SCION SILENCES ITS CRITICS
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Published on Wed, Apr 20, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
HOT WIRE—The critics said it was going to be bad news. “Oh no, the beloved FT 86 will become a Scion—an insult to the Hachi-Roku!” “I’m going to rebadged it back as a Toyota.” “It’s going to look more boxy, like the xB.” And then the Scion FR-S Concept was unveiled. It’s even better looking than the FT 86 concepts that preceded it. Suddenly, silence from the critics. Scion unveiled the rear-wheel drive FR-S Concept sports coupe today at the 2011 New York International Auto Show—and it’s looking to be a far better car than the original Corolla AE86, or Hachi-Roku (translates to "8-6" in Japanese), as it’s affectionately known among drifting aficionados. And more good news: Scion confirms that the FR-S Concept will inspire a new model coming to the Scion brand next year. The FR-S Concept, which stands for Front-engine, Rear-wheel drive, Sport; is Scion’s definition of a rear-wheel-drive sports car with compelling style, exceptionally balanced performance and handling, flexible utility and good gas mileage MPG. “Scion is always experimenting with new things,” said Jack Hollis, Scion vice president. “The brand is iconic with the xB, adrenalized by the tC, and groundbreaking with the iQ. The FR-S will expand the brand into yet another new dimension that I know it is truly destined for.”
While inspired by the AE86, the FR-S is built around the goal of achieving “pure balance,” which begins with the strategic placement of a flat 2.0-liter boxer engine in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. Scion says the engine’s compact size and shape allows the FR-S’ powertrain to be mounted lower and further back towards the rear, giving the car a lower center of gravity and a dynamically favorable front-to-rear weight ratio. The FR-S’ naturally-aspirated engine is the first boxer to incorporate Toyota’s D4-S injection system, which utilizes both direct and port injection, resulting in increased horsepower and torque throughout the entire powerband. According to Scion, fuel economy is not sacrificed. The flat-four can mate with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The manual offers quick and precise shifts with a short-throw, while the automatic transmission features aggressive, sporty shifts that are initiated by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Power is distributed effectively via a limited-slip differential. The idea of “pure balance” extends to the FR-S’ lightweight design and short wheelbase. The combination is said to allow the car to be quick and nimble into and out of a corner, with dynamic maneuverability and confident stability. The folks at Scion say the profile of the RS-S is inspired by the Toyota 2000GT. Toward this end, the hood-line is sleek and low, made possible by the low profile of the boxer engine. The front fenders protrude upward, making space for the massive monoblock Five Axis 20x8.5-inch wheels, while the muscular rear fenders are widened to house the 20x10.5-inch wheels, emphasizing the FR-S’ staggered stance and rear-wheel-drive setup. The rear fascia sits low and wide, with extensive lower treatments that surround the dual exhaust exits and contribute to excellent aerodynamics. LEDs illuminate both the edgy taillights and the bold “SCION” logo. The concept features four-piston-caliper front brakes that clamp down on 18-inch annular carbon ceramic matrix rotors that are fixed to the wheels in a motorcycle-fashion. The FR-S Concept is layered in rich coats of Code Red, the appropriately named color that consists of a custom blend of candy and a developmental additive from BASF called Mearlite SSQ. SPECIFICATIONS Engine: Flat four-cylinder DOHC 16-valve "boxer" Drive configuration: Front engine, rear-wheel drive Suspension: Four-wheel independent Wheels Front: Five Axis 20x8.5-inch wheels Rear: Five Axis 20x10.5-inch wheels Concept Dimensions (inches) Length – 168.2 Width – 71.5 Height – 47.4 Front Track – 61.8 Rear Track – 59.9 Wheelbase – 101.2