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Old 12-09-2011, 07:10 PM   #1
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Post Motor Trend Scion FRS Review - FR-S is Potential Smash Hit

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/...s_first_drive/

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First Drive: 2013 Scion FR-S

Fresh Rethinking of Sport

December 09, 2011 / By Nate Martinez

It doesn't take long to realize the 2013 Scion FR-S is special -- just an aggressive 4-second wide-open throttle jab, a short three-two downshift, and a clockwise rotation of the FR-S' small 14.4-inch diameter helm.

It's at this point in my drive, as I'm heading into Sodegaura Forest Raceway's sharp, right-hand Turn 1, that the bright orange Traction Control icon begins to flash incessantly, as if sending S.O.S. signals. Gradually, the FR-S' tail swings into my leftmost periphery and its 215/45-17 Michelins chirp as they scramble for grip. I can hear and feel the VSC's frantic efforts to correct a car it thinks is flailing toward destruction. A quick shot of opposite lock on the front alloys keeps the silver coupe sliding gracefully around the predetermined apex.

Out of Turn 1 and on the gas down the first brief straight of the Japanese circuit, I recall the pre-drive pep talk. Thirteen more corners of varying radii and degrees of difficulty await me. A glance at the fuel gauge confirms there's a full tank of fun onboard. And I've got a ticket to ride all day long.

Unless you've been avoiding MotorTrend.com for the past few months, you've likely heard of the all-new sports coupe from Toyota and Subaru whose name varies depending on which country's roads its tires roll on. For North America, it's called the Scion FR-S, which is Toyota talk for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport. It's Scion's first model with performance atop its agenda and, as such, is meant to give Toyota's entry-level brand a handful of much needed legitimate athleticism and marketing spark.

There's a lot riding on the FR-S' sculpted steel shoulders. As chief engineer Tetsuya Tada pointed out 40 minutes prior to my spirited pit lane departure, the compact coupe continues a legacy that has included a long line of successful and iconic sports cars -- most notably, the Sports 800 "Yotahachi" (the world's first rear-drive car powered by a front-mounted boxer engine), 2000GT, Celica, Supra, LFA, MR2, and the legendary Corolla AE86, or as aficionados affectionately call it, "Hachi-Roku." The latter icon was specifically used by Toyota as inspiration for the FR-S' high-performance/high-value package, while the 2000GT volunteered its long nose and slim side-glass profile, and the small S800 its lightweight build philosophy.

With that in mind, beginning in early 2008 and after a few heated engineering clashes over certain necessities, Toyota and Subaru crafted a sleek four-passenger, two-door coupe that melds history with the demands of modern driving enthusiasts. Their middle ground boasts a 101.2-inch wheelbase, a driver's seat position that places the driver's hips just 15.7 inches above the ground, a 166.7-inch length with short overhangs, and an estimated weight around 2700 pounds. With the rear seat folded, there's enough room in its trunk for a full set of mounted wheels and tires, a gas can, tools, and a helmet. Take all that out, Tada-san noted, and you'll have space for two golf bags.

As balance and litheness were essential to the FR-S' philosophy, engineers included weight-saving components like an aluminum hood and trunk (a hatchback design was axed for rigidity's sake). They made sure to pack the Subaru-derived 200-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder 4U-GSE boxer (in Toyota code) and Aisin six-speed manual/automatic transaxle as far back and close to the pavement as possible for "pure balance." Toyota/Scion claims the FR-S' 18.1-inch center of gravity is lower than that of the Porsche Cayman (19.0 inches) and Nissan GT-R (19.5 inches) -- two of the best driver's cars around. Its 53-percent front, 47-percent rear weight distribution ensures a slight tendency for predictable plowing in corners, Tada-san pointed out.

So how well does all that exhaustive collaborative engineering translate to a near-production, U.S.-spec 2013 Scion FR-S? Let me put it this way: a whole lot of budget-minded sports cars hitting the streets and autocross courses today should be worried- that means you, Honda CR-Z, Mazda RX-8, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Mazda MX-5, Honda Civic Si, and even the Nissan 370Z.

Arriving at the wide-open double-apex right hand Turn 2, I notice the small car's enthusiasm for being tossed around. Yet throughout this violent corner-charging, the small car stays as planted as a giant sequoia and as stable as an A380. Turn-in is extraordinarily precise, which, along with superb forward visibility, allows me to execute my every entry and exit strategy corner after corner with pinpoint accuracy.
Understeer push isn't totally absent, but it can easily be mitigated in the FR-S with appropriate throttle input and driver discretion; the same goes for oversteer, as my recent Turn 1 experience showed. Get on the skinny pedal too much too early and you'll be Ken Block-ing every bend. Its small steering wheel plays an important part in the driving equation. It's not as boosted as the BMW M3's thick wheel, yet it's a few ticks below the weighty, confident feel of the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Porsche Cayman.

Surprisingly, many of the responsive 2.0-liter's 151 lb-ft can be tapped throughout the 7400 rpm rev range, which allows my focus to stay on corner blasting, not downshifting in search of pull. Every throttle dab above 3500 rpm returns one of the most aggressive-sounding exhaust notes ever created by a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. It's not as burbly as a Subaru WRX STI's 2.5-liter flat mill (nor as drone-happy), but it's also not as tinny as the Honda Civic Si's K24 inline-four.

The smooth six-speed manual transmission's weighty feel invites accurate rev-matched shifts. The paddle-actuated automatic gearbox does it all for you with impressive hastiness, particularly in Sport mode (engineers wouldn't divulge actual shift times), and should easily appease the growing number of driving enthusiasts who toil through gridlock on a daily basis.

Cars equipped with a manual gearbox have a VSC Sport button set below and right of the shifter that reduces -- but doesn't eliminate -- stability control intervention by measuring yaw rate, steering angle, and lateral G. (Turning off all nannies requires a three-second push of the Traction Control Off button.)

Six-speed automatic cars have the same VSC Sport option plus an additional Sport/Snow mode (Sport holds gears at higher revs, quickens the throttle and shift algorithms; Snow starts the car off in second gear to reduce slip). Of course, you'll want to turn everything off if sliding is your thing, but for aggressive stints on a doused raceway like Sodegaura, VSC Sport doesn't disappoint in the least and allows for some silliness along the way.

With the checkered flag waving after my fourth lap on my first stint, I roll off the throttle for a final cool-down lap and investigate my immediate surroundings. The FR-S' cabin is a highly commendable driver's domain that's all about athletic ergonomics. It's plain and simple, with black plastic trim and leather and a few red inserts on nearly all surfaces. Steering wheel placement, pedal spacing, and bucket seat location are ideally attuned to the driving enthusiast.

Per Scion's mono-spec mantra, only one trim will be available when the FR-S arrives at dealers next spring. Buyers just need to choose their color and transmission. Although pricing has yet to be announced, we're guessing that for less than $25,000, drivers will get a Pioneer sound system with USB and AUX inputs, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, and red door/seat trim.

Back in the pits, I gather my thoughts. Scion doesn't just have a special car on its hands -- it's got a potential smash hit that can be enjoyed by many. It is a car that will likely redefine the Scion brand and the entry-level enthusiast car segment as a whole, too. Take note, kids: Having the fastest, most enjoyable car doesn't mean having the most powerful or the priciest. The FR-S is what budget-themed performance is all about. Don't believe me? All it takes is four laps.
















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Old 12-09-2011, 07:11 PM   #2
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thx for the post
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:24 PM   #3
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Every review loves this car, thats a great thing.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Question... wouldn't dropping the car's suspension further lower the center of gravity even more than the cars it is being compared to?

I haven't seen the height yet though, so that may not be feasible if it comes out of the factory already lowered...
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:31 PM   #5
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Hmm Motor trend Est the price of this car to be 25K.... and they said BRZ to be 24k... All this estimation is really annoying, I need to hurry up and be spring so we can know for sure. I think it's a great review and it's nice to know that everyone seem to love these two cars, I just hope the hype doesn't jack up the price. Thank you for posting.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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Lol, why does he have traction control on?
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xantonin View Post
Question... wouldn't dropping the car's suspension further lower the center of gravity even more than the cars it is being compared to?

I haven't seen the height yet though, so that may not be feasible if it comes out of the factory already lowered...
Nevermind I got my answer in this thread

http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2787

Quote:
LOWEST CENTER OF GRAVITY OF ANY PRODUTION CAR?

Much has been said about the carís center of gravity, with reports even attributing Toyota engineers as claiming the car will have the lowest CoG of any production car. That, Tata san admits, is not the case, though for a good reason. In data provided by Toyota, they admitted that both the Porsche GT3 and Ferrari 360, not to mention the Lexus LFA, have a lower weight balance. Those super sports cars had a serious advantage, however, says Tata san with a ground clearance of roughly 110 mm. The FR-S, on the other hand, stands 130 mm off the ground (almost an inch higher), putting it as a serious disadvantage. Could it be lower? Certainly, but Toyota and Scion need it to be a mass production vehicle with all the daily-use needs that that entails.

Those who want a lowered FR-S wonít have to wait long. In fact, they wonít even have to wait for the aftermarket to develop the products, as at launch Scion will offer a selection of parts, including lowering springs and sway bars.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
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I hope this is not 25keven because I will not be able to get it.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:32 PM   #9
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I didn't realize the trunk was aluminum as well. Hell Jes!! Now we won't have as many ricers putting on carbon fiber trunks
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xantonin View Post
Question... wouldn't dropping the car's suspension further lower the center of gravity even more than the cars it is being compared to?

I haven't seen the height yet though, so that may not be feasible if it comes out of the factory already lowered...
Well yeah this car is meant to be a DD so it can't be as low as those supercars straight out of the factory. If lowered to the same height as those supercars the 86 should indeed fulfill the promise of having the lowest CoG of any production car.
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Old 12-09-2011, 08:51 PM   #11
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Well yeah this car is meant to be a DD so it can't be as low as those supercars straight out of the factory. If lowered to the same height as those supercars the 86 should indeed fulfill the promise of having the lowest CoG of any production car.
i dont think it was ever a promise of toyota to have the lowest cog of any car. ive never once heard them speak of any thing of that matter
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:00 PM   #12
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i dont think it was ever a promise of toyota to have the lowest cog of any car. ive never once heard them speak of any thing of that matter
Actually that's what they claimed some time ago (when the BRZ Concept made its debut IIRC).
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:49 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bambbrose View Post
I didn't realize the trunk was aluminum as well. Hell Jes!! Now we won't have as many ricers putting on carbon fiber trunks
Your first mistake is thinking that ricers put carbon fiber trunks on to save weight. Hell, the really cheap ones now don't even do they. They grab some of that 3M DiNoc carbon fauxber and go to town.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #14
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i dont think it was ever a promise of toyota to have the lowest cog of any car. ive never once heard them speak of any thing of that matter
I'm surprised you have not seen it before b/c that was one of their goals. It has been mentioned a lot.


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