We get a lot of questions regarding a Turbo or a Supercharger for the Scion FR-S and it’s availability from Toyota or Subaru, as well as the after market turbo and supercharger kits and their effects on the warranty. I would like to answer some of the questions we get and maybe shed some light on this topic. This is being written as of Monday February 18, 2012, so we will try and update this as more kits become available, factory or aftermarket. Hopefully this page will help you evaluate more clearly if a Turbo or Supercharger is something that is applicable to your particular situation.
Question: What exactly is a Turbo or Supercharger and what can this do for my Scion FR-S?
Answer: A supercharger or turbo are engine components, also called ‘forced induction’, cause more air to be forced into the engine and mixed with fuel which results in greater engine horsepower. The stock Scion FR-S utilizes a 200 4 cylinder engine, by installing a forced induction unit, horsepower can be greatly increased by 20-30%.
Question: Does Scion, Toyota or Subaru have a turbo kit in the works for the Scion FR-S, Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ?
Answer: There has been much speculation that Subaru would release a Subaru BRZ STI equipped with a turbo, or one would be released from TRD (Toyota Racing Devlopment’s in house tuning department). As of now, nothing has been confirmed and there is nothing more than a rumor. In fact, the latest update from Subaru indicates that the forth coming Subaru BRZ will not be turbo or supercharged but have a lighter weight and stronger engine. It is unlikely that we will see a factory turbo our supercharger in the near future, if at all.
Question: If I install an aftermarket turbo or supercharger to my car, will it void the warranty?
Answer: Yes, it will void the factory power train and engine warranty.
Question: What aftermarket Scion FR-S Turbo and Superchargers are currently available?
Answer: At the Tokyo Auto Salon there were several vehicles (Toyota 86) fitted with custom turbochargers. As of right now there are no commercially available Scion FR-S turbo kits however Greddy is in development of the Scion FR-S Tuner Turbo Kit. A prototyped version with intercooler has been custom built for Ken Gushi’s Scion Racing/Greddy FR-S. There are currently at least 3 supercharger kits on the market specifically built for the Scion FR-S from HKS, Innovative and Vortech.
Question: What kind of investment in my vehicle would it take to move to a forced induction system?
Answer: At this time it is difficult to determine the cost of Turbo since there are no readily available Scion FR-S Turbo kits. Custom applications can be excessive but again it is difficult to estimate costs on this type of a project. As for the 3 available Scion FR-S superchargers, kits run from $3500-6600. Installation ranges depending on shop rates and skill levels, plus custom intake and exhausts for higher air flow, and tuning/dyno runs. The total cost for a supercharger installation could easily start at around $5500 and easily reach $10,000.
Question: Of the forced induction systems available on the market for the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, which do you recommend and why?
Answer: The Scion FR-S Vortech Supercharger seems to be the weapon of choice for domestically tuned Scion FR-S show cars that we have seen, such as the Daniel Song Scion FR-S GT that took 3rd place in the Scion Tuners Challenge. This product demonstrates the high quality craftsmanship we have come to know from the industry leader in superchargers. We are also optimistic about the Greddy Turbo, coming from an established company that has years of track dominance under its belt. For hard core tuners, the HKS may be a great option but there is no longer a US HKS distributor so you will have to work with an importer to acquire one.
Question: What other options would you recommend for Scion FR-S tuners looking for a significant increase in power without having to resort to the excessive costs of installing a supercharger or custom turbo system?
Answer: There are many options for tuners to increase performance of their Scion FR-S without having to dedicate large sums of money. Installing a supercharger or turbo is an ‘all-in’ type of investment that requires an extremely large amount of money, rather than a car being built up in segments to achieve the goals of the individual tuner. For a sponsored racer or a tuner with a vast amount of money to invest, a forced induction option might be attainable. But for the vast majority of enthusiasts with budget constraints, not to mention concerns about a factory warranty, other options must be available.
The Toyota Griffon TRD 86 that we reviewed a few months back is the perfect example of the potential of the naturally aspirated Scion FR-S. The Griffon TRD utilized extensive carbon fiber to reduce the weight of the vehicle, while adding performance modifications such as exhaust and intake. In the end, this vehicle was able to outperform a Ferrari 458 lap time at Tsukuba Circuit in Japan. This shows that the importance of power to weight ratio has a great impact on the overall performance of the car.
Basic Bolt On Performance: We would recommend starting out by the most basic bolt on performance accessories that will give you the most dollar per horsepower, these two upgrades are the most common, least expensive and easy to install. A Scion FR-S exhaust system will reduce weight and free up additional horsepower by increasing the size of the piping that allows exhaust to flow out of the vehicles engine. And just as an exhaust helps to be less restrictive on exhaust leaving the vehicle, a Scion FR-S air intake will help to get more air into the engine itself (the concept behind a turbo is forced air induction, while an air intake will just help to maximize free flowing air, thus more horsepower).
Lighten Up the Vehicle: To lighten the vehicle up, carbon fiber can be used to replace the stock panels. Typically a carbon fiber hood is one of the first products used because of the ease of install and the substantial weight difference between a metal and carbon hood. The Scion FR-S carbon fiber hoods on the market do not provide quite the weight advantage of some of the older tuning vehicles because of the use of an aluminum hood, however there are also styling and air induction benefits (for vented hoods) that can be taken into consideration, as well as ‘dry’ carbon fiber for those seeking to maximize power to weight. Dry carbon is expensive to manufacture and therefore purchase, however when trying to offset weight, all options are on the table due to the much higher costs of force induction set ups. The Scion FR-S carbon fiber trunk does shave a noticeable amount of weight from the rear of the vehicle, and for people looking to maximize weight savings, other parts such as Fenders and Roof Panels can be removed and replaced with carbon variants. Again, dry carbon will maximize weight savings but are more expensive parts than the ‘wet laid’ counter parts. Lastly, many of the tuning wheels on the market are designed to be much lighter weight than stock, and due to the rotational properties of wheels, a lb saved off the wheels equals two pounds off the car when acceleration is considered. Also, FRP (fiberglass) bumper replacement kits will typically be slightly lighter than stock urethane bumpers, but careful consideration should be made as FRP parts are less durable than stock bumpers.
Modifying your Scion FR-S for more power can be a fun and gradual project for any tuner. Turbo applications are great but also think of the alternatives and what will suit your needs best.