The Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 are all essentially the same car and together they are probably one of the most misunderstood sports cars sold in America. Misunderstood you ask? Why yes. Many assume that the sexy coupé is rocket ship fast. It’s not. Many assume the svelte 2-door grips the road like it has claws. It doesn’t. Many have heard rumours that it wears Toyota Prius tires. It kinda-sorta does. What most people don’t know however is that these traits combine to create one of the purest, most enjoyable and certainly most affordable rear wheel drive sports cars in America.
In the same tradition as a classic lightweight English sports car, the 2+2 Scion FR-S’ raison d’être isn’t to eat Ford Mustangs for breakfast, it’s mission is to be the best balanced track car. And it succeeds. The 200HP and 151 lb-ft of torque are unquestionably low for our modern era where even a Camry cranks out more power, but the power is perfectly balanced to the car’s weight AND grip. The low-rolling resistance tires allow the FR-S to get just the right amount of tail-happy on a small track and the manual transmission is perfectly suited to an autocross style event.
Sure, putting the FR-S on a larger track like Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca reveals the FR-S is out-gunned by plenty of rivals, but doing so also misses the point. I like to think of the Scion/Toyota/Subaru as baby’s first track car, the kind of car you can use to hone your driving skills before moving up to a more-powerful, faster and deadlier vehicle. The key to loving this low-slung 2+2 is to understand what it is, and most importantly: what it isn’t.