2014 Scion GT86 Delivers a Punch

Toyota Motor Corporation’s Scion FR-S coupe was designed in collaboration with Subaru, with the goal of building a sports car that appeals to younger drivers.  Production models of the Scion GT86 / Subaru BRZ will begin arriving in dealer showrooms next year, and pre-sale demand is so high, there’s already a ten-year waiting list in some markets.  Toyota’s GT86 chief engineer Tetsuya Tada says, “It’s a ridiculous situation.”

The model is powered by a Subaru 2.0-liter flat-four-cylinder engine and Toyota’s D-4S direct-fuel-injection system to deliver 197 bhp and 151 pound feet of torque.  The coupe has a top speed of 140 mph and 0 – 60 mph acceleration of 7.6 seconds.  It also features handling characteristics that have been compared with the Porsche Cayman which sells for more than double the $25,000 sticker price of the FR-S.

Tada says that despite overwhelming interest, there is no plan to offer a turbo version of the FR-S. “I have been hesitant about increasing power and torque,” says Tada. From a performance and pricing standpoint, turbocharging the engine would necessarily add weight and increase costs. Besides, Toyota plans to add more sports cars to its model lineup over the next couple of years.  These new models will undoubtedly bracket the FR-S in terms of power and price.

From an engineering standpoint, the addition of a turbo would require raising the FR-S’ center of gravity, which would adversely affect stability and handling.

Alternatives to a turbo, currently being considered, include boring the current engine beyond its 2.0-liter capacity, a supercharger, and a hybrid powertrain based on the Prius THS system.

Tada said he would also like to shave upwards of 220 pounds off of the FR-S’ current weight, but doing so would require the use of expensive, exotic materials which would increase the sticker price.

Perhaps the most striking feature of FR-S is the massive rear wing which increases downforce and reduces drag.  The wing’s surface is also covered with a series of intricate fins which create a “wall of turbulence.”  According to Tada, the wall “softly embraces the car” and improves handling at speeds as low as 25 mph.

The GT 86 is scheduled to go on sale in the U.K. next June, and most industry insiders expect the U.S. launch of the Scion model to come soon after.

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