All photos by Toyota
We spent a week driving the stylish 2013 Scion FR-S dressed in black with 17-inch alloy wheels, and what a great week it was! This car was a real looker on the road with a design that cars double or triple the price can’t touch! The high-performance coupe is the fifth model to join the Scion family and went on sale in mid-calendar year 2012. The FR-S, which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport, is Scion’s definition of an authentic rear wheel-drive sports car with exceptionally balanced performance and handling, compelling style, flexible utility and surprising fuel efficiency.
The fierce exterior of the FR-S is a solid reflection of its inner power. The profile, inspired by the Toyota 2000GT, reveals a hood and roof-line that is remarkably sleek and low, giving it an aerodynamic shape that channels air cleanly over to the top. The low stance continues to exaggerate the coupe’s menacing face, which is made up of sharp lines, a wide lower intake and angular headlights that house the projector-beam halogen lamps. The aggressive front fenders protrude upward and boast the iconic ‘86’ piston emblem, which highlights the car’s AE86 heritage as well as its unique new boxer engine. The rear fascia sits low and wide, with aerodynamic lower treatments that surround the sporty dual exhaust system. LEDs illuminate the edgy taillights, while center-mounted backup lights finish the muscular design. Scion really hit a homerun with the exterior of the 2013 Scion FR-S from all angles.
The FR-S’s interior includes a 2+2 seating configuration that is designed with form and function in mind. The comfortable yet assertive front seats feature deep bolsters and are mounted extremely low, while the rear seat folds down flat, creating flexible space. It also comes standard with unique FR-S badged floor mats. The front seats could be somewhat wider for larger adults but will work fine for the majority of drivers.
The large center-mounted tachometer is the focus of the three-gauge cluster and features a programmable shift-indicator, which has a small but intense indicator that lights up when redline is reached. The driver can set the warning to go off in 100-rpm increments, starting at 2,000 rpm. A chime can be programmed to sound when redline is approached. Speed is monitored by both digital and analog gauges.
The FR-S also features a performance-oriented, 365-millimeter diameter, leather-trimmed steering wheel that has both tilt and telescopic adjustment. The soft-skin dash top has a “flat horizon” design, influenced by the simple purity of the Toyota 2000GT dash. At the center of the dash top is a raised rib, which functions as a “centerline” that reflects at the base of the windshield, helping a skilled performance driver intuitively find the center of the car. The FR-S comes standard with an eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/USB 300-watt maximum output Pioneer audio system. Standard features also include HD Radio technology and Bluetooth connectivity that allows both hands-free phone connection as well as streaming audio capability. The FR-S is the first Scion to offer a connected multimedia audio system called BeSpoke, powered by Pioneer’s Zypr. When connected to an iPhone, Scion’s BeSpoke system delivers a higher level of connectivity features and personalized content like Facebook, Twitter and Internet radio, among others.
The FR-S is a true “scion,” born into a lengthy history of Toyota performance cars and motorsports. During planning and development, it was most inspired by the AE86 generation of the Corolla, better known as the Hachi-Roku, meaning “8-6” in Japanese. The AE86 was a front-engine, rear wheel-drive coupe that was lightweight and well balanced, making it a solid choice for driving enthusiasts. Inspired by the AE86, the FR-S is designed around the core goal of achieving “Pure Balance,” which begins with the strategic use of the world’s only flat boxer engine in a front-engine, rear wheel- drive configuration. The engine’s compact size and flat shape allow it to be mounted mid-ship and extremely low, giving the car a dynamically favorable front-to-rear weight ratio of 53:47 and a low center of gravity comparable to some exotic supercars.
The FR-S’s 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine is the result of a joint development between Toyota and Subaru. The partnership begins by combining Subaru’s newly developed, horizontally opposed engine and Toyota’s cutting-edge D-4S injection system which incorporates both direct and port injection for each cylinder, one injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber, the other a port injector located above the intake valves. Adopted from the Lexus IS F, D-4S injection is a new technology for the Scion family. The D-4S system uses the direct injectors at all engine speeds. Both the direct and port injectors are used at certain engine speeds and under certain engine loads to help fill out mid-range torque. The D-4S is also a key technology that reduces vehicle emissions. FR-S heads utilize dual variable valve timing, making adjustments to the intake- and exhaust-cam timing to help optimize power, torque, and fuel mileage. The D-4S system, partnered with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, results in an impressive 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque.Despite the engine’s powerful 100-horsepower per liter, the FR-S has EPA-estimated ratings of 34 mpg on the highway when paired with the automatic transmission, and EPA-estimated 30 mpg with the manual transmission. Our test model was a 6-speed manual that provided quick, precise shifts with a short-throw. The idea of “Pure Balance” is further realized by the FR-S’s lightweight design and compact size, a combination that allows it to be quick and nimble into and out of corners, with dynamic maneuverability and confident handling. The coupe weighs in at an impressive 2,758 pounds when equipped with a manual transmission and 2,806 when equipped with an automatic. The FR-S is kept to a minimum weight by utilizing an aluminum hood, a solid roof, and by featuring a trunk design instead of a hatchback.
This is a Scion like no other! The FR-S provides the automotive landscape with an authentic sports car at an affordable price, with a MSRP of $24,200 when equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, and $25,300 when equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission that features paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management technology. It’s hard to believe what Scion is offering in the FR-S until you see this car for yourself. There was a time when you would have to break the bank to drive a car with the styling of the 2013 Scion FR-S, but not anymore, and that’s good a thing for car buyers in today’s market.
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