As I mentioned to a friend in the automobile business, it’s highly unlikely they had this gray-haired man in mind as Toyota and Subaru developed the 2013 Scion FR-S sports car and the nearly identical Subaru BRZ.
These well balanced, rear-wheel-drive coupes practically shout YOUNG! MALE! ENTHUSIAST!
But, that is not to say that this gray-haired man did not find the brand-new FR-S appealing. Quite the contrary. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the car, one which I suspect will also appeal to anyone ( male or female, old or young) who still think of driving as a pleasure.
At first, I’ll admit I found the suspension to be a bit jarring, the cabin to be a bit noisy and the space to be a bit confining. But all of that disappeared quickly.
All that was required was for me to reach deep into my psyche and bring back to life that long-ago young car nut, the guy who sped through his 20s behind the wheel of yesteryear’s counterparts to the freshly-minted FR-S — a 1959 Triumph TR-3 and a 1963 MGB.
The quick steering; the right-now brakes; the manual transmission — they all reminded me of the most exciting motoring adventures of my life. But, recalling those relics also reminded me of just how much the steering, the brakes, the transmissions, the suspensions and everything else have improved over the years.
Yes, I did miss the special enjoyment offered by top-down motoring, but at least the gray hair did not have to endure the ravages of sun and wind. And, frankly, long-distance driving is much more relaxing in a car with a hard top.
So, let’s find out what the 2013 Scion FR-S is all about.
First and foremost, it is a collaboration of Japanese manufacturers Toyota and Subaru. Which company contributed exactly what is a bit murky, but we do know for sure that the power is supplied by Subaru’s 2-liter, four-cylinder, horizontally opposed (boxer) engine enhanced with Toyota’s unique direct fuel injection system.
We also know that the FR-S design was inspired by the the Toyota 2000GT, a sports car sold in the late 1960s and coveted today by serious collectors who are willing to pay upwards of $500,000 to obtain one.
To avoid confusion, it should also be noted that Toyota is marketing the FR-S as the halo car for its youth-oriented Scion division. Elsewhere in the world, the coupe will be sold as a Toyota.
But, back to the engine . . .
The powerplant produces 200 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 151 pound-feet of torque between 6,400 and 6,600 rpm. That’s enough to propel the 2,758-pound Scion from a stop to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds.
A glance at the numbers is enough to show that the coupe is not particularly fast by sports-car standards and that a driver needs to keep the engine spinning toward the 7,500 rpm red line to extract maximum power.