2013 Scion FR-S: Track Tested

New Supercharger, New Attitude

  • 2013 Scion FR-S

    2013 Scion FR-S

    2013 Scion FR-S. | August 06, 2013

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Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Our 2013 Scion FR-S finally has some power courtesy of an Innovate Motorsports supercharger kit. Before forced induction, it would be kind to simply say our Scion was underpowered. With 184 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque at the wheels, it was annoyingly slow. But then came the FR-S supercharger kit boost to wipe the boredom out.

With its new blower, our FR-S put down 224 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheels. What's 40 hp mean when moving the Scion instead of a set of metal rollers? We took it to the track to find out.

Before we get to the numbers, however, some quick notes: The baseline numbers (the left column below) were recorded when our Yokohama Advan Neova AD08 tires were new and freshly broken in. After 15,000 miles, they've taken some wear and lost some grip, which explains why the FR-S actually had a slightly worse launch this time around. But as any drag racer knows, the ET is all about the launch, while the trap speed is where the power shows up and in our testing, as soon as the traction isn't an issue, the power takes over. By the time the quarter-mile clears, the supercharged FR-S has pulled out a half-second lead and is ahead by nearly 5 mph. Five!

Vehicle: Scion FR-S Scion FR-S Supercharged
0-30 (sec.): 2.3 2.5
0-45 (sec.): 4.2 4.1
0-60 (sec.): 6.5 6.3
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 6.2 6.0
0-75 (sec.): 9.6 8.7
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.8 @ 93.6 14.3 @ 98.5

Vehicle: 2013 Scion FR-S

Odometer: 19,761
Date: 7/16/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $24,930 (before mods)

Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed manual
Engine Type: Longitudinal, supercharged flat-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998/122
Redline (rpm): 7,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 224 @ 6,700 (at the wheels)
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 191 @ 5,500 (at the wheels)
Brake Type (front): 11.7-inch vented discs with two-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 11.5-inch discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent MacPherson struts, coil springs, lower control arms, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 245/40R17 (91W)
Tire Size (rear): 245/40R17 (91W)
Tire Brand: Yokohama
Tire Model: Advan Neova AD08
Wheel Size: 17-by-8.5 inches front and rear
Tire Type: Summer performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,766 (Previously 2,737)

Test Results:

0-30 (sec): 2.5 (2.6 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.1 (4.5 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.3 (6.8 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.0 (6.5 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 8.7 (9.4 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.3 @ 98.5 (14.7 @ 98.5 w/ TC on)

Note: Handling results were not repeated and are the same as tested here.

30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 107

Slalom (mph): 70.3
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 1.0

Acceleration: It was nice not bogging or stalling the 2013 Scion FR-S since the supercharger gives it a welcome dose of torque from a stop. With traction control off, it launched best at a completely reasonable 2,750 (compared to 6K-ish). For different reasons, the result is a very similar time/accel curve to the top of 1st gear, but that's where everything changes. Sadly, the shift to 3rd still occurs at 57 mph, but the rest of the run was (dare I say it?) enthusiastically thrilling. No heat-soak observed and trap speed was maintained for four passes.

(Once again, handling and braking notes are repeated from a previous test.)

Braking: Definitely got a better result here. Solid, consistent pedal feel. I suspect additional grip would mean dead brakes sooner on a track.


Skid pad: At last, real grip! After several trial-and-error tire pressure experiments we settled at 38.5 psi when hot, which produced the best feedback, response and balance.

We started the tires at 37.5 psi warm (street driving plus one lap of the pad in each direction after entering the speedway) because that's roughly where the tire shop left them: 35 psi cold, I presume. However, after five or six slalom passes they apparently warmed up even more, to 40 psi. After establishing both slalom and skid pad numbers at that pressure we dropped it, significantly. Went down to 34.5 psi. Did this for two reasons. First, we wanted to make a big enough change so that we could feel it. Second, 40 seemed way too high at this point.

At 34.5 psi hot there was significantly less response to steering input and the balance suffered on the pad. Understeer was more prominent and the car felt sluggish to come back from an understeering condition. Slalom times didn't change much, but times around the pad slowed down measurably. It made the big change we were looking for, but it wasn't good. So we pumped them back up to 38.5 psi hot.

At 38.5 the skid pad times improved again and both response and feel were back. This seemed to be the sweet spot where both skid pad lap times and feel were the best, so that's where I left it. From there, we experienced immense grip without compromise: very impressive for a wheel/tire swap.

Slalom: Feels marginally less tail-happy compared to the stock trim. Confident in quick transitions and retains the excellent feedback of the stock setup. Predictable, quick and fairly easy to drive here. First run was quicker than stock.


  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    Uhhhh......224HP minus 184HP is 40HP, not 30 HP. And you guys are gonna get killed for such weak numbers, You can't add almost 25% more power, and only net .2 in your 60. And rightfully so.

  • ayao ayao Posts:

    Next up - brakes...

  • The gain in horsepower with this particular supercharger kit seems modest. Vortech claims that its supercharger kit for the BRZ/FRS will increase horsepower to 294 and torque to 210. The Vortech kit is not cheap, but if I were thinking about aftermarket forced induction for my BRZ/FRS, I would probably consider the Vortech kit first.

  • shatner shatner Posts:

    Well that was another waste of money...

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    Why not just wait for the Subaru BRZ STi? Probably cost less money than this, give more performance, and less risk of damaging your engine

  • desoto_fins desoto_fins Posts:

    Completely underwhelming.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    If you guys read the article you'd see the part about the worn-out tires (if the slalom # of 0.76 isn't wrong, that's another confirmation). Edmunds would do well to spend yet more money on new tires and do the retest ;) The 5 mph trap speed does show that this engine is significantly more powerful (well... would probably be rated as 240-250hp at the crank), but the tires are writing cheques that the engine can't cash.

  • huisj huisj Posts:

    Wait, which part of the car is writing what kind of checks?

  • saunupe1911 saunupe1911 Posts:

    Ok guys, just buy some pilot super sports. Why do this test on crappy worn out tires. Geez!!!! Also it's time for the TRD brake kit made by StopTech. They don't fade at all...if your wheels clear them. It will be by far the best upgrade you purchase for the car. Trust me!!!

  • edriver2 edriver2 Posts:

    224 Horsepower - 184 Horsepower = 40 Horsepower Difference NOT a "30 Horsepower difference"

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Time to finally use the otherwise pointless BRZ for it's intended purpose, to compare/contrast against the modified FR-S. Get out on the road and do some 5th gear roll on tests. I would be willing to bet that in a timed 5th gear 30-60 and 45-70 acceleration, which won't be effected by tires, is much stronger in the FR-S. It's also a far more usefull test that 0-60 since most people don't drag race but they do accelerate to take advantage of a hole in traffic.

  • jeffinoh jeffinoh Posts:

    Two-tenths of a second??? Whoopee. On the street, launch is all that matters. Not good enough.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    Looks to me like that supercharger project was a total dud. Supercharging generally increases output between 30-40% of stock. I wouldn't be happy about those results. How fast can you afford to go? Apparently, not very fast.

  • maxx18 maxx18 Posts:

    Even if the outright acceleration numbers don't show it, I am sure the daily drivability of the car is greatly improved. Having an extra 52lb/ft of torque right in the middle of the powerband is huge. I'm guessing if they had tested the top gear roll-on performance of the car, the differences in acceleration times would have been enormous.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    So you spend 3600 for 40 hp? What did your Focus ST and Mazdaspeed 3 cost again? I do believe the MS3 is roughly the same 0-60 times and costs less consider you added 3600 for the supercharger and god knows what for tires, wheels and chamber kit... Seems money better spent on investments and waiting for the turbo BRZ STI? Which will likely make this FR-S looks like a joke when it's launched.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    Btw this is exactly why I don't like car mods. People spend tons on stuff that doesn't work as well as factory kit, while losing the warranty on their car at the same time making it less reliable. After all for 3600 a pop and limited number of buyers compared to what Subaru can move on a turbo BRZ, how much testing do you think the people who made this kit have done? And how much for a international car firm?

  • compressor compressor Posts:

    empoweredbc, IL explained the issue with lower grip, possibly reflecting the worse than expected 0-60 time. That said, % power gains will never equate to a certain amount of speed improvement. I can add 10% to a 100 hp car and not see much difference, or I can add 10% to a Z06 and see a huge improvement. The % matters to builders and reflects how good the system is, but overall power is what matters for accel.

  • compressor compressor Posts:

    cotak wrote: "So you spend 3600 for 40 hp? What did your Focus ST and Mazdaspeed 3 cost again? " How much does one spend to get away from FWD?

  • bobert2013 bobert2013 Posts:

    Why wouldn't they get new tires when they tested it with more power?

  • In my mind, the non-intercooled supercharger on a FR-S/BRZ puts it kind of on par with the Focus ST's output, although the ST produces much more torque. But in Edmund's track test of the ST, the 1/4-mile result was just 15.0 @ 93.3 (http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/track-tested-2013-ford-focus-st.html ). The stock FR-S' 1/4 time and trap speed matched that of the ST, yet you never read reviews complaining of the ST's lack of power. With the supercharger, the FR-S' trap speed is 5 mph faster. That's a considerable difference. In fact the new trap speed is on par with the Hyundai Genesis 3.8, 306 hp's 98.0 but behind the Mustang V6's 101.2 (http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/track-tests/track-tested-2011-ford-mustang-v6-vs-2010-hyundai-genesis-coupe-38.html ). As a BRZ owner myself, looking for some low maintenance HP down the road, this is a pretty realistic option. More power always means more mods, which in turn requires more mods....

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    This is an interesting upgrade, thanks Edmunds! I don't take much stock in 0-60 mph, so I don't get all the twisted panties here. More important is the driveability and fun and can you effectively pass on a straight at a track day, and I'm sure we will get more posts about that.

  • As for the 0-60 time, the ECU reflash often allows one to raise the redline so that 60 mph can be reached in 2nd gear without having to shift into 3rd. Can this be tested? It'll also show how useless the 0-60 mph measure is...

  • akula1 akula1 Posts:

    So you have shoddy rubber now and run an acceleration test. How about you put the stock wheel/tires back on if they have just been sitting around and then compare w/ the stock numbers? First you melt the stock caliper dust seals on a track w/ a brake kit and act surprised (dur...track calipers mostly have no dust boots for this very reason), now this? How are we supposed to make use of useless or partially correct data? Are you guys hiring? I think you guys need some help over there to sort things out.

  • akula1 akula1 Posts:

    w/o* a brake kit.

  • 300zx_lover 300zx_lover Posts:

    What a pathetic waste of money (the supercharger, too).

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    Shouldn't older tires have more grip? More rubber to the road?

  • 1krider1 1krider1 Posts:

    Since a GM aluminum V8 has already been retrofitted to this car, any other modification is a waste of time and money.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @huisj: You never heard of that expression before or did I just say it wrong?

  • fcwt fcwt Posts:

    Time to start dropping some seats. -- First Choice Wheels and Tires http://firstchoicewheelsandtires.com

  • yellowbal, that's what tire rack says at least for handling " It is also important to note that your old tires probably had very little tread depth remaining when you felt it was time to replace them. As any autocrosser or racer who has tread rubber shaved off of his tires will tell you, low tread depth tires respond more quickly. Don't be surprised if your new tires are a little slower to respond (even if you use the exact same tire as before). Their new, full depth brings with it a little more tread squirm until they wear down."----- duck87, I think it is the engine writing checks the tires can't cash since they are the part that isn't following through with the power delivery.

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