Welcome to the second installment of TGIF[R-S]. If you missed the first in our new series documenting life with the most hyped sports car of our times, get up to date here. Then continue on with AutoGuide Features Editor Sami Haj-Assaad as he takes deliver of his very own Scion FR-S.
My decision to buy the FR-S was made the second I drove it, and thanks to Scion’s simple ordering process, it didn’t get much harder than that.
Sold as a ‘mono-spec’, there is only one trim for the FR-S, plus a few additional options. In many ways this is Scion’s way of saying it’s perfect just the way it is. And I agreed, choosing not to add anything, (not even the BeSpoke Premium stereo Head Unit), living instead with the eyesore base stereo. Besides, the upgraded unit doesn’t seem to offer much more, and doesn’t even have a navigation feature. The base unit has Bluetooth and streaming audio, and that’s all I need.
The next major option was the transmission, though again, there was nothing to consider. The automatic was out of the question. Having lived with an automatic all my life I now want to experience what a manual transmission is like, day-in, day out.
About the only thing I did have to debate was the choice of color, and I ticked off the classy Ultramarine Blue.
The decisions, however, became much harder when I went to the Scion dealership to negotiate a trade in value for my old Mercedes. This wasn’t easy. Scion dealers know they have a hot product and likely don’t want some beat-up German car in exchange for one that’s flying off the lot. I had to go to two different dealerships, in different cities to get a good price on my trade in.
After signing the papers, I had to wait an agonizing two weeks to get my new ride. In the larger scope of new car buying that isn’t bad, but I’m not talking about a new Chevy Cruze or Honda CR-V here. This is my new sports car. The days couldn’t go by any slower.
BYE-BYE BABY BENZ
Part of getting prepared to take delivery of my new car consisted in cleaning out and saying good-bye to the old one. My Benz was a personal vehicle to me, a friend in car form. It was my second home. I adored the interior and clean exterior design – and still do. It has a classy, professional feel, and I’m not ashamed to admit that after a rough day, getting behind the wheel of my Mercedes made me feel important.
I took out all my CDs from the stereo, an action that sparked a flood of memories created in this car. They were soundtracks of my four years at university, various road-trips, date-nights, designated driver responsibilities and more. Locking the car up at the Toyota dealership, and pressing the button on the key fob for the last time, I swore the headlights stayed on a touch longer than usual, watching me walk away.
That day, delivery day, I arrived at the dealer 30 minutes earlier out of pure anticipation. Like a kid hunting for that last present hidden behind the Christmas tree, I looked all around to see if I could catch a glimpse of the FR-S… my FR-S.
My sales associate explained the break-in procedure, which sounded like a mean joke. Not taking the car over 4000 rpm for 1,000 miles? The 7400 rpm redline suddenly became a cruel tease.
Finally she brought me into the service bay and I saw it immediately, my gorgeous dark blue (Ultramarine) FR-S. My hands started to shake, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Those words might sound cliché, but you’ll have to trust me, they’re genuine. The FR-S was absolutely stunning, and it was going to be mine.
The rest of my time in the service bay was a blur. I think my sales associate showed me the spare rubber mats in the back, and put some security stickers on the car. My mind was elsewhere, not registering anything other than the low, blue car in front of me.
A Toyota mechanic broke my trance. “That’s a beautiful color,” he said. “We don’t see very many of those here, only black, white and silver. All boring colors. That blue is really classy.” I nodded. “You’re going to love it,” he said as he patted me on the shoulder.
And then I took the keys to my car.
FIRST DRIVE JITTERS
Driving out of service bay, I could hear the distinct noise of the Subaru sourced flat-four engine, something far more aggressive than what I was used to.
My body was still in shock. My foot shaking on the clutch, my right hand sliding through the gates slowly. I felt disconnected from the car, something that wasn’t an issue when I test drove it.
Driving through the city, the reflection of the car in building windows caught my eye, as did my own reflection, and the goofy smile I couldn’t shake.
Paused at a light I overheard a couple of bar patrons having a brew on the patio.
“Whoa! It’s that car!” said the one.
“Wow, that’s nice looking. What is it?” said the other.
“It’s a Scion, and has to be one of the nicest looking cars around. I can’t believe I’m seeing one so soon,” came the reply.
They were excited just to see the car. But I was driving it. It was both a humbling and flattering experience and it didn’t take long for me to realize this was something I was going to have to get used to.
Check back next week for the third instalment of TGIF[R-S] where Sami Haj-Assaad recounts a week behind the wheel. How does the FR-S stack up as a daily driver?