It seem like Scion has been planning a faster more powerful FR-S since before the sports car was first released. From the very first time the FR-S’ and BRZ’s horsepower numbers were revealed and the company saw the reaction that garnered, Scion has been looking for ways to buff it up.
A Hybrid FR-S was discussed, turbochargers were dismissed, and a bigger 2.5-liter FR-S seemed immanent, but no high power FR-S has materialized. Now it seems like instead of picking a power adder, Scion is just going to do everything. Motor Trend claims that a source inside Toyota Japan confirmed earlier reports that a 2.5-liter turbocharged hybrid FR-S Sedan with all-wheel drive that will cost around $50,000. The FR-S sedan will join the lineup in 2015, after the FR-S Convertible.
More exciting than a Hyundai Genesis competitor, though, is the news that a turbo FR-S coupe is on the way. A turbocharged engine, either the 2.5-liter turbo from the U.S. Sedan or the 2.0 turbo that will be used in the Japanese FR-S sedan, will be available in the FR-S coupe in 2016. Pricing for the FR-S turbo should start just over $30,000.
No word yet on power output from the FR-S 2.5-liter turbo hybrid or the FR-S 2.5-liter turbo non-hybrid. FR-S turbo kits are easily pushing over 300-horsepower, which would match the FR-S turbo well against the Nissan 370z.
The Scion FR-S and Toyota FT-86 have lagged behind sales predictions and new models could be in jeopardy. The Scion FR-S was an ambitious move on Toyota’s part, giving the company its first sports car since the Supra was discontinued, but now sales are slipping and the company says new models like the 2.5 liter FR-S, FR-S convertible, and 4-door Scion FR-S Sedan may be in danger.
Auto Express spoke to Toyota Vice President for European R&D Gerald Killmann who said that the FR-S’ sales are too slow for the company to justify new models.
“A faster version of that car would be at the top of most people’s wish lists, but like the cabriolet, it is hard to justify a business case to push either model into production based on the current sales,” Killmann said.
What Toyota needs to realize is that with the FR-S, they aren’t selling a Corolla that people will buy year after year no matter what. They have a sports car that is both a novelty and a status symbol. When the novelty of a sport car wears off and its power as a status symbol is diluted by identical models available used, it needs to refreshed and upgraded. Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Jaguar all sell the same sports cars for several years but all understand that after the initial release, buyers need a new incentive to buy a new car. Special editions like the FR-S Monogram, convertibles and more powerful models all renew the market’s interest in sports cars once the initial desire wears down.
So will Toyota follow the lead of the companies that have made their careers selling sports cars and make the next few years of the FR-S exciting with more options and models? Or will the most boring car company in the world cut and run on its sports car experiment and go back to churning out beige Camrys for the buffet crowd?
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.