport seats, a special instrument cluster, front dash and center console and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

"Fast & Furious 4" WRX STI

Coming in June 2009, the debut of "Fast & Furious 4" features a muscled up Subaru WRX STI in the thick of the action. In this fourth installment of the successful film series, lead character Brian O'Connor (played by Paul Walker) is released from prison and helps the Feds bring down a heroin ring. His ride? A very special WRX STI patterned after the World Rally Car Concept.

A Vellside body kit and hood give the WRX STI a sinister look, reinforced by custom black and silver paint with red pin striping by Jack's Auto Body. Eukei NT03+M wheels mount 285/40 R18 Continental Sport Contact 2 tires.

The movie car features a mostly stock factory powertrain, with a Perrin intake, Cobb Tuning ignition and 3-in. Cobb exhaust to unleash a few more horses from the 2.5-liter turbocharged / intercooled Boxer engine. A twin-plate clutch and Vellside shifter reinforce the drivetrain, which retains the stock DCCD Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system.

The Fast & Furious interior gets a rally look and feel with Vellside seats and steering wheel, a custom rollcage and Takata seatbelts. The movie arrives in theaters June 12. The bad guys don't stand a chance.

2009 Forester Mountain Rescue Concept

Subaru is the Official Vehicle of the National Ski Patrol for good reason -- Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, robust construction and durability make any Subaru ideally suited to tough winter conditions. Working with Subaru of America and the National Ski Patrol, Detroit-based Specialized Vehicles built a special Forester as the ultimate first responder. Based on the award-winning Forester 2.5XT turbo crossover utility vehicle, the Forester Mountain Rescue Concept is designed to help crews conduct rescues in difficult terrain and weather conditions.

In stock form, the 2009 Forester 2.5XT starts off with nearly 9 inches of ground clearance -- more than other crossovers and SUVs. But rescue crews often need more, and this vehicle boasts more than 14-in. of ground clearance via a custom adjustable ride height air suspension system by Air Lift. Additional off-road and snow traction is provided by Yokohama Geolander MTS 30 x 9.5-in. tires on special 15-in. Subaru custom-reversed near-zero offset steel wheels.

Additional trail protection comes from custom front and rear skid plates by DeeZee and custom Trail Armor by Bushwacker, including fender flares, lower door cladding and, a rear gate guard and tail light guards.

You 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 for long distances and in difficult weather. To illuminate a rescue location, the vehicle is equipped with roof mounted Visi Light LED spotlights -- five in front and two in the rear -- by Hamsar Diversco.

Once on the rescue site, the 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 equipment. Topping off the distinctive styling, a DeeZee custom grille guard helps protect the Sport Mesh Grille from Subaru Genuine Accessories.

2009 Impreza WRX 5-door SPT

How far can you take an Impreza WRX using parts from the Subaru Genuine Accessory and SPT catalogs? Pretty far, it turns out. Subaru mined both catalogs to come up with a combination of performance, styling and user technology that any enthusiast could easily duplicate -- all at once or by adding parts over time. The resulting car makes a unique performance and design statement while remaining true to the WRX's everyday drivability character and value.

The 2009 Impreza WRX already comes with a standard factory Aero Body Kit, so external mods were limited to a front lip spoiler by STI and Subaru genuine Accessory fog light protectors.

The more hunkered-down stance is courtesy of STI performance springs and Botticelli III 19x8-in. wheels by OZ Racing. A lower chassis brace and strut tower brace from the SPT catalog round out the chassis mods.

Subaru boosted the WRX's 2.5-liter intercooled turbo Boxer engine to 265 hp 244 lb.-ft. for 2009; this special WRX raises that to 275 hp and 250 lb.-ft. with a SPT cat-back exhaust. The driver can make the most of the power with the help of an STI short-throw shifter. The under-hood area gets a visual boost with an SPT oil cap, turbo heat shield and battery hold-down.

2009 Impreza WRX by AEM

Californian enthusiasts take their surfing and snowboarding as seriously as their souped-up Subarus. Noted Subaru tuner AEM has cooked up a tarmac monster based on the 2009 WRX to get them to the beach in the morning and mountains in the afternoon -- and in a hurry thanks to a turbo Boxer engine that delivered 449 horsepower and 411 lb.-ft. of torque on the dyno. The custom snowboard carrier by Subaru Yakima and surfboard carrier from Yakima carry an equally custom snowboard by Revolution and a surfboard from Hori Boards. A Revolution skateboard is thrown in for good measure.

Under hood, it's a smorgasbord of power parts from AEM, SPT, STI and other notable suppliers. The complete power makeover includes a Garrett GT3582R turbo with V44 wastegate and 50-mm blow-off valve from Tial Sport, Deatschwerks 850-cc injectors, and a programmable engine management system and water injection system from AEM. Playing vital supporting roles are the stock, reversed intake manifold, a front-mount intercooler kit and air/oil separator from Harman Motive, AEM Dryflow air filter and sensors and an in-tank Walbro fuel pump. Various dress-up parts from SPT and STI complete the engine package, and an SPT cat-back exhaust gives this car its signature snarl.

The chassis is thoroughly beefed up with SPT and STI parts, highlighted by an adjustable coil-over suspension from STI. Volk Racing GTV 18-in. wheels carry Toyo Proxes tires, and the car sports a 330-mm Prodrive front brake conversion.

The AEM WRX interior deftly blends racing seats and safety components from Sparco and high-power Clarion audio installation by Creative Car Audio & Motorsports. Mobworks sprayed the custom flat white pearl paint, and Sticky Fingers provided custom decals.

Subaru SRRT Legacy spec.B Koni Challenge

The Subaru Legacy 2.5GT spec.B is the perfect platform for the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Race, as the Subaru Road Racing Team (SRRT) has shown. Prepared by ICY/Phoenix Racing, the Legacy spec.B shows how easily this sedan with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive adapts to track duty. Its stock 2.5-liter turbo Boxer engine makes 250 hp and 250 lb.-ft. of torque with the factory exhaust (catalyst removed). The driveline is beefed up with Carbonetic front and rear differentials and a custom transmission cooler.

The chassis is race-prepped using JRZ 3-way coil-over adjustable shocks, an STI strut tower bar, and rear camber links and a 25-mm rear stabilizer bar from Perrin. Brakes are factory with Hawk pads. The racing seats and steering wheel are from Sabelt.

Crawford Performance Unlimited Class Time Attack WRX STI

As Time Attack popularity grows, the Subaru WRX STI stands out as an ideal competitor. Crawford Performance has built a Time Attack monster powered by a specially built 500-hp turbo Boxer engine with an equally amazing 500 lb.-ft. of torque. It's based on a Billet SR6 2.65-liter Subaru race motor with a full complement of performance parts from Crawford, including the cylinder heads and CP35R turbo kit. Feeding the beast are 800-cc injectors and a cold air intake from Crawford, with engine management by MoTeC (tuned by Crawford). The engine exhales through a Crawford race exhaust.

The chassis is prepped with Super Racing coilovers and springs from TEIN, along with Crawford rear lateral links. Brembo Gran Turismo brakes replace the stock units. The Crawford STI claws its way around the track on Hankook tires mounted to 18-in. Volk Racing wheels.

Subaru Rally Team USA Open Class Rally Car

Subaru enthusiasts appreciate the value of the brand's rally heritage in the current WRX and WRX STI models. This season marks the debut of the all-new 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STI rally car in the Rally America National Championship. Subaru Rally Team USA runs two Open Class WRX STI rally cars, with drivers Travis Pastrana (#199) and Ken Block (#43).

Several elements of the second-generation WRX STI make it an ideal base for a rally car: a longer wheelbase for improved straight-line movement, a wider track for increased maneuverability, and double wishbone rear suspension for better road holding capabilities. The team's technical partner, Vermont SportsCar, begins with a stock Subaru Impreza WRX STI. The car's interior is then stripped bare and the shell lightened and then fully seam-welded for added strength. A multipoint roll cage, manufactured from T45 steel, is welded into place.

Racing equipment includes a competition fuel cell and lightweight carbon/Kevlar RECARO SPA ProRacer competition seats with the Head and Neck Restraint System (HANS). Other interior additions include a custom STI dashboard, carbon fiber door panels, a Coralba C-Giant rally odometer, and an onboard fire suppression system.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled STI Boxer engine produces 303 horsepower, just two under the stock WRX STI, and 451 lb.-ft. of peak torque, about 50 percent more than the street car. Launch control, a turbo anti-lag system and a hydraulic handbrake are just a few of the rally-specific tools at the driver's disposal. The stock dampers are swapped out for heavy-duty adjustable rally dampers made by exe-tc competition suspension.

A 5-speed, close-ratio dog-engagement gearbox allows the driver to shift without using the clutch. The DCCD (Driver Controlled Center Differential) is used in a similar way to a stock WRX STI, but with a competition ECU that allows for greater control of the torque delivery among all four wheels. The exterior of the car remains close to stock, with the simple addition of mud flaps and a 1/4-inch aluminum skid plate. A roof-mounted air scoop provides cooling air to the driver and navigator.

2009 Subaru Legacy 3.0R Limited by harmon-kardon(R)

Most 2009 Subaru Legacy and Outback models are standard-equipped with a premium audio system from harmon-kardon. For the SEMA Show, the audio brand put together a very special Legacy that showcases some of its best amplifiers, as well as speakers from sister brand JBL.

The exterior gets a thorough makeover using JDM front fascia, fenders and hood, along with JDM HID projector beam headlights. The 18 x 7.5-in. STI wheels carry Yokohama Neova tires. Inside, custom brushed aluminum trim bezels for the speakers highlight the elegant Legacy interior styling.

A performance exhaust system by SPT adds some more bark to the bite of the stock 245-hp 3.0-liter 6-cylinder Boxer engine. A coil-over suspension by STI sharpens the car's back road moves, and STI brake components enhance stopping power.