The question was never if Toyota would bounce back, but when, and the company answered that question resoundingly in New York with the introduction of the Scion FR-S Concept sport coupe. Enthusiasts have waited anxiously to see whether the much-hyped rear-drive sport coupe would live up to expectations and they were surely satisfied with the concept’s appearance.
Cell phone cameras sprouted from the crowd like spring daffodils when the car rolled onstage, resplendent in crimson Code Red paint. The low-slung hot rod delivers a jolt of excitement that has been desperately needed in the Toyota lineup, and while details continue to be sketchy, the few tidbits that were released point in the right direction. The car’s lyrical moniker apparently stands for Front engine, Rear-wheel-drive, and Sport. And this from the people who invented the haiku.
Power will be a 2.0-liter version of Subaru’s boxer flat-four engine with the application of Toyota’s D4-S fuel injection, a system employing two injectors per cylinder. One injector is direct, in the combustion chamber, while the other is a traditional port injector, which lets the engine management computer use them to optimize fuel delivery for all conditions, according to Scion vice president Jack Hollis.
The FR-S transmits power through either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, with a short-throw shifter on the manual and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters on the automatic.
The concept car rolls on 20-inch wheels, 8.5 inches wide in the front and 10.5 inches wide in the rear. Inside those enormous hoops are four-piston front brake calipers clamping 18-inch carbon ceramic matrix rotors.
Look for the FR-S to arrive in dealers next year, and expect them to be in short supply, because as Hollis said, FR-S could stand for “friggin’ really sweet!”
DAN CARNEY is a veteran auto industry observer who has written for MSNBC.com, Motor Trend, AutoWeek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Better Homes and Gardens and other publications. He has authored two books, "Dodge Viper" and "Honda S2000" and is a juror for the North American Car of the Year award. Carney covers the industry from the increasingly strategic location of Washington, DC.