Neither of the jointly developed Subaru-Toyota sports cars will be turbocharged, at least in the near future. Sources we’ve spoken with at both companies have confirmed that for the time being, both the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FR-S will come with only the naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter inline four; it’s rated at 200 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque.
The news gets worse, we’re afraid. Although the door is open to a possible turbocharged BRZ in the future, we’ve been told it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a factory-built Scion FR-S with forced induction in the U.S. It’s possible that Toyota still could offer a turbocharged car in other markets, though, where the car runs with 86 and GT86 badging.
“What the Hell?” You Ask
A big part of the issue here is pricing. Starting at $24,930 with a manual transmission ($26,030 with an automatic) and no factory options available, the FR-S should be a decent seller. Were Scion to add a turbocharger or any other kit, shoppers would be looking at a price tag much closer to $30,000. That’s when people start sentences with “Well, for that much money, I could just get a…” and Scion loses sales. Subaru has a bit more flexibility in pricing because, versus Scion, the brand isn’t so downmarket and has better-off customers. Even still, a turbo version of the BRZ isn’t a guarantee. A British car magazine recently quoted a Subaru exec as saying the company will never sell a turbocharged BRZ. We haven’t been able to confirm whether this was an accurate quote, but even if “never” is an exaggeration, it’s a grim situation.
Fortunately, the BRZ and FR-S were designed with aftermarket tuners in mind. You need only wait until November’s SEMA show to see a legion of them with every conceivable powertrain upgrade, from turbochargers to V-8s.