Revised Scion FR-S Will Bring More Power
Toyota is gearing up to give the Scion FR-S a mid-cycle refresh next year, and rumors have it the car will come with brand new styling updates, improved suspension components, and, much to the chagrin of enthusiasts everywhere, a ridiculously modest power increase.
Citing an unidentified company insider, Aussie publication Motoring says the 2.0-liter flat-four powerplant will receive just minor mechanical improvements: "Engineers have focused on friction reduction engineering and a more efficient intake manifold design that will boost power and torque by around five percent, while improving fuel efficiency by up to seven percent," the source is quoted.
That means the Subaru-derived boxer engine will get nudged up to 210 horsepower from its original 200 horsepower. Not much, but certainly a step in the right direction. I guess.
Aesthetically, the car’s exterior will get a new front end consisting of a restyled hood, headlights, bumper and enlarged lower grille. In the back will be a new bumper, diffuser, and twin exhaust outlets that are moved further toward the corners of the car.
And while few have complained about the FR-S’ handling capabilities, Motoring’s insider says the new car will come with “extensive chassis tuning feedback” from GRMN (Gazoo Racing tuned by Meister of Nurburgring), Toyota’s motorsports partner and in-house go-faster division. New Sachs dampers are expected to make the list of standard equipment, improving ride quality while maintaining the car’s highly praised cornering balance. The rear suspension subframe will also get reinforced for a stiffer tail.
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Why it matters
In the last few months, we’ve heard plenty of reports that the FR-S/BRZ isn’t selling as well as it did at launch. Now, there are a million different things you could attribute to the slump, but at the end of the day, this mid-cycle refresh couldn’t come soon enough. Whether or not it’ll turns things around for the little two-door remains to be seen, but it’s certain the above-listed updates won’t hurt when it comes to moving units.
Most people would have preferred to see horsepower get more than a lousy five percent increase, but in all honesty, I don’t think throwing on an extra 50 ponies would help bolster sales all that much.
Of course, most people would have preferred to see horsepower get more than a lousy five percent increase, but in all honesty, I don’t think throwing on an extra 50 ponies would help bolster sales all that much. From the off, it’s been clear this car is all about attacking a corner, and I’d bet more than a few of my TopSpeed bucks that those individuals thinking about purchasing one don’t really care about outrunning the neighbor’s Mustang at the local drag strip. Still, if there’s one thing this car is lacking, it’s power, but thankfully, more straight-line performance is easily had from a quick dip into the aftermarket, where support for the 2.0-liter four is strong. If only that supercharger kit came with a warranty…
The mention of GRMN is nice to see. It just goes back to this car’s unyielding focus on providing the driver with the highest levels of feeling and connectedness when slinging through the turns. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the special edition BRZ TS Tuned By STI, which saw its suspension refined to even greater levels of polish, while the engine got nothing more than a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust.
When it comes to the visual changes, Motoring says the updates are in line with something called “under-priority,” wherein the “intention is to inject newness and aggression by putting more emphasis on the lower section of the car’s nose, as evidenced in recent times by Toyota’s Japanese-market Crown facelift.”
“Look to some major body panel redesign,” says Motoring’s source. “It won’t be too radical because the 86 [aka FR-S in the U.S.] is made on the same assembly line as the Subaru BRZ, so the restyling process must be carried out within set parameters.”
Speaking of the Suby, expect new aesthetic tweaks for the BRZ as well. Details so far are spotty at best, but the source says we can look to the VIZIV crossover concept for possible styling cues.
First rolling off the production line in 2012, the FR-S is part of a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru to offer a lightweight, sport compact coupe capable of delivering superior front-engine, RWD handling at an affordable price. Also known as the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT 86, the car was inspired by the legendary “Hachi-Roku” AE86, and quickly won the hearts of performance enthusiasts the world over after its release.
The exterior is clean and aggressive, exaggerating a low and wide stance over 17-inch alloy wheels. The interior comes in a 2+2 configuration, with big bolsters in the front seats and a center-mounted tachometer in the gauge pod. Curb weight is around 2,800 pounds, while transmission options include either a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a six-speed manual.
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