By on July 30, 2012

One of the most popular “Out of Thin Air” stories over the last 24 months has concerned the existence of a factory turbocharged Scion FR-S. In second place, the existence of a convertible Scion FR-S. At long last, a reliable source of information has confirmed their existence – but we won’t be getting them.

Automotive News’ future product plans for the Japanese OEMs contained this nugget of information from reporter Mark Rechtin

Because pricing of the base FR-S starts above $25,000, the idea of a turbocharged performance version has been shelved because it would be too expensive. Drivers who want more power will get aftermarket kits from Toyota Racing Development, or other kit suppliers, but there will be no retail version.

The convertible also is a no-go for the United States because of the price issue. It will sell in overseas markets with the Toyota “86” badge

Hopefully that puts to rest the endless rumors surrounding these variants. The constant hand-wringing will only grow stronger following their release in “world markets”, no doubt.


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32 Comments on “You Heard It Here Second: No Turbo, Convertible Scion FR-S For America...”

  • avatar

    There’s nothing to stop Subaru from offering a factory turbocharged version in the United States.

    Denying a convertible version of this car to the United States is an act of pure idiocy, considering that most buyers of the Scion brand are well into their 50s.

    • 0 avatar

      But the Subaru is already more expensive than the Scion and is selling more slowly…

      Anyhow, the TRD-supported turbo seems like it fills the gap just fine. The dealer will install it and Toyota’s warrany is still in effect. What’s the big loss of a prepackaged model with a turbo when a turbo is available? Seems better to me to offer it a-la-carte without autoclimate and leather and a ton of other luxury items to justify the price difference anyway. Aren’t people always clamoring for more options like this and decrying preset option packages?

      In short, why the hand-wringing?

      • 0 avatar

        I’d be curious to see what the real differences between a TRD kit-equipped car and the actual turbo version being planned are. Bolt-on kits have never been the way to go if you want real, reliable power. Will internals be the same? Heads, cams, etc…

      • 0 avatar

        The Subaru is selling more slowly not b/c of demand but b/c they are only producing 6,000 for the 2013 model year whereas Scion has 10,000 (almost 2x more). Subaru dealers mainly have long waiting lists and their entire allotment is sold out as well. I’m #5 out of 7 for the BRZ locally but I can go down and now buy a FR-S at the Scion dealer. I’ll just wait for my BRZ which comes base with the options I truly wanted (HID / Navigation – the reason why the BRZ base model costs a thousand more than the FR-S).

      • 0 avatar



        I have no idea why people are so staunchly supporting the Scion over the Subaru when the Scion comes with less leading to its lower cost. It’s as if they want to believe the FRS will do better simply because it’s cheaper. It’s as if they want to believe it’s better because it has different springs.

        Both cars are ridiculously overhyped. I don’t even give a damn about small cars and the HYPE GOT ME to drive them both and make videos of them on my Youtube. Nice cars and all, but you suddenly realize, this thing isn’t as fast as it should be.

    • 0 avatar

      I hope Subaru DOES offer this, despite their chief development people saying they won’t. It’s the only thing that will set the BRZ apart from the FR-S, and reading the sales numbers they could use the distinguish…ment. If that’s a word.

  • avatar

    IF the aftermarket FI kits to be provided by Toyota Racing Development (that are apparently DIY installs?; anyone?) are not covered by, or otherwise meddle with the factory warranty, then:



    (Crowds begin to gather, from time to time throwing ripe tomatoes and other objects at Toyota, while growing increasingly raucous)

    • 0 avatar

      When I opted for the Turbo on my xB I had to have them install it if I wanted to keep my warranty but since it’s just a bolt-on deal I could just take it off and go to the dealer for factory warranty work. I understand the TRD Turbo is good for a flat 35-40 HP on the 2.4L without upping pressure.

    • 0 avatar

      TRD parts allow you to maintain your full factory warranty as long as they’re dealer installed so if you buy it from the dealer ticking off the TRD options it’s basically as good as if it were factory. The only thing is that you have to pay for the installation.

  • avatar

    Does Toyota/Lexus/Scion even offer a convertible at this point? The only ones that come to mind would be SC430 and Solara, both of which I believe are gone for 2012.

    • 0 avatar

      There is so the Lexus IS 250/350 convertible, but they don’t seem to sell in large volume.

    • 0 avatar

      28, you’re not the only one. They come with retractable hard tops but the execution isn’t really up to Lexus standards. The styling with the top up is awkward (then again, so was the SC430, so perhaps this is Lexus standard), they rattle, and the chassis structure is, ahem, less than stellar. Oh yeah, they’re a bit pricey. As a result, I don’t believe there are many on the road. Even here in Convertible Heaven (aka, Northern California) they are rare sights.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        Ironically I’ve seen quite a few SC-430’s and IS convertibles up here in Toronto. I suppose the people with more money than sense would choose an open-air Lexus for Construction season. I mean Summer.

      • 0 avatar

        Freddy I was just in your fair city over the weekend, I never saw so much construction, are you guys building a third Death Star too?

        Spotted one or two SC430 convertibles while I was up there, and a fracking Lambo too.

      • 0 avatar
        Freddy M

        @ 28 Cars Later Below: Sorry i can’t seem to reply to your message. Yes, we have 2 seasons here. Winter and Construction. Nearly every major thoroughfare during summer is being re-built or closed for cleaning.

        And I suppose the amount of really nice cars up here (saw like 5 458 Italias over the past 4 months and handful of R8’s MP4-12C’s and Astons, is because Toronto is the center of the Universe — I mean as far as Canada is concerned.

        I guess that’s why the rest of Canada hates us so much. Oh, and completion of the Death Star is proceeding on schedule.

  • avatar

    I understand why they wouldn’t offer the turbo, and with TRD selling a warranteed kit then thats a non-issue IMO.

    But the convertible option being dropped for the US when they already will develop and sell it in other countries is stupid. This would be the 4-seat Miata, and there are basically no other competitors for it. Buyers of convertibles are less price-sensitive, since a convertible sports car is much more of a emotional purchase. I bet it comes here anyway eventually.

  • avatar

    I also don’t see the issue about selling the convertible in the U.S. if it’s already being made for smaller markets. But that seems to be the case with so many interesting models I stopped asking “why?” a long time ago. There must be some crazy economics going on that just confounds me. Really, can crash testing a few more cars really be that much of a deal breaker?

    A dealer installed turbo kit is ok, but ultimately costs more than a factory-installed package (extra labor costs and paying for parts you’re tossing away anyways).

    I’m still eager to drive a standard version of this car. It’s getting nearly impossible to enjoy a really powerful car on the roads around me (or perhaps I’m still bitter about that speeding ticket I got last week in the Corvette… and I wasn’t even speeding… this time) so I’m thinking something fun and revvy that won’t get you arrested in second gear sounds just about perfect. I loved my old Miata but I have two small kids now so even the small back seats make it an infinitely more reasonable solution.

    • 0 avatar

      Some low volume Japanese cars are only made wrong side drive. The UK get some of these wonders, while the US does not.

      America may well have tougher, or at least different, crash or rollover standards than other countries; or perhaps simply a higher litigation risk; making convertibles a tougher sell here. We are also pretty well served by ‘Stangs and the like, compared to most of the world.

      A third possibility is that the mothership’s brand is so dependent on a reputation for rock solid reliability, that risking any bad press over a less thoroughly tested, small volume, model, may not be worth it.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess as to the reason why they aren’t selling them here, is because it’d push the price of the car past the point where they may not be able to sell enough of them profitably. A few crunched prototypes isn’t expensive, but building a bunch of cars that sit on lots and end up getting discounted, will be. A convertible and/or turbo version would likely push the price point beyond what they’d be able to sell profitably. Moreover, a convertible doesn’t fit in either Scion or Subaru’s lineups, though it would be more appropriate as a Toyota.

      So far, it looks like Toyota seems to have picked fairly modest but spot-on targets, for FRS and BRZ sales.

      I believe the biggest culprit here is probably the Yen’s increase in value against the USD during the economic crisis, and it’s likely the reason why the FRS isn’t slightly cheaper. I’m fairly certain they’d bring it over, if they could price the ‘vert at the same price point as the FRS now.

      Short detour regarding pricing: A friend of mine in AU said the 86 ended up being priced far less than anticipated to the point where online pre-sales, which required a $1000 deposit, filled up in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in the US people felt the car should be priced less.
      @stevelovescars – I think the costs and profitability also have a big factor too. In Japan, it seems to be fairly normal for a lot of very low volume niche cars to exist. The Supra was built all the way up to 2001, and I believe the RX7 was too. Japanese emissions and side-impact crash safety standards are much less stringent than the ones in the US as well.

      My guess is that if we did get a turbo version of the car, it’d likely be the BRZ, and, if by some incredible miracle we got a convertible version, it’d probably show up as a Toyota of some sort. But it all really comes out to how many people are willing to pay.

  • avatar


    Good news.

    You don’t need to put the whole paragraph in the link tags.

  • avatar

    A turbo would be limited to 5 or 6 psi for safe, reliable power. It’s not really worth the trouble of boosting because of the lack of forged engine internals.

    I don’t see why anyone would want a convertible FR-S when you consider how much the body would flex in corners. I wasn’t designed as a convertible.

    If you want an FR-S, choose it for what it is. Otherwise, get a Mustang or Miata.

    • 0 avatar

      +1! Exactly what I was thinking in less words. I think a supercharger might be worth the extra 5 or 6 PSI though.

    • 0 avatar

      5-7 psi seems pretty low for anything with performance credentials. Better to just build a proper turbo motor than sell a low pressure kit.

      I suppose Subaru is looking into boosted engines in the 1.6L size rather than 2000CC range these days, assuming they are planning to get involved in motorsport again. This is also assuming the motor is Subaru’s responsibility for both cars, which considering it’s a boxer I feel safe making.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Wasn’t this built with tuners in mind? I work with some young guys who’d spend serious cash on TRD parts if they drove one of these. Do you think an will develop like

  • avatar

    “due to overwhelming consumer interest, Scion has elected to bring the FR-S convertible to the States for the 2014 model year.”

    Is that how those things are usually written?

  • avatar

    Reason number 3493059354853981387 why this should’ve been badged a Toyota. It’s almost like Toyota accidentally admitted that they couldn’t further charge people for a Scion.

  • avatar

    Anyone who has owned the craptastic FJ Cruiser has heard horror stories of TuRD supercharger installation hack jobs by inept Toyota dealers.

    I doubt most Toyota techs know how to work on a boxer engine. And you’re expecting them to be able to install a turbo?

    The simple fact that no turbo or blower will be available for this car from the manufacturer means that you’ll have to buy a ridiculously overpriced kit from the dealer, then let him scalp you for a potentially halfassed installation.

    The way this car has been marketed, sold, marked up, and overhyped means you’ll be able to get a new one REAL CHEAP in the next few months.

  • avatar

    By the time you buy one, buy the turbo kit and have the dealer put it on, the car is $35,000+.

    5-7 psi of boost is not enough to net the kind of performance increase I’d be interested in, for that money.

    And there is nothing I know about the design and materials this engine was built with that would make me think putting on a turbo was a good idea, anyway.

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