Scion FR-S starts track testings on the Nurburgring

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 16, 2011

Toyota’s upcoming sports coupe has been spied in Europe at the Nurburgring. The test car was extensively disguised; this could only mean that it’s already in its final bodywork. Toyota and Subaru are jointly working to develop this rear-drive coupe. It will be powered by a version of Subaru’s flat-four ‘boxer’ engine to keep its weight at the lowest that it can possibly go.

Toyota wanted its layout to keep the FT-86’s super-low nose; however, it has been a challenge for the design team to make it pass the early styling pedestrian impact regulations.

That car at the Nurburgring appears to be closer to the second-generation FT-86 II that was displayed at Geneva. This is in line with predictions from sources that the latest concept would be 95% of the final model. It seems like Toyota has softened the edges of the concept’s Lexus LFA-inspired front end.

It has toned down the gaping air intakes it has built its rear spoiler into the bodywork more effectively. It isn’t known yet if the name of the production car will be the same as the concept but it’s more likely to be the case since this model is a tribute to Toyota’s classic AE86 Corolla.

Subaru will also have its own version that’s expected to be available with a more powerful variant of the 2.0 motor. On the other hand, the version of Toyota is being considered to sell under the Scion youth brand for the U.S. market.

At the 2011 New York International Auto Show, the Scion FR-S Concept made its grand debut. This rear-wheel drive sports coupe is Scion’s preview for their new sports car that will launch in 2012.

The Scion FR-S Concept is named as such because of its front engine, rear-wheel driven sports car. This configuration happens to be Scion’s idea of a true sports car that also has a spectacular style and a marvellous combination of drivability, capability, practicality and efficiency.

Scion Vice President Jack Hollis said that they are "always experimenting” and that this is seen in the brand’s milestone products, namely the iconic xB, the adrenalizing tC and the revolutionary iQ. Hollis added that the FR-S is destined to push the brand into a new level once again.

The Scion FR-S can literally be considered a real scion of Toyota’s performance car heritage. The AE86 Corolla, also known as Hachi-Roku, which is Japanese for 8-6, is the main progenitor of the FR-S. It was also a front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe with a lightweight construction and balanced performance. It became an all-time favourite among automobile aficionados.

As with the AE86, the FR-S is designed under an overall philosophy of “pure balance.” This is evident in the placement of its flat 2.0-litre boxer engine at the front part and its rear-wheel drive design. The engine’s shape and compactness accommodate a lower and more rear setting of the powertrain. Thus, the car’s centre of gravity is lower and its front/rear weight ratio is preferable for a sporty performance.

The advanced naturally-aspirated boxer engine of the Scion FR-S is the first of its kind to implement Toyota’s D4-S injection system, which is both a direct and port injection system. This enables greater power and torque over the whole power band, with the same MPG.

A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission is compatible with the flat-four. Fast, precise short-throw shifts are possible with the manual, while more dynamic shifting (through the paddle shifters on the steering wheel) is possible with the automatic. A limited-slip differential allots power excellently.

The “pure balance” design ideology is also evident in the Scion FR-S Concept’s lightweight construction and short wheelbase, which permits agile responsiveness and manoeuvrability with reliable stability.

Jack Hollis added that Akio Toyoda intended to bring back Toyota’s fun-to-drive spirit, and that the Scion FR-S Concept is one of the manifestations of that objective.

The Scion FR-S Concept’s flashy exterior is a visual reminder of its superb performance. The proportions and stance imbue an aggressive air that is reflective of its capabilities. The boxer’s configuration allows a low and streamlined hood-line that forms a profile reminiscent of the Toyota 2000GT.

The low-set stance emphasises the FR-S intimidating front view, composed of the polygonal headlamps with brilliant LED clusters, as well as the wide mouth and defined lines.

The roofline is an aerodynamic, lightweight and stiff solid panel which is designed to let air flow over smoothly.

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