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Shave Two Seconds A Lap In The Scion FR-S: Video 2
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Scion FR-S, Automotive, Kurt, Scion, Tires, tuning, video on 07 2nd, 2012

When it comes to making cars go faster, most enthusiasts immediately think of adding horsepower. While horsepower gains can result in significantly lower lap times, adding big horsepower usually costs big money. Another way to make a car faster is to lighten it, but there’s only so far you can go with a car you drive every day. Pulling out the rear seat and removing all sound deadening may sound like a good idea, but driving a car like this on the street gets old, quick.

One area often overlooked by enthusiasts is tires, which have the potential of making a significant improvement in a cars handling ability. In the case of the Scion FR-S, the stock tires are aimed at comfort and longevity, not at grip. Adding a stickier tire in the same size was enough to lower the FR-S’ lap time at Spring Mountain Motorsport Ranch by a full two seconds, and we suspect that adding lighter 17-inch wheels may have helped even further.

Plus sizing the wheel, though, had an opposite effect. When Road & Track switched to 18-inch Advan wheels over the stock 17-inch wheels, it took them 0.6 seconds longer per lap than with the stock wheels and stickier tires in the stock size. We don’t know if the Advans were heavier or lighter than stock (which makes a difference on acceleration), but Road & Track says the taller wheels were enough to change gearing and slow the car’s acceleration.

Lighter wheels and stickier tires are one of the first things we upgrade on a performance -oriented car. Not only does this pay dividends on the track, but it also helps on the street with shorter stopping distances and added grip for sudden lane changes. Before you think about adding a tune or bolting on a turbo kit, we’d suggest you consider upgrading tires as your budget allows.

Scion Whets Your Appetite For The FR-S: Video 31
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Scion FR-S, Automotive, Kurt, Scion, video on 05 31st, 2012

If you’ve been counting down the days to the release of the 2013 Scion FR-S, you can switch over to counting down the hours now. The most eagerly-anticipated sports coupe in years will be hitting the streets in less than 24 hours.

We’ve heard of dealers with cars already in the showroom, sadly with “additional dealer markups” approaching the $7,000 mark. That puts the Scion FR-S in an entirely different class of car, and for nearly $35,000 there are a lot of other cars we’d choose over the FR-S.

Bad publicity from dealer price gouging aside, Scion wants you to remember that the automotive press, at least those lucky enough to drive it, have heaped praise on the car. We haven’t had our turn behind the wheel just yet, but reliable sources tell us the car is the real deal.

To promote the car one last time before launch, Scion has released the above video, chock full of lurid power slides on damp mountain roads, obviously at the hands of trained professionals. Do we even need to remind you that trying this at home, in your own Scion FR-S, is not a good idea?

Toyota Officially Reveals 2012 Toyota GT 86 (FT-86) Sports Car w/Videos 27
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2012 Scion FR-S, 2012 Subaru BRZ, Automotive, FT-86, FT-86 Concept, News, Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, TOYOTA, Toyota FT-86 Concept, video on 11 27th, 2011

Toyota’s sports car excitement seems to have been officially resurrected in what is now called the new Toyota GT 86. The official revealing of the long awaited FT-86 concept in its production skin will still take place at the Tokyo Motor Show (Nov. 29th). Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda could not wait to take the wraps off one of the most highly anticipated cars for the enthusiast market, so here it is.

To clarify naming of what we have grown to know as simply the FT-86, Toyota will be calling it the GT 86 in European markets and just the ‘86’  in Japan. Stateside we still expect the Scion FR-S name to hold true.

Official quick specs for the Toyota GT 86

  • 2.0-liter boxer with D4-S injection (direct and port injected)
  • 197 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) @6,600 rpm
  • 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions
  • 17-inch wheel/tire package standard
  • 4,240mm (167 in.) long, 1285mm (50.6 in.) high, 2,570mm (101 in.) wide
  • 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution
  • 475mm (18.7 in.) center of gravity

The GT 86 is expected to go on sale in June of 2012 beginning in\ the UK market. Details for the US sale date have not been confirmed as of yet but we expect to see the FR-S in our showrooms not far after its UK release.

Toyota has released new specs for the GT 86 along with a fully detailed press release highlighting the why behind the what for Toyota’s long awaited lightweight sports car. Hit up the new videos, details and official images below.

All images are courtesy of Toyota. Some taken by Toyota at the Fuji Speedway Toyota GAZOO Racing Festival.

Toyota GT 86 08
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Toyota GT 86 Press Release

World debut for Toyota GT 86 sports car at the Tokyo motor show


  • Entirely driver-focused sports car, designed to recapture the fundamental joys of motoring
  • World’s most compact four-seater sports car, delivering very low centre of gravity and excellent power-to-weight ratio
  • A return to Toyota’s sporting roots, with a front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive package
  • Powertrain combines 197bhp 2.0-litre flat-four boxer engine with torque-enhancing D-4S injection technology
  • Design achieves outstanding aerodynamics while recalling Toyota’s sports car heritage
  • New car to be called the GT 86 in Europe, in tribute to Toyota’s GT car heritage
  • On sale in the UK in June 2012

The anticipation is over: Toyota’s new GT 86 sports car makes its world debut at the Tokyo motor show on November 30. The compact 2+2 model, one of the most keenly awaited new cars of the coming year, will go on sale in the UK in June 2012.The GT 86 has been conceived as an entirely driver-focused machine, designed to deliver the core qualities of the classic sports car experience. That means precise, instant response to the smallest throttle and steering inputs and the kind of performance that appeals to those for whom driving is a passion, not a necessity.

The GT 86 is built on a new platform, with a highly aerodynamic bodyshell stretched tight over the car’s mechanical elements. Rather than fitting a heavy, large capacity powertrain, Toyota has opted instead to go back to its sporting roots, installing a compact, front-mounted, free-revving petrol engine that drives the rear wheels.

This four-cylinder “boxer” unit generates 197bhp at 7,000rpm and maximum torque of 205Nm at 6,600rpm, giving the GT 86 brisk, engaging performance.

The powertrain is matched to the world’s most compact four-seat design to create a car that benefits from light weight, low inertia and a low centre of gravity to achieve the best possible power-to-weight ratio. For the driver that means lively, accessible performance and dynamic character with minimal intrusion from electronic systems.


The GT 86 measures 4,240mm long, 1,285mm high and 2,570mm wide, dimensions which make it the most compact four-seater sports car available today.

Both the powertrain and the driving position have been set as low and as far back as possible to achieve the best balance: the car has a near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution. The flat-four engine format and the driver’s hip point – the lowest of any current Toyota production model – together give the GT 86 an ultra-low centre of gravity, at just 475mm.

The GT 86 makes the most of a light kerb weight, making it easy for drivers to exploit its nimble handling and cornering poise. The suspension features MacPherson struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear. The car rides on 17-inch wheels and is fitted with ventilated disc brakes fore and aft.

World’s first horizontally opposed engine with D-4S

The GT 86′s engine is the result of a joint Toyota and Subaru development programme that brings together their technical know-how and mutual passion for sports cars.

Toyota has added its D-4S injection technology to Subaru’s new, horizontally opposed, naturally aspirated 1,998cc four-cylinder boxer engine. This system features separate twin injectors for both direct and port injection, and a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, increasing power and torque across a wide range of engine speeds without sacrificing fuel efficiency and environmental performance.

The flat-four engine has equal bore and stroke of 86.0mm and drives through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual offers quick, precise shifts using a tactile, short-throw lever; the automatic transmission can be controlled using paddle shifts mounted on the steering wheel.

Power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential to give the best possible grip in all driving conditions. The ABS and switchable vehicle stability control systems have been tuned specifically to deliver dynamic stability at the limit of the car’s performance envelope with minimal electronic intervention to help preserve the purity of the driving experience.


The design of the GT 86 successfully works within the technical constraints of achieving the most compact dimensions possible, a low centre of gravity and aerodynamic performance inspired by motorsport technology, while also displaying evocative, sweeping styling that recalls Toyota’s sports car heritage.

Toyota’s new design language informs the styling, as in the way attention is focused on the lower part of the car with the large lower grille. Elsewhere the “keen” approach can be witnessed in the clear, expressive lines.

The lower grille’s “scorpion” look gives the GT 86 a more powerful appearance, with further sporting details including the model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, twin exhausts and the “86″ piston logo that denotes the car’s special powertrain configuration.

On board, the ergonomics and function of every element the driver interacts with have been scrutinised to make driving the car as natural, instinctive and rewarding as possible. For example, the steering wheel has a 365mm diameter, making it the smallest ever fitted to a Toyota, and it is trimmed in buckskin, developed from exhaustive feedback from test drivers on how to achieve the best steering performance and grip.

The three-meter instrument cluster is arranged around a large tachometer, its design benefiting from close attention to the positioning of the displays, markings and typeface. The result is the best possible visibility and readability. The driver-focus of the cockpit is further reinforced by the carbon-effect trim, all-black roof lining, red stitching on the upholstery, aviation-style rocker switches and lightweight, aluminium pedals.

Toyota’s 50-year sports car heritage

The GT 86 may be launched as the world’s only current sports car to feature a front-mounted, horizontally opposed engine and rear-wheel drive, but it cannot claim to be the first. That honour is held by Toyota’s two-cylinder boxer-engined Sports 800, which the company began developing in 1962. Since then, Toyota has established a long history of producing exciting, driver-focused sports cars with a front-engine, rear-wheel drive format that have proved as popular with the public as they have been successful in competition.

The beautiful 2000 GT, a coupe powered by a 2.0-litre straight-six engine, was first displayed at the 1965 Tokyo motor show and helped establish Toyota’s global reputation as a sports car manufacturer.

Launched in 1971, the first Celica models featured rear-wheel drive powertrains and were praised by enthusiasts for their agility. All four Supra generations came with straight-six engines and rear-wheel drive, while from 1984 the MR2 won recognition as one of the best handling sports cars in motoring history.

The inspiration for the GT 86, however, is the Corolla GT (or Levin) AE86, a car with an enduring reputation for delivering sheer excitement and capturing the fundamental joy of driving. Its front-engine, rear-wheel drive package, compact dimensions, light weight, impeccable balance and superior power-to-weight ratio made it a must-have choice for rallying and circuit driving throughout its production life, from 1983 to 1987. Here in the UK the GT claimed two British Touring Car Championship titles and a series of top-level rally victories.

The GT 86 is a genuinely lightweight machine that offers the intimacy and involvement of a car that can be driven as though an extension of the driver’s body. In this way, it perfectly recaptures the exhilarating spirit of the last of the AE86. And, with numerous customisable parts, its shares its predecessor’s aim to be an affordable car that will evolve with its owner.

Subaru BRZ STI Concept (Toyota FT-86/Scion FR-S Subaru Variant) Revealed 1
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in 2012 Scion FR-S, 2012 Subaru BRZ, Automotive, Concept Vehicle, LA Auto Show, News, Scion FR-S, Subaru, Subaru BRZ, TOYOTA, Toyota FT-86 Concept on 11 1st, 2011

The highly anticipated Subaru BRZ STI, close relative to the Toyota FT-86/Scion FR-S, makes a bow just before the LA Auto Show. As shown in the recently released rear-angled image, the new Subaru BRZ STI in its concept skin could be very close to a production version. I could easily see this hot coupe roaming the streets sporting its 4-cylinder boxer engine, low center of gravity, carbon fiber roof and large rear wing.

Some of the turbocharged rumors for the BRZ STI, a “sportier” version of the Toyota FT-86, have been debunked for now. Subaru makes a claim that the BRZ STI will have its flat-4 engine sitting 4.7-inches lower to the ground and 9.4-inches closer to the center of the chassis. That could put the BRZ in a category of its own despite the relatively low touted horsepower rating of the FT-86/FR-S variant being 197 hp. Obviously, with this stunning combination of a light-weight super-handling coupe, horsepower is not everything.

Be sure to find additional details once the BRZ STI drops on the floor of the LA Auto Show November 16th.

Update: Subaru released new computer rendered images of the BRZ STI…

The Subaru BRZ And The Scion FR-S: What’s The Difference? 26
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2012 Scion FR-S, 2012 Subaru BRZ, 2012 Toyota FT-86, Automotive, Kurt, Subaru, Tokyo Motor Show, TOYOTA on 10 26th, 2011

Scion's FR-S concept. Image: Toyota Motor Sales USA

We’re still a month away from the unveiling of the Subaru BRZ (and likely the Scion FR-S/Toyota FT-86) at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, but details on the differences between the cars are beginning to emerge. While Toyota has done the bulk of the promotion to date, Subaru has done much of the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting. In other words, it’s reasonable to expect that the Subie will be both faster and better handling, but with a commensurately higher price.

Subaru is claiming that the BRZ will have the lowest center of gravity of any production car, thanks to its low-mounted boxer engine and rear-drive layout. We’re not sure if that includes the Toyota, but it wouldn’t take much engineering to drop the motor in the BRZ a quarter inch lower than the motor in the FR-S.

Power output, however, is where the paths of the two cars begin to diverge. According to Autocar, the Subaru will make “less than 300 horsepower” versus 200 horsepower from the Toyota. Autocar reports that the bump will come from ECU tuning, but we’re skeptical that a tune alone can produce an extra 100 ponies in a normally aspirated car.

As for exterior styling differences, both companies are keeping the finished product a closely guarded secret. At the very least, expect the grille and bumpers to differ between the Subaru and Toyota variants.