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Auto Show:  2012 Detroit Auto Show

2013 Scion FR-S: Detroit Auto Show

author photo by Nick Palermo January 2012
  • FR-S for "front-engine, rear-drive sport"
  • Achieves low center of gravity and light weight
  • New BeSpoke connected infotainment system

Scion says the new FR-S sports car is inspired by parent company Toyota's AE86 Corolla, a small, four-cylinder vehicle produced from 1983 to 1987. The AE86 has long been a favorite in motorsports and especially in drifting, the tire-smoking sport in which drivers compete for the longest controlled slide. Appropriately, Scion brought not just the production FR-S to the Detroit Auto Show, but also a race-prepared 600-horsepower example, the Scion Racing/GReddy FR-S, which will compete in the 2012 Formula DRIFT series.

The race car, with a giant rear wing and stripped cockpit, is certainly impressive. But the standard production FR-S is the star of the show. The sports car boasts a new 2-liter engine developed jointly by Subaru and Toyota and shared with Subaru's new BRZ. Like that car, the FR-S is designed for performance, with a low center of gravity and light weight. But the Scion also offers high-tech audio and connectivity thanks to the new BeSpoke infotainment system. Enthusiasm for the sports car has prompted Scion to initiate a special program that offers the first 86 FR-S deliveries before the vehicle's official launch.

While the FR-S has a harder-edged, more aggressive look than the BRZ, the mechanicals underneath are largely identical. The flat-four engine is optimized for very low mounting behind the front axle, aiding weight distribution and contributing to a low center of gravity. The motor uses high compression and a combination of direct and port injection to achieve output of 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. The two transmission choices are both six-speed. A manual is standard, while an automatic with paddle shifters is optional.

While Scion did not cite specific fuel economy figures for the sports car, its compact size and light weight - due in part to an aluminum hood, fixed roof and trunk instead of a hatchback - should help it to return commendable economy, a characteristic common to all models in Scion's five-car lineup.

Also like other Scions, the FR-S will include standard Bluetooth and HD Radio. Additionally, a new infotainment system called BeSpoke, powered by Pioneer's Zypr, will keep FR-S drivers connected, informed and entertained with personalized content and services.

Scion says already-building demand for the new sports car is the impetus for their First 86 program. Starting January 12th at noon EST, would-be FR-S drivers will have 8 hours and 6 minutes to submit a request at and become one of the first 86 owners. That group will take delivery of their vehicles before the FR-S officially goes on sale later this year.

What it means to you: The new FR-S is lightweight and powerful like the BRZ, but offers edgier styling and a new infotainment system. Scion is promising the first 86 buyers early delivery.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Scion FR-S: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader