Project Scion FR-S Part One


The FR-S has looks that deliver.  It has a sleek universal appeal that both sexes will like.  Not too aggressive but definitely not boring.  Fortunately the production car looks very much like the Five Axis penned concept cars.  Many nice looking concepts get really watered down by the time they become real cars but the FR-S stays true to the original concept.  For our take on the FR-S DNA!


We think the FR-S has a good looking nicely proportioned butt!  The FR-S is pretty light for a modern car at 2750lbs.  That is still about 350 more lbs than the good old AE86 but in those days car didn't have to meet such stringent emissions and crash requirements.  The FR-S is survivable in crashes that would disintegrate your body in an AE86.  About 100 FR-S's produce the same amount of pollution as one AE86!


The good looks continue on to the side profile.  Unlike most cars, the FR-S looks pretty good from all angles.  We think that the looks will prevent the FR-S from sharing the fate of the Miata with the performance car crowd.  The Miata looks too alternative lifestyle to appeal to this market!  The good looks have low drag.  The FR-S drag coefficient is a super low 0.27!


The FR-S engine is a 2 liter flat four boxer engine, a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru.  Its architecture is all Subaru but it's mix of port and direct cylinder injection is all Toyota.  The low profile engine allows for a really low hoodline and a low front center of gravity.  The engine is set far back, mostly behind the centerline of the front wheels for good weight distribution.


Subaru's designation for the engine is the FA20 while Toyota calls it the 4U-GSE.  The engine represents a new generation of Subaru engine and it is closely related to the FB20 which powers the Forester. The FA20 was designed to be more compact and lighter than previous Subaru engines and its 86mm bore and 86mm stroke are better suited for higher revs than older Subaru engines.  The engine has AVCS variable cam timing on both the intake and exhaust cams which controls the advance and retard phasing.  The engine has a really high 12.5:1 compression ratio made possible by the cylinder cooling properties of the direct injection system.  The variable cam timing and high compression ratio makes for good efficiency and our car has been getting from 27 to 33 mpg while being broken in!  Crawford Performance has already torn down and built an FA20 and has shared photos of the engine's internals.  The engine looks to be much more robust than the fragile EJ motors with a stronger piston, thicker cylinder walls with a stiffer deck, a better stroke to rod length ratio and a crank with less overlap.  The FA should tolerate boost well!  The engine puts out 200 crank HP at  a pretty high 7000 rpm and 151 lb/ft of torque at 6600 rpm.


The FA20 has a well designed air intake that take high pressure cold air from the nose of the car through a generously sized duct to a big filter.  One thing that we think is kinda dumb is this noise increaser pipe.  The folks at Scion were concerned that the car was too quiet so they designed this pipe to funnel intake noise to the car's cabin.  I wish the engineering resources went to tune the engine instead of the intake noise but well, maybe that's just me.

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