With little else left to do but to clean the carpets and lock the doors, the fading Scion division has begun the process of preparing its products to play for team Toyota. While several models will make the move to Toyota showrooms, itâs the well-being of the FR-S sports car that most concerns us. To aid the transition, it appears Toyota is giving the FR-S some well-deserved upgrades and, despite official reports to the contrary, a change of name.
When the 2017 version debuts next week at the 2016 New York auto show, it will do so wearing â86â badging, leaving its FR-S name behind with the rest of the Scion-branded detritus. While it may not be the European-spec GT86 moniker that many enthusiasts had hoped for from the start, it at least shares the â86â tag with the car as sold in Asia, South Africa, South America, and Australia.
Take notice, dilettantes, because the upgrades in the engine compartment apply only to cars equipped with the manual transmission. Horsepower and torque are both up by five, the 2.0-liter flat-four now producing 205 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. Mild improvements to be sure, but a new, as-yet-unspecified revised gearing comes onboard to make the most of it. No word on when or if the automatic car will get a power bump or revised ratios of its own, so you best start exercising your left legÂ right now. All 86s get new damper tuning and spring rates that are said to enhance control and agility. (Toyota hasn’t mentioned if its Subaru BRZ twin will be getting similar upgrades.)
Visually, the 86 marks the new beginning with a larger front air intake, reconfigured LED headlamps and turn signals, and a restyled bumper. The rear gets a revised bumper and LED taillamps. New âtwisted spokeâ aluminumÂ wheels fill the wheel wells, and â86â logos appear on the fenders and even inside the headlamps.
Inside, a new âGrandluxâ material appears on the instrument-panel surround and door trim, while another, unspecified, new material is used for the seating surfaces. The new steering wheel features integrated audio controls and, of course, an 86 logo on the center hub.
Toyota is so jacked about the 86 joining the team that itâs sending it out on the road with racers Ken Gushi and Ryan Tuerck, who will join series champion Frederic Aasbo in defending its title in the Formula Drift Manufacturers Championship. Whether these factors, including the name change and new venue of commerce, will translate into improved sales when the 2017 Toyota 86 hits showrooms in the fall of 2016 remains to be seen. We’re just glad the car is sticking around.
2016 New York Auto Show Full Coverage