The 2013 Scion FR-S is a hot new sports car that made me think of my college years when I was zipping around the campus in a snappy little MGA roadster. Oh, it’s not quite the same, but pretty darn close
The FR-S — which stands for Frontengine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport — is Toyota Scion’s definition of an authentic rear-wheel-drive sports car. And it is a very well-balanced automobile, with excellent power and handling characteristics, quite nice styling, flexible utility and pretty darn good fuel economy (34 mpg on the highway with the six-speed automatic and 30 mpg with the stick). It is the fifth model to join the growing Scion family, following the xA, xB, tC and iQ.
The FR-S is sleekly styled, with a low hood and roofline, giving it an aerodynamic shape that channels air cleanly over to the top. The front-end has a menacing face made up of sharp lines, a wide lower intake and angular projector-beam halogen headlights. The rear fascia sits low and wide, with aerodynamic lower treatments that surround the sporty dual exhaust system, while LEDs illuminate the edgy taillights; center-mounted backup lights finish the muscular design.
The FR-S interior has 2+2 seating with the front seats mounted very low, almost too low, while the rear seat folds down flat for more flexible space. Alarge center-mounted tachometer is the focus of the three-gauge cluster and features a programmable shiftindicator with a small but intense indicator that lights up when redline is reached. The driver can set the warning to go off in 100- rpm increments, starting at 2,000 rpm. A chime can be programmed to sound when redline is approached. Speed is monitored by both digital and analog gauges.
The FR-S is powered by a new 2.0-liter D- 4S naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. The partnership began by combining Subaru’s newly developed, horizontally opposed engine and Toyota’s cutting-edge D-4S injection system, which incorporates both direct and port injection for each cylinder — one injecting fuel directly into the combustion chamber, the other a port injector located above the intake valves. Adopted from the Lexus IS F, D-4S injection is a new technology for the Scion family.
The D-4S system uses the direct injectors at all engine speeds. The FR-S heads utilize dual variable valve timing, making adjustments to the intake- and exhaust-cam timing to help optimize power, torque and fuel mileage. The D-4S system, partnered with a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, results in an impressive 200 horsepower and 151 poundfeet of torque. The flat-four mates with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing on the 2013 Scion FR-S starts at $24,200.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com