Toyota’s Legacy In the FR-S


Toyota's Legacy In the Scion FR-S

By Joe Lu and Annie Sam

Photos By Joe Lu

Although the FR-S debut has been covered to death on every social medium and media outlet, we have to acknowledge that this was done for a reason.  Regardless of what it is called, the GT-86, BR-Z, FR-S is an enormously important vehicle for the Subaru and Toyota/Scion brands as well as the entire sport compact segment.

In the mid to late nineties, there was no shortage of production mid-sized sporty cars wielding between 160-240 horsepower.  Celica, Integra, Prelude, S2000, 240SX, Sentra SE-R, Civic Si, MR2 and Eclipse are some of the famed cars that many of us cut our driving teeth on in our youth.  Fast forward to recent times, and this list is has become much shorter as OEMs shifted their focus and development dollars from providing consumers reasonably priced and fun-to-drive vehicles to less interesting initiatives centered around fuel efficiency and selling mundane vanilla family haulers.

With this in mind, the introduction of the FR-S signals that OEMs (well, Toyota/Scion and Subaru at least) recognize that there was a gaping hole left by the departure of many of our favorite cars that needed to be filled.  Having already been introduced internationally as the GT-86 and BR-Z at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Show, the remaining North American market debut of the FR-S was certainly a fanciful affair that touched on history, heritage and inspiration; a fitting introduction for what we think will be an insanely popular platform for enthusiasts and tuners.

Why do we think the FR-S is destined to be a star?

  • FR layout
  • 53/47 front to rear weight ratio
  • Low center of gravity
  • Lightweight; FR-S is claimed to be lighter than an s2000 (should be lighter than 2,800 lbs)
  • Potential for future turbo trims
  • Although pricing was not announced at the launch, it is likely that the car will be sold for under $30,000.  (We consider the Hyundai Genesis Coupe to be a major competitor, with the 2.0T offering similar power and starting at around $22,000, this may be within the price range that FR-S is aiming for.)  
  • Click here to read Professor Frink's in depth coverage of the FR-S

So how did Scion launch this car?  They took over Milk Studios in Los Angeles and packed it full of historic landmark Toyota sports cars… it didn't hurt that Scion knew how to throw one hell of a party. 

North America's first glimpse of the FR-S…


…and the crowd goes wild!


Hosted and unveiled by Scion VP Jack Hollis, the FR-S unveiling took attendees through the inspirations that Toyota (and Subaru) drew from in the creation of this RWD game changer. Clearly, the desire to offer a driving experience in the vein of the classic AE-86 Corolla was on the mind of designers when coming up with the FR-S.


 Jack Hollis with the Greddy Performance Product team that built the first modified FR-S, which was displayed at the reveal.


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