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Scion FR-S Visits Cars and Coffee
by Frank A. Filipponio | Dec 14, 2011

There's been quite a lot of buzz surrounding the all new Toyota/Subaru/Scion rear-drive sports coupe since the concept cars starting appearing at major auto shows a couple of years ago. Last month at the LA Auto Show, Scion showed off the production version of its FR-S derivative, the first model expected to reach dealerships in the US from this shared platform.

Alongside the production vehicle at the LA show was a GReddy prepped version with wheels, exhaust and a few other minor tweaks. Well, that GReddy tuned version of the FR-S showed up at Cars & Coffee this weekend so we could all get a better look... and listen. That boxer four sounds great.

We haven't seen this much attention paid to a sub-200-hp car in a long time, but this does represent a big step for Toyota and for driving enthusiasts. The idea of a small, lightweight coupe with rear drive and a punchy engine is one that should appeal to any motoring enthusiast, but as it is the first vehicle to come out of the Toyota-Subaru marriage makes it even more exciting.

Ever since the Celica, Supra and MR-2 left the Toyota lineup, it has been up to Scion to capture the sporty driver's attention. Think what you will about the Scion tC, but it doesn't even come close to capturing the old spirit of the AE86 platform Corolla GTS and the like. This new joint venture with Subaru uses the best parts from each company's parts bin and manages to blend them into something that so far has garnered a lot of praise from the buff books.

Subaru will sell a version of this car as the BRZ, another vehicle that was shown in LA last month, but this Scion is what was sitting in front of us in Irvine last Saturday, and we liked what we saw. The styling is a bit derivative of several sports cars, but manages to still be unique and stylish. You might find details you'd change if you were in charge of Toyota's styling department, but it would be hard to call this car ugly.

What's decidedly not ugly is the 2,700 pound curb weight, the 200-hp Subaru boxer four mounted low in the nose, the rear-drive and the price of this tossable and fun coupe. Although Scion and Subaru haven’t announced official pricing yet, expect starting prices in the low-to-mid $20K range. That’s a lot of bang for the buck, somewhat on par with a Mazda MX-5 Miata, which is seen as this car’s chief competitor.

We’ll add the Hyundai Veloster and Genesis Coupe, Honda CR-Z and Civic Si, MINI Cooper, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, and VW GTI as fun coupes that offer sporty driving at a base price around $20-$25,000, but none of those copies the pattern of light weight and rear-drive that the FR-S/BRZ and the MX-5 offer. Until Nissan decides to revive the rwd 240SX, we see this as a class of two – and we think Subaru and Scion will have a hard time keeping up with demand. That means we'll be selling a lot of BBKs for these sports coupes as well.


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