Two years ago (for the 2013 model year), two Japanese auto manufacturers joined forces developing a formidable, yet affordable sports coupe. The result was a most capable sports coupe that was extremely fun to drive under the guise of two distinctive marques. The vehicle or vehicles in question – the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ, which were nearly identical in terms of design and mechanical composition. The two cars differed then (and still) only in the front and rear fascia treatment, headlamp styling and of course badging.
We’ll deal here with the 2015 Scion FR-S, which was the fifth model to join the Scion family, with power delivered to the rear-wheels through either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with Sport mode, paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management. The engine is an FA2O 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve, flat horizontally-opposed “boxer” four-cylinder with D4-S (Direct and Sequential Port Injection) that cranks out 200 horses at 7,000 rpm, while developing 151 pound feet of torque in a range from 6,400-6,600 rpm. Premium fuel is required.
Pricing for the FR-S (which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport) starts at $24,900 when equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox, or $26,000 when fitted with the 6-speed automatic transmission.
The FR-S is a true “scion” that draws upon heritage from a long history of Toyota performance cars and motorsports. It was most inspired by the AE86 generation of the Corolla, best known as the Hachi-Roku, meaning “8-6” in Japanese. The AE86 was a front engine, rear-wheel drive, lightweight, well-balanced coupe that made it a prime choice of driving enthusiasts. The FR-S was designed around the core goal of achieving “Pure balance”, beginning with the strategic utilization 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 in a low, mid-ship position, resulting in a dynamically favorable front-to-rear weight ratio of 53:47 along with a low center of gravity that is comparable to many exotic supercars.
Despite its powerful 100-horsepower per liter, the FR-S yields an estimated EPA rating of 34 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission or 30 mpgwith the manual gearbox. FR-S tips the scale at 2,758 pounds with the manual and 2,806 with the automatic. Weight is kept to a minimum by the implementation of an aluminum hood, a solid roof and by a trunk rather than a hatch design.
The low weight is complemented by dynamically tuned suspension componentry consisting of MacPherson struts forward and a double wishbone setup aft. Positive steering feel is provided by Electronic Power Steering and the FR-S rides on lightweight 17×7-inch alloy wheels. Ventilated disc brakes are standard at all four corners. Experienced performance driving enthusiasts will appreciate the Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control systems, which may be set in a combination of five configurations.
In terms of its stunning exterior visual appeal, the FR-S reflects its inner power – its aerodynamic profile was inspired by the iconic (and now extremely rare) Toyota 2000GT, with a low, sleek roofline that directs airflow cleanly and efficiently over the gracefully curved cabin. The stance is low and the face delivers a menacing competitive look with its sharp expressive lines and forms, such as the wide lower intake and angular headlight assembly that houses projector-beam headlamps. The front fenders protrude aggressively upward, and display the iconic “86” piston badge, highlighting the car’s AE86 DNA as well as its new boxer engine. Moving to the rear, the fascia sits low and wide, with a diffuser panel that encases the sporty dual exhaust system. LEDs showcase the edgy taillamps along with center-mounted backup lights. The FR-S comes available in a choice of seven exterior colors.
The interior features 2+2 seating with deeply bolstered, supportive and comfortable seats up front, with a rear seatback that folds flat for added versatility and functionality. A large, center-mounted tachometer is the focal point of the three gauge main cluster that also features a programmable shift indicator, allowing the driver to set rev limits in 100 -rpm limits beginning at 2,000 rpm. Speed is measured by both digital and analog gauges. The three-spoke steering wheel both tilts and telescopes.
A soft skin dash cover delivers a flat horizon design with a raised centerline rib, which in combination with the pronounced front fender bulges aid in keeping the driver intuitively oriented with the car’s position. The FR-S will be the first Scion model to offer a connected multimedia audio system called BeSpoke™, powered by Pioneer’s Zypr™.
FR-S is equipped with a host of standard safety features including: six airbags, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Vehicle Stability control, Brake Assist, ABS and Smart Stop Technology.
My test 2015 Scion FR-S sport coupe wore an exterior finish of Steel metallic (which replaces Argento), with a Black interior. The base sticker was set at $24,900., which came to $27,838 after adding the carpeted trunk mat, fog lights, Bespoke Audio featuring aha, the rear spoiler and the destination and handling fees. An impressive array of options will be available for personalization and customization of one’s FR-S.
SUMMARY: Considering the starting price point of the 2015 Scion FR-S sports coupe, and its performance credentials, it continues to be a winner, with its enhanced tuning and freshened appearance to match. It serves up a most attractive and appealing design, with harmonious and well balanced lines and contours. It evokes a bold, athletic image even when parked. Modifications for the 2015 model year include: a new shark-fin antenna for improved aerodynamics; new, larger exhaust tips that fit more flush with the rear bumper,
Bottom line, the 2015 Scion FR-S 2+2 sport coupe delivers fun in spades under normal driving conditions or on a racecourse with an almost unbelievable starting price under $25,000. Add to that, Scion’s 3-year/36,000 mile limited warranty and 5-year/60,000 powertrain warranty, along with Scion’s complimentary Scion Service Boost program and the FR-S is a no-brainer for the 2+2 sports coupe set.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Scion FR-S 2+2 Sports Coupe
|Price as Tested:||$27,838.|
|Engine Type and Size:||FA20 – 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve naturally aspirated four-cylinder flat-opposed “Boxer” engine with dual variable valve timing and D-4S direct and sequential port fuel injection. Square Bore and Stroke of 86 mm.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||200 @ 7,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||151 @ 6,400-6,600 rpm|
|Transmission:||RA62-Six-speed manual or A960E-6-speed automatic with paddle shifters and Dynamic Rev Management.|
|Drive Train:||Flat -opposed boxer mid-mount front engine / Rear-wheel drive.|
Front – Independent MacPherson strut with reverse positioned lower L- arm, inboard-mounted shocks and springs and 18 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear -Double-Wishbone warhorse® Limited Slip Differential and 14 mm stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, EBD, BA, TRAC and VSC.|
|Tires:||Michelin Primacy HP 215/45 R17 87W summer, mounted on 5-silver dual-spoke with 5 black separator spokes in between (15-total-spokes) alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||166.7 inches|
|Curb Weight:||2,758 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||13.2 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||6.2 seconds – estimated.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.