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New York show: Scion takes FT-86 coupe to extreme

Sleek Scion: FRS Concept brings even more aggression to Toyota's FT-86 menu.

Even sexier Scion version of Toyota’s sleek FT-86 II coupe emerges in New York

21 Apr 2011

TOYOTA has released an wilder development of its sleek FT-86 coupe concept – this time via its youth-oriented North American brand Scion.

Providing more vital clues to the cosmetic and technical make-up of the production FT-86, which has been confirmed to make its global debut at the 2011 Tokyo motor show on November 30, the Scion FR-S concept winds up the volume on the FT-86 II show car in a number of key areas.

First seen at Geneva in March – and then again at the Shanghai motor show earlier this week - the FT-86 II concept was a completely reskinned, more aggressive version of the original FT-86 concept and its race accessorised show sibling, the FT-86 G.

Now, however, the Scion FR-S adds even more menace by adding new front rear quarter panels with more heavily flared wheel-arches and a fresh front bumper that does away with the FTII’s F1-style carbon-fibre and LED daytime running lights, which are now located within blue-tinged headlights.

Also gone are the front side vents and big rear wing of the FT-86 II, the latter replaced by a bulging bootlid that now features an LED-illuminated ‘SCION’ logo above a massive matt-black lower diffuser.

While the blacked-out windows of the FR-S concealed its interior, the Scion coupe concept also featured revised side skirts and different monoblock Five Axis alloy wheels, measuring a huge 20x8.5-inch up front and 20x10.5-inch at the rear.

Its wheelbase remains the same at 2570mm, but the changes make the FR-S longer, wider and lower-slung than the FT-86 II overall at 4272mm long (up 37mm), 1818mm wide (up 23mm) and 1204mm high (down 66mm).

Coated in ‘Code Red’ paint comprising a developmental additive from BASF called Mearlite SSQ, the FRS concept is stopped by four-piston front brake callipers with enormous fixed 18-inch annular carbon ceramic matrix rotors.

As we’ve reported, the first rear-drive Toyota coupe since the MR2 will be released in Australia in the second half of next year with a targeted starting price in the low-$30,000s.

The all-new as-yet-unnamed 2+2 coupe will be powered by a 2.0-litre flat four from Subaru, Toyota’s joint-venture partner in the ground-breaking project that will also spawn a Subaru version.

8 center imageLeft, from top: Scion FRS rear-end, Toyota FT86 II rear-end, FRS badge, FT-86 II front. Now, however, Scion has confirmed the first boxer-engined rear-drive coupe will also be powered by the first flat four to be fitted with Toyota’s D4-S direct and port injection system, which Scion says increase power and torque throughout the entire powerband without sacrificing economy.

A recent Autocar also stated the production version of the front-engined rear-drive 2+2 coupe will be 200kg lighter than Volkswagen’s Scirocco coupe, which was this week confirmed for local release in early 2012.

Autocar said the FT-86 would also have a lower centre of gravity than Porsche’s mid-engined, flat six-powered Boxster, and now Scion says the boxer four’s compact size and shape allows the FR-S powertrain to be “mounted lower and further back towards the rear, giving the car a lower centre of gravity and a dynamically favourable front-to-rear weight ratio”.

Similarly, a six-speed manual transmission was always a given for the FT-86, which is expected to come in two equipment grades and perhaps a turbocharged flagship to eventually broaden the model range, but now Scion has confirmed that at least its version will also be available with a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters, driving through a limited-slip differential.

“The manual offers quick and precise shifts with a short-throw, while the automatic transmission features aggressive, sporty shifts that are initiated by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters,” said Scion.

In presenting the FRS at New York, when the Scion brand was launched in 2002, Scion vice-president Jack Hollis described the FRS as “a premium compact sports coupe that redefines its segment to meet the desires of an evolving buyer”.

He said the FRS – which stands for Front-engine, Rear-drive, Sport - would join last September’s tC coupe and this year’s iQ in a Scion model range that already attracts the youngest median-age buyer in the North American auto industry.

“The FR-S concept is a serious sports coupe… offering performance that hard-core driving fanatics can only find in a rear-wheel drive,” said Mr Hollis.

“While the tC appeals strongly to a young, aspirational owner who is just starting to achieve early success, I see the FR-S concept taking us into yet another Dimension.

“It will be a sportscar for someone who knows exactly what he wants, where he wants to go and desires a car to take him there. It will have that pure balance to reach the braking zone, hit the apex and accelerate on to the next conquest.

“While only a concept, the FR-S shows what is possible with Scion owners’ creativity and easy ability to personalise. It’s a vehicle that will inspire a new model coming to market next year.” Inspired, like the FT-86 itself, by the rear-drive AE86 Corolla coupe, the FRS was joined in New York by a supercharged version of the Lexus CT200h hybrid launched here last month, packing an estimated 224kW.

The blown CT200h was fitted with an Eaton supercharger, Climax Racing intake manifold, Yonaka air-to-water intercooler, boosted factory battery power, 20-inch iForged Concove Insite wheels, upgraded brake and suspension packages and a wild BASF-fettled bodykit.

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