Scion fans who wondered if they will lose the sporty FR-S when the brand goes away fear no more: Toyota announced Thursday that the former Scion FR-S will debut as the 2017 Toyota 86. Toyota had revealed last month that the Scion brand will be phased out leaving many to wonder what would happen to many of the vehicles sold under the youth-oriented banner.
The FR-S twin to the Subaru BRZ, has gained popularity since its introduction in 2013. The sports car powered by a signature Boxer engine, commonly found in Subaru vehicles.
When the news was first published, Toyota said the FR-S, along with the iA sedan, and the iM hatchback would move to the Toyota brand. The FR-S has always been marketed outside the United States as the Toyota 86. In addition to the 86 the Toyota Corolla iM and Toyota Yaris iA will join Toyota’s small car line-up.
“When we announced the transition of the Scion models to Toyota we hadn’t planned on changing the names of our cars, but by popular demand, for our sports car, we decided to adopt the global name of 86,” said Toyota Division Group Vice President, Bill Fay. “Enthusiasts have a strong association with the front-engine, rear-drive heritage of the ‘hachi-roku’ and the dynamic performance it offers.”
More importantly for fans of the FR-S, now the 86, the sports car will undergo some changes. The car adopts more aggressive styling with a larger center intake emphasizing the low, wide stance of the car. The front of the car has a new design with re-configured LED front headlamps and turn signals, and revised bumper. The rear now sports LED tail lamps and a new bumper design. The alloy wheels feature a twisted spoke design and 86 logos have been incorporated into a badge on the front fender, as well as inside the front headlamps and new multi spoke 17-inch wheels.
The interior also features the 86 logo on the new “Grandlux” material used on the instrument panel surround. Toyota says the same material adds a new, soft feel to the door trim. Drivers also will enjoy new seating material with silver stitching and a sporty steering wheel with integrated audio controls and an 86 logo on the center hub.
The areas that have been most criticized by reviewers and owners are also getting some much needed attention. The suspension gets tweaked with a shock tuning and a spring rate change. On the manual version of the car, there will be a gear ratio change and a torque increase to 156 lb.-ft, as well as a five-horsepower increase to 205 hp on all models. Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) helps prevent the car from rolling back on steep hills.
Friday’s announcement was made ahead of the New York Auto Show that will kick off March 25, and where the new Toyota 86 will make its American debut. Questions we hope to answer after the full debut include, the full name of the car (European news reveals it as the GT86), whether the engine will still be the Subaru Boxer and just what the starting MSRP will be.