Scion has built such a well-rounded, lively, and back-to-basics sports car with the FR-S that it’s hard to find many faults with it. The FR-S really is that good, and so it raises the question, can it get any better?
Of course it can, but there’s a fine line that has to be walked, because taking it too far can leave us with a car that won’t perform as well as it did in stock form. We intend to find out if that’s the case by pushing the boundaries and even going beyond them with this build to see just what the FR-S is (and isn’t) capable of.
This build is a bit different from most of the other project cars in our magazine because it’s not just being built by us; Super Street and Import Tuner will also have their hand in the modification process.
Modified will be tasked with taking care of the performance side of the buildup, while the other magazines will concentrate their efforts on the exterior and interior. With three magazines taking this car on at full steam, the results should exceed expectations. Expect big things to come out of this build and an FR-S that will be one of a kind.
Alongside the build, we’ll be posting everything that’s happening to the car in near real-time on our GarageFRS.com website and social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The site will also serve as a great resource for anything and everything that relates to the Scion FR-S. Tech, news, product releases, photos—if it’s related to the Scion FR-S, you can be sure to find it there.
Not wasting any time, with just 2,000 miles on the odometer, we took the FR-S to Evasive Motorsports and strapped it down on their Mustang dyno to get a baseline for the completely stock FR-S. After the rollers came to a stop, the power our 2.0L naturally aspirated boxer engine produced was 157 whp and 128 lb-ft of torque. It’s doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that upgrading the intake and exhaust on this car won’t make much more jam. With 12.5:1 compression, direct injection, and an already extremely efficient intake and exhaust system, horsepower gains would be minimal. However, that’s not to say they aren’t worth doing. Anytime you have a goal to increase power, improving the engine’s airflow both in and out is critical. Bigger power mods will be added down the road, and that’s when the extra airflow will really come into play.
Horsepower figures aside, though, the heightened sound awareness creates a much livelier and connected driving experience, and that alone can justify making the upgrades.
Because the FR-S is so new, many parts are still in development, but that didn’t stop HKS from providing us with several near-production-ready versions of the after-cat exhaust systems for the FR-S. For the individual looking to gain a bit of sound and increase performance, the Legamax system is the perfect choice. It blends a single muffler with dual 5-inch exhaust tips that fill the FR-S’ rear exhaust section perfectly and is the ideal choice for a street-oriented exhaust. Don’t be fooled by its appearance; HKS claims a 40 percent increase in flow over the stock exhaust.
For those looking to blend street and track into one system, the Hi-Power Spec-L is the exhaust for you. It uses thin-walled stainless steel piping and two bullet-style mufflers that increase flow by 60 percent, and the entire system weighs only 21 pounds versus the stock hardware at 38 pounds. The exhaust note is also much more pronounced but not in an intrusive manner. At the time of our installation, HKS was still in the prototyping phase and therefore provided us with two different muffler setups. Both look good, but we prefer the burnt tips to the carbon-trimmed ones. It’s anyone’s guess which one or if both will be available to the public.
The stock intake tract on the FR-S is a well-engineered design ingesting cold air from the front air damn into the airbox, and that’s why HKS left the factory airbox alone but replaced the air filter and intake pipe in its suction kit for the FR-S. Utilizing a high-flow panel air filter and a smooth cast-aluminum intake pipe should improve performance over the more restrictive factory pieces, but there’s only one way to find out if our new HKS intake and exhaust provided more pep to the FR-S’ acceleration; it was time to pay Evasive Motorsports another visit.
With the Hi-Power L-Spec exhaust singing a high tune all the way to 7,300 rpm, the FR-S showed a slight improvement over stock netting 5 whp and 2 lb-ft gains. It’s by no means much, but this project is just getting under way, and we have big plans to see what this motor and chassis can handle. So hold onto your seats because it’s going to be a wild ride for the next little while.
Be sure to check out our HKS installation video that includes exhaust clips for both systems! Visit GarageFRS.com/videos.