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2015 Scion FR-S TRD Project Car Review

We Drive The FR-S Everyone Wants Scion to Build

 |  Jul 30 2014, 10:47 AM

scion frs trd project car

Ever since Toyota launched the FR-S in 2013, car fans have been playing a game of “What If.”

What if the FR-S had more power?

What if it had a beefed up suspension?

What if you tried to make it into a full-on racing car?

The Scion FR-S Project Car answers those questions and Scion gave us a chance to drive it.

From the outside, the FR-S Project Car looks a lot like the limited FR-S Release Series 1.0 which it inspired: Same Yuzu-yellow paint and the same (or at least very similar) Toyota Racing Development (TRD) aero body kit and quad-tip exhaust.

WHAT’S NEW

But there are big changes underneath and we’ll start with the engine, which has been turbocharged to hell and back using a custom-designed setup from GReddy. Scion says the turbo and the MoTeC engine controller raise the power output north of 400 horsepower, for which the bottom end has been strengthened with JE pistons and Carrillo connecting rods.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Scion FR-S Review

For the suspension, Scion went to TRD; the short-shift and big-brake kit are the same ones we can buy here, though the coil-over suspension and rear underbody diffuser panel are from the Japanese catalog. Technically, so is the aero kit; it’s just a little different than the one on the Release 1.0 car. The wheels are 18″ Volk Racing VE40s shod with 255/35ZR18 Toyo Proxes R888 tires and the carbon fiber roof spoiler comes from Beat Sonic.

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Inside, the FR-S Project Car looks a lot like a full-on race car. Its Japanese-market TRD racing seats have five-point harnesses and the back seats are gone, as are the stereo and door, roof, and pillar trim pieces. The steering wheel and shifter are from TRD of Japan and an eight-point roll cage frames the interior.

Scion invited us to drive the Project Car at Willow Springs Raceway alongside the updated 2015 FR-S. So what’s this super-Scion like to drive? To be honest, it’s pretty much what you would expect: An FR-S turned up to 15.

MORE POWER

Again, we’ll start with the engine. Drivers with a straight-line mentality often bemoan the stock FR-S’ lack of muscle; but if you appreciate fine handling you also know that the FR-S has just enough power to deliver you from apex to turn-in. In any case, we’d be surprised to hear either camp bitch about the boosted FR-S, which displays a bit of turbo lag at low RPM but then picks up its aero-skirts and runs for the hills like a Scion possessed.

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At the risk of sounding like complete geeks, we enjoyed the bird-like chirp of the turbo wastegate almost as much as the acceleration.

Obviously, all that extra power imbues the car with the ability to break the back end loose with the throttle, something that can be difficult at best to do in the stock FR-S. But the stiffer TRD suspension setup and wider, more aggressive tires compensate adequately. The handling balance reminded us of the updated 2015 FR-S, with more grip and less skittishness at the back end than the 2013-2014 models. This is a car that charges into the corners, turns in sharply and charges out with minimal fuss or drama just like the stock 2015 FR-S, but faster. Much faster.

THE VERDICT

We didn’t push the car as hard as we could — Scion mentioned this was a one-of-a-kind project car and politely asked that we be nice to it — but it was cool to see the FR-S’ potential. We’ve experienced cars that didn’t hold up well to the onslaught of extra power and a radically stiffened suspension and the FR-S Project Car proves the integrity of the FR-S’ engineering. It’s a sports car that can be scaled up to a proper racing car so to that, we say “nice work, Subaru… er, sorry, Scion.”

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SO CAN YOU BUY IT?

So will we see a monster like this in production? Not likely.

The FR-S Project Car is being used to draw attention to the Release Series 1.0 cars, and perhaps as a prelude to some sort of racing, but the use of third-party bits in the engine and TRD parts everywhere else leads us to believe that Scion has no intention of turbocharging the FR-S any time soon.

That said, it did make us appreciate the basic FR-S (and it’s near-twin, the Subaru BRZ). Even with 200 hp, even with economy-minded tires, even with an interior free of a roll cage, the Scion FR-S is still one of our favorite sports cars.

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Discuss this story at our Scion FR-S Forum.

  • Rickers

    400 hp seems like a bit much, but it looks awesome!

  • Jamal

    You’re just not man enough. 400 hp sounds perfect to me.

  • TGIFR-S

    Holy cow this is a serious project, I wonder how much all this kit would cost?

  • AJ

    Great article, but you should be thanking Toyota not Subaru. Toyota designed the GT-86 (FR-S) with the spirit of the AE86 in mind, Subaru provided the engine (which was tweaked by Toyota (D4S Direct/Port Injection) and nominal assistance with R&D. In fact, Toyota had to convince Subaru to jointly produce the vehicle. Toyota completed the lion’s share of the R&D. http://blog.toyota.co.uk/tada-how-toyota-and-subaru-created-the-gt86#.U9sBAPm7x8E

  • Richard Joash Tan

    But Scion is still under Toyota

  • Logan

    In a 2800 lb. car(obviously less with the modifications seen here) 400whp(assuming wheel but even crank would be wild) would be about as much as I would comfortable driving on the street with. My rb25 swapped 240sx weighed in somewhere around 2600lb. and it made around 300whp. I had very little desire for more power.

  • Grey Ghost

    You are a Vagina.

  • Balot

    Solid counterpoint.

  • wfraker

    Some of the car mags, which have no dog in this fight, disagree quite strongly with your statements.

  • AJ

    There will always be dissenters, but the facts are the facts. Click the link and read the blog.

  • AJ

    True, but Scion did not develop this chassis. Besides, I am addressing their comment giving props to Subaru at Toyota/Scion’s expense.

  • wfraker

    It is a Toyota blog, or one person’s version of reality. Again, car magazines disagree with you. What reason would they have to choose Subaru’s side over Toyota’s side, other than it is true.

  • AJ

    We can go back and forth on this for days. These “car magazines” are simply stating their opinion as well. The GT86 concept was born to pay homage to the AE86, the project was initiated by Toyota and pushed by Toyota through R&D and into production. They had to convince Subaru to get on board as this is their first 2WD vehicle since the 90s. It was only after R&D was complete and they had a complete product that Subaru turned one over to STi for testing. I am not denying Subaru had a hand in development but this was Toyota’s project not theirs.