Why Scion needs an FR-S Turbo and tC Turbo to survive
Having driven the 2013 Scion FR-S sports coupe on a couple of occasions, this author can confirm that the car is nearly perfect in stick shift form. The only thing it lacks is more torque, meaning the ability to accelerate strongly. The boxer four cylinder engine that it has is simply not powerful enough to be called perfect. The real problem is the torque. 151 lb-ft is simply too little twist, and it comes too late in the rev band. In automatic form the car is a dog. It’s actually embarrassing. Its 200 horsepower would be fine if the car had a nice torquey turbocharged engine with the torque curve designed to be flat and found at low RPS (say 2000 to 2500). This car needs a new engine to join the all-star list.
Unlike every other auto writer, I have mostly ignored the Scion FR-S and the Subaru BR-Z. Having driven them, I had no personal interest due to the lack of power. The cars also sell in tiny numbers, not even beating electric cars for sales, so what’s all the fuss?
Now that Lexus has recently introduced a new 2.0 liter turbo engine to drive its new LF-NX crossover things might be changing at Toyota in general (parent of Scion and Lexus). That move got me wondering if Toyota is waking up to the fact that it, like Honda, pretty much missed the boat. All the other manufacturers are now gaming the system by using turbos to trick the EPA test cycle for an extra MPG or two, so why not join the party? I am no fan of turbos as readers of my work know, but I like them a lot more than underpowered engines.