The 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show is just around the corner, and although Toyota isn’t planning on revealing any new production vehicles like it did last year, it’s bringing a couple of intriguing concept cars to display, one of which is the Scion iM. Scion isn’t doing too well these days; most of its offerings are dated and the brand’s future is rather uncertain. However, it seems Scion is thinking outside the box in Los Angeles with a concept car that transforms an otherwise plebeian Toyota into a track-ready hot hatch.

The vehicle in question is the Auris compact, which has yet to reach U.S. shores since its introduction in 2006. It’s indeed awkward for Scion to meddle with a vehicle that’s not available on these shores, but I’m glad it did, as the iM Concept is an aggressively styled hatch with plenty of performance upgrades. Granted, the Auris isn’t a particularly exciting car, but the iM Concept looks like it has a decidedly sporty bend to it. Read on to find out what makes this concept a vehicle Scion needs to approve for mass production.

Updated 11/20/2014: The new Scion iM concept made its world debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. According to the company the iM is a preview version of a versatile five-door compact hatchback that will arrive in dealerships in 2015 at a price starting under $20k.

Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about Scion iM Concept.

  • 2014 Scion iM Concept
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Engine:
    inline-4(Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    180 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    1.8 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    7.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    20000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Update History

Updated 11/12/2014: Scion unveiled the first images of the details on the iM Concept set to be unveiled next week in Los Angeles. As expected, the concept previews the American version of the Toyota Auris which should be added to the U.S. lineup in the near future. Details after the jump.

Exterior

2014 Scion iM Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 577166
The wide-body kit and the lowered ride height leave the iM Concept screaming for a set of racing decals, a rear wing and a place in the British Touring Car Championship.

Scion claims the iM Concept’s sporty looks are inspired by "those seen on the European touring car racing circuit," and that’s exactly what this hatchback looks like. It’s hard to picture a vehicle such as the Auris on a high-speed track, but Scion’s experiment with the compact is brilliant as far as styling goes. The wide-body kit and the lowered ride height leaves the iM Concept screaming for a set of racing decals, a rear wing and a place in the British Touring Car Championship. It’s that good!

To get to the result seen in the photo above, Scion took the Auris and equipped it with brand-new front bumper with a massive intake and deep side vents with fog lamps, a creased hood, and wide fenders. Around back, the beefy bumper received a unique grille layout, a diffuser-like piece with an integrated central exhaust and roof spoiler. The narrow side mirrors are also inspired from the world of motorsport. A set of 19-inch, forged alloy wheels wrapped in performance tires replace the regular rollers available with the Auris and complement the "Incrediblue" paint job and the Matte Silver and Gunmetal accents.

Interior

2013 Toyota Auris Hatchback Interior
- image 469409

Scion didn’t release any photos or details of the iM Concept’s interior, but the hatchback should have received some cabin updates as well. Sportier seats and a host of unique features come to mind, including "Incrediblue" detailing, bespoke door sills, and contrast stitching to add some color to what appears to be a black cockpit.

A couple of new tech features are also likely. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Scion come with a racing app for lap times and 0-to-60-mph sprints and other applications not available with the common Auris.

Note: Standard Yaris interior shown above

Drivetrain

2014 Scion iM Concept Exterior
- image 573701
The hatch is likely to feature a more powerful engine given its performance tires and upgraded braking system

No word on the drivetrain for iM Concept either, but the hatch is likely to feature a more powerful engine, given its performance tires and upgraded braking system. The Auris is available with a host of gasoline and diesel engines worldwide, including a hybrid drivetrain, with the most powerful unit being a 1.8-liter four-banger rated at 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s likely we’ll see an updated version of the 1.8-liter engine that delivers at least 180 ponies to the iM Concept’s wheels through a six-speed manual. It would be awesomely cool for Scion to use the FR-S’ 2.0-liter boxer and its 200 horses in the hatch, but that’s a highly unlikely scenario.

What we do know for a fact is that the iM Concept comes with better grip, thanks to its performance tires, and improved stopping power thanks to its vented front rotors and four-piston calipers. A racing suspension with adjustable height makes this concept the most track-prepped Auris ever built by Toyota. Too bad it’s only a concept for now.

Prices

2014 Scion iM Concept Exterior
- image 573702

The iM Concept remains only a show car until further notice, and the fact that the Auris isn’t available in North America makes putting a price on it that much more difficult. The Auris retails from £13,995 in the UK, with the hybrid model selling from £22,890. That converts to $22,137 and $36,205, respectively, as of 11/12/2014.

Competitors

Mini Cooper 5 Door

2014 Mini Cooper 5-Door High Resolution Exterior
- image 554915

The new Mini Cooper 5 Door might end up being the closest competition the Scion iM has in terms of both form and performance. It’s one of the few five-door hatches on sale right now in North America, and is available in both Cooper and Cooper S options.

The same 1.5-liter three-cylinder found in the two-door Cooper powers the Cooper 5 Door and produces 136 horsepower. Tick the box that says “Cooper S,” and you’ll get a more potent 2.0-liter, turbo engine with 192 horsepower. Mini also boasts a range of customizations that no other carmaker can match, but its starting price of around $21,000 means that pricing can get out of control quickly.

Conclusion

2014 Scion iM Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 577165

The Scion iM Concept is by far the coolest Auris I’ve ever seen and I can’t stop thinking whether Scion wants it to be more than just a study. The vehicle looks ready to hit the assembly line, but there are a couple of things that might stop it from becoming a production car. The most important of them all is that the Auris doesn’t have a U.S.-spec sibling and I have my doubts Scion is going to start selling it under its own badge as a performance vehicle. But maybe this concept hints the Auris is coming to the States with a beefed-up version to follow shortly. Here’s to hoping!

  • Leave it
    • No interior details and engine specs
    • Only a concept for now
    • The Auris is not yet available in the U.S.
James Wolfcale
About the author

Press Release

Whether it’s exploring the mountains or playing at the beach, Los Angeles offers adventures off every freeway. Young people just need a vehicle to get them, and all their gear, to their destination in style. The new Scion iM Concept car is designed with that in mind and will debut on Wednesday, November 19 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

2014 Scion iM Concept Exterior
- image 573702

The iM Concept is a five-door compact hatchback with sporty looks inspired by those seen on the European touring car racing circuit. The concept brings in captivating styling with edgy, geometric grille inserts, deep air intakes and fog lights. The custom-blended “Incrediblue” paint is complemented by matte silver and gunmetal accents.

To create a grounded appearance ready for the road, the iM Concept has wide aerodynamics and a lower ride height. The performance inspiration carries through into the 19-inch forged alloy wheels and sporty performance tires. Vented front rotors and 4-piston calipers work with the adjustable height racing suspension to complete the racecar-influenced design.

2014 Scion iM Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 577165

“The tastes of today’s younger buyers have evolved. They want a car that provides excitement and individuality, as well as the comfort, technology and reliability that Scion offers,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “The iM Concept combines sleek styling with the versatility of a modern hatchback to catch the eye of Scion customers. Stay tuned for more on how we will bring this vision to the road.”

Scion’s press conference will be held at 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19 at Scion’s display in the South Hall. To follow Scion news at the LA Auto Show use the hashtag #iMDriven or visit http://www.scion.com/blog.

Press Release - November 20, 2014

Start planning that next adventure; a new ride is on its way. After revealing the iM Concept car today at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Scion announced that a production version of the versatile five-door compact hatchback will be coming to dealerships in 2015. Fans will get a first look at the road-ready, sporty ride – and another new Scion model – at the New York International Auto Show in April.

2014 Scion iM Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 578846

“The two models we’re debuting in New York next spring are just the beginning for Scion,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha. “We plan to bring three new products in three years to our showrooms, offering a variety of exciting options for current and new Scion customers.”

As a test laboratory for Toyota, Scion attracts those with an independent spirit and desire to stand apart from the crowd. But many of today’s consumers between 18-34 years old also value a degree of practicality to support their self-reliance and more mobile lifestyles. Faced with greater independence and less disposable income, they value fun and sensibility in a vehicle choice.

The iM Concept is a hatchback that earns its name from characteristics aimed at this evolving audience. The “i” stands for individuality, intriguing and a good fit for customers’ income. The “M” stands for modern, multifaceted and magnetic. Its captivating styling and custom-blended “Incrediblue” paint are complemented by matte silver and gunmetal accents.

The iM Concept communicates its sporty handling and racing inspiration through a wide stance and low ride height for a grounded appearance. It features front and rear bumper overhangs that create dynamic surfaces, as well as geometric grille inserts, deep air intakes and fog lights. Large 19-inch forged alloy wheels sit flush with the body while vented rotors with 4-piston front calipers work with the adjustable-height racing suspension.

2014 Scion iM Concept Exterior
- image 578847

Urban drivers can expect the iM Concept to meet the needs of city streets with excellent fuel efficiency, sporty handling and easy parking. Details on the production version’s transmission, engine, technology and other details will be available in 2015. Pricing information will also be available next year, but Scion anticipates that a price under $20,000 could make this car enticing to youthful customers.

Scion Pure Process Plus
To go along with its evolving product line up, Scion is innovating around core values of efficiency and transparency when purchasing a car. Scion’s Pure Price means that the dealer’s advertised price is the price a consumer pays. No haggle. No hassle.

2014 Scion iM Concept Exterior
- image 578848

To take this experience further, Scion has been testing and successfully reducing the time it takes to buy a car through Pure Process Plus. This process – in place at more than 50 Scion dealerships across the country – allows buyers to research a car through Scion.com, find it at a dealership, apply for credit and secure a price, all without leaving the couch. Scion will continue working with dealers and Toyota Financial Services to fine-tune the process and plans to significantly expand its reach in 2015.

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