Toyota’s new sub-86 sportscar, the S-FR
Toyota look set to do it again with a small sportscar, the S-FR.
Rumours have been around for a while that Toyota is keen to be cool again, and one way it’ll do that is to have a three-car sports lineup. There’s the 86 which we all know and love (this writer especially), above that a forthcoming large car that may be the next Supra, and below the 86 this, the S-FR concept which has just been teased in advance of the Toyko Motor Show later this month.
In North America the 86 is known as the FRS, or Front (engined), Rear (drive), Sports (car). By the way, Subaru’s BRZ equivalent is Boxer (engine), Rear (drive) and Zenith for ultimate. It looks like the S-FR is Sports, Front engined, Rear drive. Let’s hope the people in charge of names at Toyota think a bit harder and don’t call the “Supra” a R-FS or something. Either way, rear-drive is the recipe for fun, because you just can’t hold a drift in a front-driver.
We have images, but exact details are yet to be officially confirmed. The car will be smaller, lighter and cheaper than the 86 which in Australia starts at around $30,000 plus onroads for the base GT manual. Specifications look like a weight of 980kg (86 is 1250kg or so), which makes it around the same weight and probably size as Mazda’s new MX-5. Power seems to be 95kW or so from a 1.5L unit, which means a worse power-to weight ratio than the 86 with its 2.0L boxer engine.
Inside, there’s a few hints of the Lexus RC-F with the TFT-based central instrument panel and ring-style revcounter, as well as the driving modes.
The steering wheel looks familiar to 86 owners, but the addition of steering wheel controls is new. Toyota made a point of not placing any controls on the 86’s steering wheel, which as an owner never bothers me in the slightest. The 86 also had the smallest steering wheel ever fitted to a Toyota, but perhaps the S-FR will be smaller again. The buttons are volume up/down, and left-right select.
The stability control switch is on the right, under the steering wheel. Expect the S-FR to have drive modes like the RC F and RC350 – in the picture it shows two, Normal and Sport. There may be an additional mode of Expert which is likely to disable all traction and stability control except for ABS.
There’s good news in this picture:
First, a manual transmission – definitely a 6-speed – and there’s no mention of an automatic from Toyota. Second…a handbrake parkbrake. This car is going to spend a lot of time on motorkhanas and doing silly stuff like reverse j-turns so you need a handbrake for that sort of fun. The hazard lights are unusually placed on the passenger side, reflecting how small this vehicle is if the driver can still reach them.
More good news here:
Those seats look similar to the ones in the 86, which provide good support during maneuvers. Hopefully the S-FR will follow the 86’s lead and have reversible headrests so you can wear a helmet in comfort. Incredibly, the car is a 2+2 which is short for two adults, two babies in the back. The 86 is cramped enough as it is, the S-FR will be even more so.
Here’s a brief spec comparison:
|Toyota S-FR||Toyota 86||Mazda MX-5|
S-FR weight and power not officially confirmed.
And do you think this might have been the inspiration? Just perhaps.
That’s a Toyota S800 at the York Motor Museum in Western Australia.
We expect to see the S-FR around 2016 or maybe 2017. Can’t wait!
And here’s Toyota’s other attempt to be cool, the highly-regarded FJ Cruiser. More on that here.