The all-new 2013 Scion FR-S is a performance dynamo – a tantalizing, perfectly balanced, lightweight and powerful rear-wheel drive sports coupe. After driving the FR-S, which has an MSRP that starts under $25,000, Car and Driver noted, “now appears to be a very good time to be an enthusiast with a relatively thin wallet.”
The Scion FR-S (Front-engine, Rear-wheel-drive, Sport) takes much inspiration from its sporting Toyota forebears – the legendary 2000GT of the 1960s and the AE86 Corolla of the mid-1980s. With the Scion FR-S (MSRP $24,930), Toyota engineers wanted to combine the unparalleled handling prowess of the AE86 and the gorgeous visual appeal of the 2000GT. They succeeded, and the result is an eye-catching, four-passenger modern sports coupe weighing a svelte 2,800 pounds, with favorable 53/47 weight distribution for scalpel-like precision in any corner.
An integral part of giving the FR-S its superior handing characteristics comes from the unique drivetrain – the world’s only 2.0-liter, horizontally-opposed (“boxer”) flat-four cylinder motor in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. This innovative engine features the Toyota D-4S port and direct injection system along with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio to generate a muscular 200 hp and 151 lb/ft of torque. Not only does this low-slung engine share the same design characteristics as the legendary Porsche Cayman and Boxster – cars that cost more than double the FR-S – it also helps this exhilarating new Scion return a six-second zero-to-60 time.
Shifting duties are handled either by a short-throw six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic with paddle shifters that rev-match on downshifts. To maximize rear-wheel traction, every FR-S comes standard with a Torsen limited-slip differential. The editors at Car and Driver
wrote, “The manual shifts with a solid, no-nonsense feel. This is a great gearbox.” They were equally impressed with the automatic in the FR-S: “The optional automatic with paddle shifters is a responsive and quick-shifting ally. On the track, the automatic proved clever enough to perform downshifts before entering a corner.”
By shedding every ounce of unnecessary weight through the use of an aluminum hood and a solid roof and trunk (instead of a heavier hatchback), Toyota engineers helped enhance the nimble, agile feel of the FR-S. Because of its exceptionally low center of gravity, light weight and RWD architecture, the Scion FR-S has remarkable handling characteristics. Quite simply, for the money, you won’t find a sports coupe that will handle with more athleticism than the FR-S.
Unlike most sports cars, the FR-S is designed with fuel efficiency in mind. Its innovative D-4S injection system and high compression ratio balance power and fuel efficiency, and the FR-S also sports an aerodynamic body with a 0.27 coefficient of drag (Cd) – within 0.02 Cd of the Toyota Prius (0.25), one of the most fuel efficient cars on the road today.
The Scion FR-S interior is refreshingly simple. There are no complex interfaces, confusing buttons or other disorienting controls. The FR-S welcomes you in with every single control exactly where it should be. It literally takes you less than 30 seconds to orient yourself, which is good, because sitting idle for 30 seconds in the FR-S is simply too long.
The FR-S interior looks as sporting as it drives, taking subtle little design cues from its $400,000 supercar sibling, the Lexus LFA. Boasting red stitching across the door panels, the leather upholstered shifter and steering wheel and the perfectly bolstered cloth sport seats, the FR-S has the most visually appealing interior of any sports coupe in its class. In a nod to its 600-hp FR-S race car sibling, the FR-S has a center-mounted tachometer with an inset digital speedometer – a feature non-existent in other sport coupes in the FR-S price range.
The 2013 Scion FR-S is about balance. Balance in agility, power, fuel efficiency, space and design. With its affordable pricing, it also helps keep your checkbook balanced. Heard enough? Stop in for a closer look at one of the most anticipated new sports cars of the decade.