Is Toyota spending so much on R&D that they have no more money to buy rights to letters? If so, that would explain both why their new small sports car concept looks so fantastic, and why they named it by juggling the same letters as in the F-RS. If only having the rights to three letters means more cars like this, then it was the right choice.
F-SR S-RF S-FR is pretty much a modernized Toyota Sports 800 — and that’s a very good thing. It has the classic sportscar proportions: long hood, short rear deck, and sports a huge, gaping fishmouth grille, much like what so many classic sportscars from the ‘60s used to suck in all that sweet, golden-age air.
It’s right about the same size as Toyota’s own Yaris, or, more importantly, a Miata, but manages to be a 2+2. Everything seems to be done right with this car: it’s a front-mid engine design, with the engine mounted aft of the front axle, and it’s driving the rear wheels through a manual gearbox.
According to reports the S-FR keeps the weight down to keep the fun up. It’s said to be a mere 2,160 pounds, and packs a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with about 130 horsepower, which is appropriate and fun for its size. In terms of dimensions, it slots between the FR-S and the new Miata.
Everything about this little kook gets me excited and hopeful for the future: this seems like a light, fun, rewarding car to drive. The styling is bold and appealing (I especially like the wave-like triangular C-pillar), with some retro-ish references to cars like the Sports 800 without falling into the usual retro traps. It also manages to look sporty and athletic without resorting to the usual crutch of giving it an absurdly aggressive face. It’s even yellow, which is my favorite car color.
Car and Driver reports the car is set for production in 2016, and this concept looks very production-ready, without any of the usual show-car extravagances that would make production unlikely. The S-FR seems good to go, and the biggest question seems to be whether it will come to America or not.
I’ll do my part by sitting here and hoping really hard.
Really, really hard.
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