Despite the “I see what you did there” title, here it is, one of the most highly anticipated FR-S builds from Tokyo Auto Salon. I suspect for some of you it might be a little hard to sustain enthusiasm for the ZN6 at the moment, due largely to the massive saturation of the car, particularly in Japan this month. With a record number of 91 of these things showing up at the show, I have to admit that while I am a bit tired of the car, TAS has certainly changed my opinion of it.
You see, initially, I was a bit skeptical about the car. I know that might sound shocking to some of you, particularly now with the hindsight we have of its incredible success, but I was one of the very few naysayers prior to the car’s launch. It wasn’t that I didn’t love the idea: a sporty RWD compact car that virtually anyone on any budget can afford. To the contrary, I am and always have been all for it.
But the general consensus within the scene was a prevailing idea of “one car to save the industry” and, put plainly, that’s a pretty tall order. It’s a burden I certainly wouldn’t want placed upon my shoulders as a car manufacturer, but it’s a challenge that Toyota/Scion/Subaru have accepted and subsequently owned. I think it’s safe to say they smashed through everybody’s expectations.
There is no doubt in my mind that this chassis has changed the automotive climate, and not just in the tuning scene. I know I keep hammering on about it, but with 91 of these on display at Auto Salon it was the highest concentration of any chassis, ever. It was this car alone, a car that didn’t even exist a year prior, that was so popular that the event spread into a fourth hall for the first time, ever. That’s mind blowing stuff.
The 2013 Tokyo Auto Salon will go down in the books as the year that the tuning scene turned around after being faced with dwindling interest in years prior. In a time when it seems everyone is more concerned with their phones than their cars, there has been a massive resurgence of interest in the the tuning world. One car to save the industry indeed. That’s pretty impressive stuff no matter how you slice it.
Obviously the other car manufacturers can’t help but notice the overwhelming response that the media, tuners and general public have given the car. Whether you love it or hate it, this can only mean good things as the OEMs usually only see things in dollar-signs and the ZN6 has proved that the cheap sports car model is still something people are interested in. This spells a brighter future for all petrol heads.
So bearing all of that in mind, as much as I might want to grit my teeth at the sight of another one of these cars (and trust me, there will only be more on the way), there is a part of me that gets a lot of satisfaction out of it. The ZN6 is our savior. I thought it was impossible, but I’ve witnessed the miracle on two separate occasions (SEMA and TAS) and now I’m a believer.
In fact the cars were so popular that Dino and I were joking that the chassis would be a best-seller based on tuner shops snatching up models to use as product test beds alone. But of course these initial investments lead to aftermarket parts development, the whole reason most people attend TAS, aside from shooting perverted model photos of course.
But of all the real world I-could-actually-replicate-that-with-off-the-shelf-parts demo cars, I’d have to say that this example was by far the most interesting that I came across at the show. Ironically, I had actually shot this car just prior to its entry into the Makuhari Messe, but after scouring the show for several days it became increasingly more obvious how much of a standout the car actually is.
It’s nothing if not a looker, that’s for sure. Since TRA-Kyoto get most of the credit, it’s hard to remember that this now-legendary body kit is actually a collaboration between GReddy and Rocket Bunny, and one that is actually sold under the GReddy namesake. You can call it “played out” or whatever you like, but you certainly can’t call it ugly.
I’m generally a fan of most of Miura-san’s work, but I think he really nailed it with this kit. While almost all of his creations look sensational, this one just looks like it belongs on the car, like an extension of was already in place. On the FR-S his trademark breaks and lines flow so nicely that they seem as if they had lived there all along.
Around back there is an equally happy-to-coexist-with-the-stock-bodylines rear diffuser-thingie. While I’m not an aerodynamicist, I’d wager a guess that it probably doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot in terms of performance, but it sure is a nice place to showcase a killer exhaust like the GReddy GTS.
When you think of it that way, the idea of promoting their brand through a bodykit is ingenious, because it subliminally draws attention to parts they’re more traditionally know for. GReddy has built up one of the best reputations in the industry based on hard parts like exhaust systems and turbo kits, which is exactly what they aim to promote with this particualar car.
In true GReddy fashion, they have assembled an easy-to-install bolt-on turbo upgrade for the FR-S/86/BRZ that is reminiscent of the very items which brought them to fame.
It’s a pretty simple kit which revolves around a T518Z turbo. The setup is designed to work with factory engine internals and as such is a fairly basic layout that gives a modest but welcomed bump in power of around 100 horses. As you can probably guess, the aim with this piece is reliable usable power rather than all-out-numbers, which is probably much better suited for the average 86 owner.
For those interested in some prolonged spirited driving (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), GReddy have also come up with a trick 10-row oil cooler kit to keep oil temps in check. All together I think this is a very reasonable package which can safely turn the 86 from a nimble but gutless ride into something capable of puckering the old butthole on occasion.
Inside the cockpit the team at Trust haven’t changed very much, in actuality only a change to the seating environment has been carried out. Anyone who has driven one of these cars can tell you that’s not such a bad thing though, considering how much thought was put into making this a driver’s car from the factory.
A pair of Racetech buckets and some TRS harnesses to lock you in place is about all you really need.
Of course the matching red must-have TRS tow strap doesn’t hurt either.
The footwork has also been kept appropriately modest, with a set of GReddy Type-S dampers being the only modification to the suspension. With adjustable ride height, camber and damping rate this should be enough to see some pretty decent gains in the handling department.
The final piece of the puzzle is a set of ultra-light Volk G25 wheels which seem to be a circular metaphor for the rest of the car: hip, high tech and easy on the eyes. Wrapped in a set of sticky-but-streetable Advan Neova tires, this is probably one of the best additions anyone looking for a quick boost in performance can do, though it won’t come cheap. Just remember, you get what you pay for.
So there it is ladies and gentlemen, the GReddy FR-S. But before closing, I know there’s probably one final question many of you will have on your mind – why on earth did they import a Scion FR-S instead of using a Toyota 86? Is it to add some exotic USDM LHD flavor? Are they making some kind of a statement? Do they like to live their lives a quarter mile at a time?
In reality the answer is much simpler than that, it all comes down to cost. At the $25,255 sticker price that Scion offers the FR-S it is actually cheaper to buy one of these outright and ship it back to Japan than it is to go down to a local Toyota dealer and order an 86, if they even have one in stock. It might sound shocking but I hope it can serve as a wakeup call to how good we have it in America. So if you’ve been on the fence about purchasing an FR-S of your own, head on down to the dealership and make it happen- before they’re all exported to Japan.
2012 GReddy Scion FR-S
2.0L Turbocharged 4U-GSE boxer engine; GReddy turbo kit (includes stainless turbo manifold, polished aluminum piping, intercooler, T518Z turbo), comfort sport GTS exhaust, 10-row oil cooler kit, oil filter, radiator cap
ENGINE MANAGEMENT AND ELECTRONICS
EcuTek EMS; GReddy multi D/A gauges
SUSPENSION / CHASSIS
GReddy Type-S performance dampers
WHEELS / TIRES
18×9.5″ +35 (f) / 18×9.5″ +22 (r) Volk Racing G25 wheels; 22mm spacer (f) / 32mm spacer (r); 255/35R18 Yokohama Advan Neova tires
Racetech seats; TRS harnesses
GReddy x Rocket Bunny body kit (includes front lip, side skirts, front and rear over fenders, rear diffuser, rear spoiler); TRS tow straps
276hp @ 7170RPM; 218lb-ft @ 4780RPM
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
photo by Sean Klingelhoefer
What's the color of this fr-s? And notice the front bumper is different or the color is just different on the upper grill
Great shots of a great car. I am truly amazed at the quality of work in these SH posts. Thanks for the effort!
I could never live with the look of that mediaconsole-thingy/Radio. Ridiculous! Actually all the BRZ/FR-S I've seen seem to have it. For the 86 you can get a Sat-Nav Screen unit, which looks modern an "ok" for that part. Is that exclusive to Toyota?
91 cars, that's about 60 companies spreading themselves very thin on the 86.
What parts do you choose.
As far as aero goes, I think we've seen 1 company that will do well until it's copied by someone.
Great story, Sean. I too was a non-believer and really felt there was no way the car could possibly live up to all the hype during its very long lead up to production. But now that I've thrashed a few around race tracks in both stock and modified form, I'm completely in love with the car. Obsessed even. It's such a pure driver's car, so unbelievably tactile in the way it communicates, it pains me not to own one.
can't believe i read all the comments. guess thats the other experience of being on speedhunters. great discussion and insight to other countries. Even though being in the states and having an affordable car, most people (IMO) still need or have saved money to purchase a car like this. but i think we also have the benefit of getting a car loan as opposed to other countries they straight out pay cash for everything. Wonder why the US is such in an economic crisis? :) my2cents
I'm falling in love with the GT86...it's a bit priceyhere in Italy at 30k euro but I'd really like to own one...I'll just have to wait a bit more that the first used cars start to appear on the market...
I am still in love with the ZN6! I wonder if it would be cheaper to import one to the UK. One of my big goals for the next 18 months is to own a GT86, however the price for a new one in the UK is huge compared to the States. We pay £25k, thats a touch under 40 grand in USD! Might be something to consider or just buy one of the early 2 year old cars next year.
Also, that is one busy engine bay.
It's nice, but after all the 86/FRS/BRZ goodness of TAS I've got bored of the Rocket Bunny kit. Hoping tuning companies will start exploring other options now that there are some.
its kinda funny how you say that the ZN6 is the car to save the tuning industry, and yet almost everyone totally forgot that there was actually one other "cheap and fun" RWD sports car that existed several years back. Anyone remembered the Hyundai Genesis Coupe? Its kinda sad how people just ignores that car just because its Korean and doesn't have the history that the GT86 has, but for the price and performance its a bargain compared to the 86! Then again, I think Hyundai kinda failed marketing the Genesis Coupe to begin with, and not selling them outside North America, Korea & China. Otherwise, I think there will be more tuners willing to build parts for the Genesis Coupe. Just my honest opinion here...
I am also getting a little tired of seeing these cars, but a nicely excuted 1like this is always worth a read.
man, i'm so keen in about 5 years or so when I actually have money and these have come down in price. They will be the ultimate grassroots dorifuto car.
"I suspect for some of you it might be a little hard to sustain enthusiasm for the ZN6 at the moment, due largely to the massive saturation of the car, particularly in Japan this month."
Eventually, in my opinion, people will begin ignoring this chassis altogether, kinda like that kid in school who's too good for everyone.
I really like this particular car, but with a 12.5:1 comp. ratio and a turbo, I'm not so sure how reliable the engine is (or will last).
I'd rather go the extra mile, build the bottom end with forged internals (and lower comp. ratio pistons) THEN boost the sucker!
@maxproof I think it's an option for BRZ, but the FR-S definitely doesn't have it, which is part of the reason it's so cheap.
@DavidPratte Thanks Dave, it really is a marvel isn't it? I was actually just reading your article on AutoGuide (which everyone should read and/or watch the video - http://www.autoguide.com/car-comparisons/2013-scion-frs-vs-2013-hyundai-genesis-coupe-20t-rspec-2103.html ) where you compared the car to the new 2.0T Genesis (which I haven't driven) and I think that pretty well sums up just how different the two cars are, despite "appearing" to be so similar.
@pesugob6 Oh man, the reason why the US is in an economic crisis is a problem so complex we could devote an entire website to it. In a nut shell though, if more people would go out and buy brand new FR-Ss or BRZs it would boost the economy. The worst thing you can do in a time of economic depression is to save your money, and in our Walmart-driven society saving money has become king, which furthers our bad situation.
@Jordan_Burgess Ya I know what you mean, but given that the kit is literally a joint venture between GReddy and TRA Kyoto it only makes since that their own demo car would be wearing the kit they sell ;)
@Muzaffar Musa Ya it's unfortunate as the Genesis isn't a bad car, however having driven both cars hard, the Genesis is not on the same performance index as the FR-S. And the 2.0L turbo model isn't even worth buying IMO, the V6 is considerably better but by that time you're looking at $30k to get it off the lot and I still don't think it's as exciting as the $25k FR-S.
Regardless, at the end of the day the plain fact of the matter is that the ZN6 is making huge waves all across the world and the Genesis didn't. Nothing anyone can do about it now.
Surely you've driven a car past its limits before, right? You know the feeling of, "I got it, I got it, I got it... ohh no, maybe not!" That's but one example of a butthole puckering experience. Try it sometime, they're quite fun.
@aussieANON I know the feeling and I think there are a lot of people in the same boat as you are. It's pretty tough walking down to a dealer and slapping down cash on a car that is going to devalue itself immediately and then you'll do further damage with your intended modifications. It's much easier to swallow "messing up" a cheaper used car which longer has a warranty to worry about.
@JonathanLi Very interesting.
@KillerRaccoon Good catch!
@apex_DNA I actually disagree, aside from the inevitable fanboy coverage (no offence to you fanboys, after all it is new and exciting). After its moment in the limelight, it will go through a period of being "played out" but then the car will become something of a grassroots fun car, a bit like a miata that doesn't have to overcome a "girly" complex.
@JDMized In a perfect world we'd all have the money to build motors but I suspect most BRZ/FRS/GT86 owners won't have another 3-6K laying around for built engines and standalones. This kit and many others are a great way to get some more so-called 'bolt-on' power. I'm sure in good time when these cars begin to age and depreciate, we'll see more built motors and more boost being implemented. Heck, our GarageFRS project car has an HKS supercharger that runs a measly 5psi but HKS already has a boost-up version coming.
@JDMized In a perfect world it's definitely the "right" way to go, but as Dino has mentioned I believe there is so little boost that there isn't much to be concerned about. I highly doubt that someone like GReddy would put their name behind a product that is just to go out and cook pistons lol.
@JDMized To be fair, not everyone has to deal with 91 octane pee-gas.
@sean klingelhoefer @DavidPratte Heh, thanks for the plug, Sean :) I'm really looking forward to seeing how the FR-S fares in World Challenge this year, not to mention Time Attack and other types of racing.
Lesson of the day, purchase the FR-S or BRZ, not only will you have a fun ride to role around in, but you will be saving the US economy!!
Lesson learned! :)
@sean klingelhoefer You raise a good point as always, Sean. Still, I do hope some other tuners start looking at other kits :)
@sean klingelhoefer as I have never driven both cars before, its kinda hard to argue that the fact that maybe you are right. The 86 is no doubt a better handling car and probably a lot more fun to drive as well! (it was after all, the fundamentals of making the 86) Even when the first concept showed up 2009, there were already a lot of interest on the car so the popularity of the car is inevitable. Anyhow, the current Genesis Coupe 2.0 is a lot more powerful compared with the previous model, so a V6 is not really necessary. Maybe with a weight reduction and a few handling mods it can be a pretty fun car to drive.
As for stock to stock comparison though, I think the 86 wins hands down. However I think I would still take a Gen Coupe just to be different, haha. (my dad and brother happens to drive Hyundai, and I currently own a Hyundai i10 as well. Maybe I'm just a bit bias here)
@sean klingelhoefer I think it'll be sort of the S13 of the next generation. As the S13 is a cheap shitty car to thrash around in, that turns gud and has lots of parts, the 86 will hopefully be like that.
Now, what we need is that toyota/BMW collab to produce a Supra, Nissan to get their shit together and make an S16/cheap Z35, and it will surely be a glorious time to be alive.
@AceAndrew2 I know exactly what you mean, but I feel like I haven't made myself clear enough, and it should've sounded something like this instead: "Eventually with the way things are going right now, people who are NOT into the new 86 will begin to ignore this chassis altogether, kinda like the kids that don't wanna play with the kid who's got it all."
@sean klingelhoefer Sean, 0.5 bar is what? 8-9 psi? We all know that people who buy turbo kits are the ones that like to hop the boost (but in this case they're limited by the super high comp.). I'm sure Greddy tested for several months now and the kit works just fine, but imagine doubling the boost (which isn't stratospheric to begin with)....blown head-gasket, cracked rods. In other words, buying this kit (which I'm sure is more than legit) to be stuck with .5 bar, doesn't leave much on the table. I still think a forged bottom end (maybe a stroker kit) with the turbo, will allow the customer to hop the boost and really get some power out of that little FA20.
@petertarach @Muzaffar Musa @sean klingelhoefer that's a very valid point and since the two are rarely seen side by side, it's an easy assumption to make based on their body shapes that they are similar in size, when in reality the Genesis is much larger and also about 600 lbs heavier. MotoIQ did a cool comparo a while back that quickly puts the car's dimensions into perspective. http://www.motoiq.com/magazine_articles/id/2279/86-under-the-skin-technical-details-on-the-toyotasubaruscion-86gt-86fr-sbrz.aspx
@Muzaffar Musa @sean klingelhoefer Sean's right here. The Genesis Coupe was a flop mainly due to its poor performing 2.0L turbo and overall the car lacked the kind of excitement the FRS/BRZ bring. If you drive them back to back you'll know exactly what I mean.
The new 2.0L turbo for the new Gen is much better so that's a good start but you have to remember the Genesis Coupe is still much bigger then the ZN6 and I think that's why it's being praised so much. It's been a long time since we've had a car this size built for the masses.
@Muzaffar Musa Ya I mean no doubt about it, on paper the Genesis should have been a more popular car than it was - especially when it first launched and had virtually no competition. But I think it's time is still yet to come, as they begin to get cheaper and cheaper I think people will start to pick them up and do really radical things with them.
@sean klingelhoefer @JDMized Majority of factory kits are around 5-8 psi so it sounds about right...
@JDMized @sean .5 bar is roughly 7psi, and given the relatively small size of the turbo that's a fairly low-volume 7psi. Of course people will do whatever they like and cranking the boost up is inevitable for some people, but should they keep the factory settings I think it will prove to be quite a reliable setup. Besides which, a 150% increase in power is nothing to laugh at, those 100hp will definitely be very noticeable.