Welcome to the first installment of a new Friday feature on AutoGuide: TGI FR-S. Focused on Scionís new sports car, itís not a review, or a behind the sceneís look at how the rear-drive Toyota came to be; rather itís one auto journalistís first-hand account of buying an FR-S, from the decision, to delivery, to life with perhaps the most hyped sports car of our time.
The Scion FR-S, Toyota GT 86, or Subaru BRZ is a car that is on the mind of almost every automotive enthusiast. Rather than just think about it, or even talk about it, Iíve decided to drive one, every day, putting down my hard earned cash and parking the back-to-basics sports car in my driveway.
Despite what you might think, it was not an easy decision. I jumped back and forth from buying a used car, to buying a new one. I thought I wanted a practical sedan, not a light and low sports coupe. In terms of performance, I wondered if Iíd like a turbo-charged four-cylinder, instead of the quirky flat-four found in the Scion.
As I said, it wasnít easy. My first choice for a new car was the Hyundai Veloster. It was stylish in a geeky way. It has tons of packaging, like navigation, a back-up camera, a hefty sound system, and it even has a practical element to it thanks to its third door.
However, it just wasnít tickling me in the right way. Itís engine was lacking a considerable amount of everything, and its ride was uncomfortably firm and twitchy. My mind told me to wait for the Turbo model coming this summer, but my heart wandered.
FIRST SIGHT: 2009 TOKYO AUTO SALON
The FR-S planted a seed in my mind years ago, back when I was a student and when I was still dreaming about being an automotive journalist. I remember the rumors of what was then called the ĎToyobaruí, in reference to its shared Subaru and Toyota heritage. Then there was the reveal of the FT concept car at the 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon. And then the years of waiting, with another updated concepts revealed every few months, further unravelling its charms to the world.
Those concepts had sharply sculpted headlights and a stylish interior that looked like an automotive version of Darwinís Missing Link, where a simple dash was trying to evolve into that of a spaceshipís.
Once unveiled in production form the finished product rekindled that image. It wasnít as crazy as the concepts, but it made up for it in one key way: pricing. It fit the price point, I had to at least give it a test drive.
Now employed as an auto journalist, I didnít have to wait for a chaperoned tour around the block by my local dealer, and found myself in an FR-S on a Saturday morning at a large autocross course. It ruined the rest of my car search. It changed my perspective on what an affordable sports car could be. It wasnít a big shouty Mustang or Camaro, it was something else. Yes, it was nimble, light weight and fun, but it was also a lesson.