Monthly Archives: October 2013

Scion FR-S Convertible

The Scion FR-S Convertible concept car was revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland. The Scion FR-S Open Concept – the official name of the FR-S convertible preproduction model – shows a very near production prototype of the convertible FR-S with a blue top and white paint. The Scion FR-S convertible concept was also shown at the 2013 national Toyota dealers meeting in Atlanta as an incentive for dealers to keep the Scion brand.
The future of the Scion FR-S convertible is uncertain. A dealer at the 2013 national dealers convention told Automotive News “They don’t show product they don’t plan on building,” but added that Subaru might still have veto power over the drop top FR-S and BRZ. There have also been concerns within Toyota that the FR-S convertible may require too high a price point to appeal to the intended customer.

Geneva Motor Show images via Autoblog.

Subaru BRZ STI tS

Subaru doesn’t have an official BRZ STI for sale anywhere, but in Japan there is a BRZ tS built by STI that has performance upgrades over the standard BRZ. The BRZ STI tS doesn’t have any engine upgrades, so even in Japan they have to wait for the 250-horsepower 2.5-liter BRZ to get more power.

The Subaru BRZ STI tS has Brembo ventilated disc brakes, (four piston front, two piston rear) a large diameter driveshaft, , an upgraded suspension with redesigned springs, struts and other components, retuned stability control, an upgraded exhaust, a new front lip spoiler, 18-inch wheels and an Alcantara and leather interior with STI logos. The BRZ STI tS GT adds an adjustable carbon fiber rear wing, Recaro seats and black painted wheels.

The Subaru BRZ STI tS costs 3,664,500 Yen, about $37,300 U.S. That kind of expense would be a tough sell in the U.S. with no engine upgrades, especially considering that the BRZ starts at 2,058,000 Yen ($21,000) there. A $40,000 BRZ without a quicker 0-60 time or higher top speed would never make it in the United States, but the performance upgrades on the BRZ STI tS might make it onto the upcoming 2.5-liter BRZ or the official BRZ STI when that finally goes on sale. Subaru will make 250 BRZ STI tS models and 250 Subaru BRZ STI tS Gts.



Images via Subaru Japan.

Scion FR-S Sedan a Possibility, May be Vetoed Because Subaru BRZ Sedan Would Compete With WRX


A sedan version of the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ may be on the horizon. According to Edmunds, the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S sedans could be on sale in the 2016 model year. Toyota is pushing for an FR-S Sedan to be built, but Subaru is “dragging its heels” Okaying the BRZ Sedan according to an unnamed source.

Subaru has good reason to be hesitant to build a BRZ Sedan. Subaru already has a sporty four-door sedan priced in the high $20,000 range, the turbocharged WRX. While the BRZ Sedan would The BRZ is already just a couple hundred dollars less than the WRX. A BRZ Sedan would cost more than a base WRX while offering 65 fewer horsepower (at least until the 2.5-liter BRZ shows up) and two fewer drive wheels than the AWD WRX.

Scion, on the other hand, has every reason to want a four-door FR-S Sedan. Right now the FR-S is the flagship of the Scion line and at just $25,000, each sale isn’t a huge payday for the company or for dealerships. A more expensive sedan with rear-wheel drive, and the inevitable comparisons to the BMW 320i it would bring with it, would help entice Toyota dealers to keep their Scion showrooms open, something that Scion has struggled with recently.

Another interesting note, Edmund’s source at Toyota did say that Scion was promising one new model for 2015. That could be the Scion FR-S convertible the company has vacillated publicly on, the FR-S Hybrid that engineers say is ready for production, or it could even be an FR-S Supra.


Scion FR-S Sedan rendering via Top Speed.

475-HP Crawford Turbo BRZ Sets Lap Record at Buttonwillow with Bill Caswell at the Helm

Bill Caswell is famous for his beater E30 rally car that showed either how great a cheap performance platform the BMW E30 is or how amazing of a driver Caswell is when it started being legitimately competitive against sponsored rally cars. Now that Caswell is famous, he gets to drive real race cars.

Caswell got behind the wheel of the Crawford Turbocharged Subaru BRZ at the Redline Time Attack at Buttonwillow Raceway. Time Attack is a simple way to race: you go out and set the best lap you can, either alone on the track or (for non professionals) with other cars out there that start in stages. The best lap wins.

The Crawford turbo BRZ has 475 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque at the crank, well over double the factory 2.0-liter’s numbers. That power doesn’t come from just a bolt on turbo kit (although you can make very close to those numbers with one), new longer connecting rods, low compression JE pistons, and a front mount intercooler all work to make the turbo BRZ as powerful and reliable as possible.

That much power was too much for the BRZ’s stock suspension, making the car drift uncontrollably around the track, so Crawford worked the platform over to handle that power on the racetrack.

Caswell loved the car, and his gut instinct is pretty good – the Crawford turbo BRZ had the second place time in the rear wheel drive category and the best time for a Subaru BRZ or Scion FR-S.