Subaru has introduced an even faster version of their Forester sports utility vehicle – the 211 PS turbocharged Forester 2.5 XT.

The new Forester flagship will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show on 23 September, and will be available from this autumn at £24,695 on-the-road.

The new 2.5 litre version of the Forester has a top speed increased from 125 mph to 140 mph, while the 0-60 mph time drops from 7.9 seconds to just 6.0 seconds.

Mid-range torque is also greatly enhanced with peak pulling power now being 236 lb/ft instead of 180 lb/ft. As a result, the braked towing limit has been raised to a full 2,000 kg.

As a further attraction for the towing fraternity the Forester’s high and low-ratio gearbox is carried over as is the rear limited-slip differential, full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive and self-levelling rear suspension.

Modifications to enlarge the horizontally-opposed four cylinder 2.0 litre ‘boxer’ engine to 2.5 litres are extensive. They include using a semi-closed deck cylinder block for strength and smoothness, strengthened pistons and connecting rods, sodium-filled hollow exhaust valves to improve cooling and hollow camshafts for lightness and efficiency.  Like the new Legacy, the Forester 2.5 XT uses a sintered steel journal cast cylinder block to reduce Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH).  Both the bore and stroke are enlarged compared to the 2.0 litre unit – now standing at 99.5 x 79 mm instead of 92 x 75 mm.

Power is now 211 PS (208 bhp) at the same 5,600 rpm as the 2.0 XT while the torque of 236 lb/ft is produced at 3,600 rpm instead of at 3,200 rpm.

Other changes include new 12-spoke alloy wheels, new exterior colours, aluminium door kick-plates, a new smaller diameter MOMO steering wheel, silver-rimmed instruments, steering-wheel mounted radio controls and new deeply sculptured sports front seats.

In addition, the new Forester 2.5 XT – which is only offered as a manual – benefits from black leather interior trim, satellite navigation and a new seven-speaker audio system with six-stacker CD player.

Meanwhile, the existing 177 PS 2.0 XT manual and automatic continue for 2005 with the additional benefits of an audio speaker upgrade with six-stacker CD unit, new alloy wheels, new air-conditioning controls and smaller steering wheels.

Upgrades for the naturally-aspirated 125 PS 2.0 models include new cloth trim and seven-speaker/six-stacker CD system for the ‘All-Weather-Pack’ model.

The ’05 Forester range starts at £16,445 OTR for the 2.0 X with the 2.0 X ‘All-Weather-Pack’ costing £18,745 OTR. The Forester 2.0 XT is available from £20,995 OTR for the manual, cloth-trimmed model.