Posts Tagged ‘fr-s’

The Toyota GT86 Is Getting a Little Brother

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

2014 Toyota GT86

Last week, we got our first look at the facelifted 2016 Toyota GT86 sports coupe. This weekend, we learned that this isn’t the only piece of GT86/FR-S related news Toyota’s been hiding… Apparently, Toyota is currently developing a compact sports car that would slot below their joint venture coupe.

The news comes from Australian automotive blog Motoring, who apparently first heard the news from “a source close to Toyota”. They say that the new compact sports car will be a two-door rear-wheel-drive coupe that will have a starting price of about $20,000. It will run on a 132 horsepower 1.5L petrol engine and come in under 1,000 kg.

Toyota Sports 800

Motoring also says that the car will compete with the new Mazda MX-5, but let’s be real… Given Toyota and Mazda’s recently expanded partnership, we all know that this is going to be a Miata-based vehicle. In fact, we’d say there’s a decent chance it will be built on the same platform and use a SkyActiv-inspired engine too. The rumor right now is that the engine will be a modified direct-injection version of the 1.5L four-cylinder Toyota uses in some international Corolla models (2NR-FKE), but we’re not convinced.

Even if the new sub-GT86 coupe is largely built on Mazda components, the car will still be inspired by an old Toyota model. Toyota’s source said, “The new coupe’s exterior look was inspired by the Toyota Sports 800 (pictured above) of 1965, but reinterpreted for the 21st Century.” The source also said that the new coupe is codenamed 69DZ, if that tells you anything. Aesthetically, it’ll be based on the Toyota 86 Cb Concept from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (below).

2013 Toyota 86 Cb Concept

The new baby coupe will serve as an entry-level offer to Toyota sports car lineup. Other rumors say that Toyota plans to develop another larger coupe that will slot above the GT86/FR-S, which would give them three solid sports car offers. As the cheapest of the bunch, the 69DZ will have a heavy emphasis on fun, agile driving, and not as much on interior quality. We hope that Toyota opts for a simple two-seat coupe for the superior cabin space, but empirical evidence points to a cramped 2+2 seating arrangement.

That being said, Toyota is taking extreme measures to make sure the mini-86 kicks butt on the road… Apparently they’ve enlisted the help of World Rally Championship racer Tommi Makinen to test and develop the new sports coupe. With that kind of real on-track experience behind the project, we sincerely hope that this new sports car will go from prototype to production before the end of the year. It’s certainly possible; Motoring’s source said, “Designers have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is.”

Here’s to hoping!

Toyota GT86 to Get Facelift in 2016

Posted by Stephen On Friday, May 15th, 2015

2014 Toyota GT86

It was only a few days ago when we heard about Scion’s plans to upgrade to their FR-S sports coupe for the 2016 model year. Now, it sounds like the rest of the world outside of the US will also be enjoying a new version of Toyota’s budget-friendly compact coupe, but it may come in the middle of 2016 instead of later this year, but it’ll still be a 2016MY either way.

The Toyota GT86, along with the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, was originally launched back in 2012. So, 2016 would be the perfect year for a mid-cycle refresh. According to Australian automotive blog, Motoring, a Toyota insider has said to “look to some major body panel redesign.” But not too major… “It won’t be too radical because the 86 is made on the same assembly line is the Subaru BRZ, so the restyling process must be carried out within set parameters,” the insider warranted.

Keep in mind, Subaru is the only one of the three brands that has yet to announce any mid-cycle changes to their version of the joint-venture sports coupe. We expect that they will eventually have a mid-cycle refresh of their own, but perhaps they will wait until the end of 2016 for the 2017MY so that Toyota’s coupes can have their time in the spotlight.

2014 Toyota GT86 rear

Either way, the 2016 Toyota GT86 will likely feature a revised, sportier front-end design. This will likely include a fresh new hood design, restyled headlights or DRLs, a larger grille and possibly new color options. The rear could get a new taillight arrangement and a resculpted bumper, along with a “more aesthetic yet aggressive rear diffuser,” according to Motoring’s source. In addition, they say the distance between the exhaust pipes will be extended to the rear corners in order to create a wider-feeling stance.

Under the hood, we’re told that, “Engineers have focused on friction reduction engineering and a more efficient intake manifold design that will boost power and torque by around 5%, while improving fuel efficiency by up to 7%.” A 5% increase over the current car’s 197 horsepower would put us at about 207 horsepower… Just enough of a boost to be noticeable. Meanwhile, the 86’s chassis may also see some improvements, such as the addition of custom Sachs dampers and a stiffer rear-end subframe, which should help that extra 10 horsepower feel a whole lot more fun to drive.

Either way, we’re expecting the refresh to come in April of 2016, since it was April 2012 when the Toyota 86 originally launched in Japan.

2016 Scion FR-S Gets Upgraded Interior & Tech.

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

After Scion added two new cars to their lineup for the first time in years at the 2015 New York Auto Show, we’ve been anxiously waiting to see what the youth-targeted marque would do with their most iconic vehicle for the 2016 model year. Today, Scion released official details for their 2016 Scion FR-S sports coupe.

2016 Scion FR-S

Let’s start with the exterior. No body modifications have been made to the FR-S for 2016, but Scion will offer the coupe in two new colors – Ablaze Red (pictured) or Oceanic Blue. Remember, the coupe has only been on the market since 2013; Toyota hasn’t yet seen fit to make any body modifications to either their 86 or FR-S offerings in any market. The powertrain will stay the same too – it’s a 2.0L four-cylinder with 200 hp.

2016 Scion FR-S interior

The interior is where things start getting really exciting. Scion wanted to improve the premium feel of the coupe’s cabin, so they made a number of interior upgrades. They’ve added new silver accents throughout the center console and dashboard, along with the steering wheel and door grips. Scion has also added in a higher quality audio system as the standard option, along with a crisp 7-inch touchscreen and voice recognition technology.

2016 Scion FR-S rear

Scion also says that they’ve added a rear-view backup camera to the coupe for “added safety, comfort and convenience.” Of course, we all know that this is 2015… Backup cameras are required now. Still, we appreciate the sentiment.

With all the new technology, it’s no surprise that the 2016 model year will get a slight price increase of $405. That means the six-speed manual now starts at $25,305. The six-speed sequential automatic with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters starts at $26,405. And don’t forget the $770 destination fee.

2016 Scion FR-S profile

Honestly, even after the changes to the 2016MY coming in June, the Scion FR-S is headed for a rough year. First-quarter sales were down almost 30% from last year, and it’s hard to believe that a higher price tag is going to positively affect sales, even with a better interior.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2012 Toyota 86 G

2012 Toyota 86

Since the cars are still so new, you won’t find very many GT86 or BRZ coupes up for auction in Japan (the FR-S is a US-only name). But, we managed to dig up this beautiful blazing red 86 G in superb condition.

2012 Toyota 86 rear

Interestingly, the base trim Toyota 86 (as it’s called in Japan) is the RC package, which is a barebones vehicle meant for racing. It’s only once you move to the G trim (the car you see here) that you get all the interior components like air-conditioning, leather upholstery with red stitching, plus the LCD touchscreen display. You also get those slick 16-inch alloys you can see in the images above.

2012 Toyota 86 interior

As we said, this 2012 Toyota 86 auction find is in great shape with a B-grade interior and exterior, and an overall rating of 4.5. For more details, get a full translation of the specs below the auction sheet.

2012 Toyota 86 auction sheet

“Interior B, exterior condition B, first registered October 2012, G model, 6-speed manual, AC, Kenwood SD navigation system with digital TV, rear view reversing camera, keyless entry, original 16 inch AWs, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, one owner, seats worn, front windscreen scratched, interior grime, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map”

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, December 20th, 2014

2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited

After learning about Toyota’s decision to delay the Toyota Prius due to a bland design, it got us thinking about the design of Toyota’s current lineup, and which cars truly stand out for their aesthetic appeal. It didn’t take long for the highly acclaimed Toyota GT-86 to come to mind.

Now, if you were to search for the GT-86 in our Japanese car auction database, you’d have a hard time finding any results. That’s because what we in the States call the GT-86 is sold in Japan merely as the Toyota 86. After realizing that, it was easy to identify a solid 25 of Toyota’s sports cars up for auction in Japan, not one of them rated lower than a 4.

Today’s Japanese car auction find is a 2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited in excellent shape. The deep black paint job is crisp and nearly totally unmarred. The modern-looking 17” twin spoke alloys are in particularly good shape, and a lot can – and has – been said about the GT-86’s design.

2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited auction find

Compared to the Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S, the GT-86 has a slightly more rugged and linear design. Especially compared to the BRZ… The edgier 86 could be likened to a sharp knife cutting through the wind, while the BRZ is curvy and more closely resembles a raindrop falling from the sky. The nice thing about this black color-scheme is that the car’s A-pillar and roof line blend smoothly into the windshield, creating a pseudo-panoramic effect. And of course, because this is a GT Limited you’ll get the performance enhancing rear spoiler.

Inside, the Toyota 86 is a little less clean-cut. You can clearly tell that the cockpit was designed to evoke that of a race car. Again, you’ll notice a few extra features with the Limited model… Chief among them is the black/red leather and Alcantara seating (the normal 86 only has black fabric seating). The ‘red’ theme continues throughout the interior of the Limited model; the steering wheel, parking brake and shifter all get a red wrap to catch the eye. Also, you can’t see it in the image below, but there are aluminum pedals, a digital speedometer, and sleek silver accents throughout the dash.

2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited interior

In addition to the sporty interior design, you’ll also enjoy a surprising number of interior amenities. For example, automatic air conditioning, a built-in navigation/infotainment screen, push-button ignition, and a surprising amount of boot space for being such a small car (the rear seats fold down).

Of course, we have to at least mention the engine. The main reason Toyota partnered with Subaru in the first place was to take advantage of their mighty boxer engine manufacturing, and the workhorse in this Toyota 86 won’t disappoint. It’s a 2.0L water-cooled flat-four cylinder with Toyota’s D4-S direct-injection and an insanely high compression ratio of 12.5:1.

If you’d like to learn more about this stellar 2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited, simply continue reading below the auction sheet for a detailed translation of the specs.

2012 Toyota 86 GT Limited auction sheet

“Great 4.5, interior B, first registered 2012 (month of first registration not stated), GT Limited, six-speed manual gearbox, AAC, service book, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, leather, original TV, original navigation system, airbags, adjustable suspension, HKS muffler, SD navigation system with digital TV and DVD video playback, black and red half-leather seats, seat heaters, HID, rear spoiler, 14,470 km, several slight cigarette burn marks on seats, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map”

Subaru Hints at Plans for Second-Generation BRZ Coupe

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 24th, 2014

2014 Subaru BRZ Coupe

You might’ve missed it, but towards the end of June there was a rumor going around that there’d be no second-generation Subaru BRZ. The rumor stemmed from Australian news-site, who quoted the car’s chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, as saying that Toyota was considering a different partner for the next-generation sports coupe. Their replacement partner would potentially be BMW, if the move went through.

Looking at the stats, Toyota has decent reason to consider adopting a new partner for their GT86/FR-S twins. Autonews reports that since the beginning of 2014, sales of the Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86 have fallen by almost 25%, while sales of the Subaru BRZ rose by a better-than-nothing 6%.

Finally, in an urgent response to the rumor of a Toyota-BMW partnership, Fuji Heavy Industry’s president (FHI owns Subaru), Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, squashed the rumor of Toyota’s move. He said, “If I were to be told that [Toyota switched to BMW], I’d pass out. [The BRZ] is not going to be just one generation.” Emphasis added.

No one can argue that Subaru benefits more from the partnership than Toyota, and we’d wager that even Yoshinaga agrees that they need the help of the world’s largest Japanese automaker to make a next-gen BRZ coupe happen. The volume made possible by the Toyota partnership is just too much to make up. Still, it would be a strange move for Toyota to go through with, especially considering that they own a 20% share in Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries.

No matter whom ends up partnering with whom, there are a few things that we know about the next-gen Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86/Scion FR-S:

First, it’ll be more powerful. Toyota and Subaru both have heard the pleas from drivers begging for a more powerful engine, and it’s something they plan to include in the next-gen lineup.

Second, it’ll use an alternative powertrain solution, aka. hybrid technology. Tada explains the possibility, saying, “Every 86 enthusiast has been asking question on more power and we are studying now for the answers. Maybe next-generation 86 must have some kind of eco-technology like racing hybrid. We raced at Le Mans with this and that is the reason why we challenge ourselves with this technology.”

In the end, it seems safe to assume that Toyota will remain partnered with the Subaru for the next-generation BRZ/GT86/FR-S sports coupe. Better yet, these preliminary rumors give us confidence that Subaru’s next model will have the power to make full use of its incredible handling, and with a technology suite that keeps the car both modern and fuel-efficient.


Bye-Bye Subaru BRZ STI; Hello BRZ FA-20 by Cosworth

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

FA-20 Power Packages

Ever since the launch of the Subaru BRZ, performance enthusiasts all over the world have been clamoring for an STI-tuned version of the acclaimed sports coupe. The regular BRZ drives like a dream, but with ‘only’ 200hp it just doesn’t give the kind of kick that a true speed junky craves.

Unfortunately, as time goes on it has seemed less and less likely that the Japanese automaker will release an STI model, despite the fervent pleas of their fans. In fact, a few weeks ago an anonymous insider was reported saying that Subaru had no plans whatsoever to develop a BRZ STI. Apparently the WRZ STI is the only car in their lineup that warrants the STI treatment.

You can understand why Subaru and their partner Toyota/Scion would want to leave the BRZ/GT86/FR-S as-is – they’ve said from the beginning that the three coupes were intended to offer excellent handling at an affordable price, which they do. Still, we want more! And it seems that the good folks over at Cosworth have finally heard our cry.

Check out this sweet teaser video Cosworth released of the upcoming Subaru BRZ FA-20 Power Package:

For those of you who don’t know, Cosworth has been involved in F1 racing for decades, supplying their own engines and mechanics to championship race cars as far back as the late ‘60s. Their engines have claimed 176 wins in 50 years, second only to Ferrari. In addition, they offer engineering consultancy, specialized performance electronics and bespoke precision manufacturing to major automakers. Now, they’re turning their attention to the BRZ/GT86 to pick up the slack.

Unfortunately, the teaser video isn’t very specific about what exactly the FA-20 Power Package will include. Still, there are a few obvious additions… For starters, the car in the video clearly has an enormous rear spoiler and a sleek front spoiler to go with it. We can also see indications that Cosworth will incorporate a new performance exhaust system, tune the suspension and upgrade the tires. Best of all, the video clearly spends some time panning around the engine, implying that we’ll see some sort of upgrade on that front; perhaps a turbocharger or something similar. Plus, the FA-20 name actually comes from the 2.0L Boxer engine that Subaru uses in the BRZ – it’s designated as the FA20 engine, derived from the old FB engine line.

Believe it or not, Cosworth actually previewed this FA20 Power Package in November of last year at the LA Motor Show. They called it the Stage 1 Power Package, and in addition to the new performance exhaust system, it also included a completely new ECU. At the time, they had this to say about the FA20 Power Package: “The Cosworth Stage 1 has been designed from the outset to operate as a complete tuning solution with all components working in complete harmony.”

As you can see, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the Subaru BRZ FA20 by Cosworth, but there’s one thing we do now – it’s definitely going to come. And that’s a lot more than we could ever say about Subaru’s own BRZ STI.

Scion FR-S Sedan Variant Possibly Set to Launch by 2016

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Since the highly acclaimed Scion FR-S triplets are so popular, it’s no wonder there are so many different rumors about new FR-S-based models. Fortunately, rumors are half the fun of journalism, so we jumped at the chance to look into the latest lead about the Toyota-Subaru sports cars. This one says that we can expect a four-door Scion FR-S sedan by the end of 2016. This is in addition to the FR-S convertible that we’d been promised sometime at the end of this year or beginning of next.

Scion FR-S Coupe

Obviously, the first step in creating a Scion FR-S sedan would be stretching out the coupe. According to Motor Trend, an insider from Toyota estimates that a sedanified FR-S would be 20 inches longer and 4 inches taller while the width would remain the same. Apparently, this is the bare minimum adjustment required for the FR-S to comfortably fit in a back seat without diminishing the sports car’s sleek aesthetic.

But, the size of the FR-S won’t be the only element getting expanded. A bigger car demands a bigger engine, so Toyota is going to upgrade the FR-S sedan with a new turbocharged engine. More specifically, it will be a Subaru-sourced 2.5L BOXER engine with direct-injection and an output of 295hp. The engine will pair up with an eight-speed automatic transmission available only in RWD. Best of all, this new turbocharged engine will also become available in the normal FR-S coupe, perhaps even before the debut of the new sedan.

However, while the turbocharged BOXER will make it into the coupe, the other powertrain option for the Scion FR-S sedan won’t. The second powertrain will use an upgraded Subaru engine with RWD mated with two electric motors on the front wheels. This hybrid system will effectively make the hybrid FR-S into an AWD vehicle.

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept

Unfortunately, this is where we get into the pessimistic part of this article. As your automotive news source of choice, we have to warn you that these rumors are entirely unconfirmed. While we’re likely to see an FR-86 convertible (as seen by the FT-86 Open Concept, above), a sedan variant is completely unfounded outside this rumor. Furthermore, even if it is true, we’re not sure when it will happen, or if the FR-S sedan will be rebadged with Subaru’s and Toyota’s nameplates.

Still, if you’re willing to take an optimistic perspective on this rumor, then there are a couple other tidbits you probably want to know – the FR-S sedan’s projected price and timeline. According to the Toyota insider, the normal FR-S sedan will debut at the beginning of 2016 for around $40,000. This is also when the FR-S coupe will start being offered with the new turbocharged engine. Then, several months later, the hybrid FR-S sedan will launch for an estimated $50,000.

Whether you’re willing to ride the Scion FR-S sedan hype train or not, thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for more Japanese car goodness!

Toyota May Manufacture a GT-86 Sedan by 2015

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Toyota GT-86 Sedan

For some, the Toyota GT-86 is the only redeeming car in the monumental Japanese brand’s entire lineup. For others, it’s just one more reason why Toyota is such a dominant force in the global automotive industry. No matter how you feel about Toyota, though, chances are you’d like to see more of the co-developed Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ. Well, according to an anonymous inside source at Toyota, we may be getting more than we bargained for sooner than we’d hoped.

It was just earlier this year at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show that we first saw Toyota’s vision for a convertible Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S. Unfortunately, word made it through the rumor mill a few weeks ago that progress will be stalled on the development of a soft-top GT-86 for the time being. However, news sources report that a sedan version of the GT-86 coupe may be in the works. Furthermore, the GT-86 sedan may actually make it into dealerships before the convertible version.

Why? I hear you cry. Good question. After all, Ferrari et al take a more traditional coupe -> convertible route, so what’s this coupe -> sedan idea they’ve gotten into their mixed-up heads?

All About the Toyota GT-86 Sedan

According to the reports, the Toyota GT-86 sedan variant will feature a wheelbase that’s about 4 inches longer than the original coupe to account for the extra passenger space in the back. In addition, the sedan may get a reworked grill – one that will apparently evoke a Japanese samurai sword (don’t ask me what that would look like).

As far as powertrain configurations, the sedan will likely keep the 2.0L boxer currently in the original GT-86/FR-S as one option, at least. However, there is rumor that a hybrid version of the Toyota GT-86 sedan may employ the same super-capacitor system that we saw in the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month. The Hybrid-R system would enable the sedan to offer 268hp as opposed to the flat 200hp currently available in the regular GT-86 coupe.

For the time being, we have no idea whether or not there will be a sedan iteration made for the Scion FR-S or the Subaru BRZ. And either way, the Toyota insider tells us that we probably won’t see anything in show rooms until early 2015 or even 2016.

What If the GT-86 Sedan is All Made Up?

Sadly, anytime we have a story that stems solely from an anonymous tip, it must be taken into consideration that the report is inaccurate or even made up.

This wouldn’t be the first time that an online automotive news-source “confirmed” a made-up car, either. In fact, in 2010 there was a very similar rumor about a GT-86 sedan which told us that the new iteration would be in show rooms by 2013.

If there is justice in the world, then this time the report of a GT-86 sedan is perfectly true. You can read the story for yourself here. Be sure to let us know your thoughts on its authenticity in the comments below. Either way, the only way to truly verify the authenticity of a GT-86 sedan is for Toyota to make a public statement…  Hopefully they’ll clear the air at one of the remaining motor shows this season.  We’ll definitely let you know as soon as we learn more.

Until then, thanks for reading!