Today we are taking a look at one of the most game-changing cars to have emerged in the past decade: the Toyota/Scion/Subaru FT86/FR-S/BRZ (it’s not my fault there are so many variations). In particular, we are taking a look at 4 tuned examples of the sporty 2-door car; each of them with different styles, yet all with one common goal: looking cool and going fast.
To get a sense of the success of this platform, just take a look at the contenders:
For our comparison, we examine the GReddy FR-S, the Evasive FR-S, the Toyota in-house built TRD Griffon and the Varis Toyota 86. It’s quite interesting to see what each of these tuning powerhouses have done once they got their hands on the car. While some have opted for changing the internals and others have dedicated themselves to developing crazy body kits, each tuner has kept the car’s philosophy. This philosophy is a car with a low center of gravity and light weight; in turn each car has retained the great handling characteristics. But enough philosophy, this isn’t a social science blog; it’s a low, fast and firmly applied science blog.
So let’s apply some science to the engines!
Although the car has only been around for about a year, tuners have already produced great kits and add-ons for the 86. GReddy and Trust have created a Turbo set-up for the car which can easily be bolted on and give the originally NA car some forced induction. Performance increases are obvious, with a T518Z turbo doing the spinning, and adding about 100 more horsepower. They have also installed an oil cooler kit for added cooling to keep up with the higher revs in track conditions.
The Evasive FR-S has taken the same forced induction route with their partner HKS, but this time it’s a supercharger that they have opted for. Seeing as this car is built for time attacks, the supercharger provides about 200 hp in all, but has a better boost range than going for a turbo set up. This allows for quicker response out of the corners and usually better lap times on smaller courses. There are also other HKS additions such as the oil cooler, and suction intake to keep up with the added power.
Unlike the previous two examples, the TRD Griffon has kept the engine stock for now, their focus has been on weight saving. The engine gets an added TRD oil cooler and a full titanium exhaust system.
In the Suspension and wheels department, each of these tuning houses have given their best and have done one thing right: they lowered the 86 from its stock (and quite high) height to a more visually and scientifically more pleasing drop. Interestingly though, out of four cars only two different types of wheels have been used.
GReddy has created a nice ride height drop by simply throwing in their type-S dampers. They put in the Volk G25 wheels with Advan Neova tires and have opted to keep the brakes stock.
Being a track car, Evasive have changed the whole suspension, wheel and brake combo. Together with KW they developed the 3 way adjustable coilovers seen on their car, they added Project Mu brakes with 6 pistons in the front and 2 in the rear combined with Club Racer brake pads. Evasive opted for Volk Racing TE37SL Black Edition wheels with 15mm spacers which match the exterior perfectly (or does the exterior match the wheels? We may never know…). The TE37s are wrapped in Maxxis Victra RC-1 tires to handle race duty.
TRD has gone for similar KW 3-way adjustable dampers and reinforced suspension arms. They also went for Volk TE37SL wheels on Advan Racing Semi-slicks with Rays lug nuts. The similarities must mean that this is a great package for the FRS.
The Varis 86 takes cues from the GReddy car with the same Forged Volk G25s, this time with a gold edged rim and Bridgestone tires. They also upgraded the brakes for serious performance with a set of larger disks and calipers.
After taking a look at the similarities in the engines and footwork, we take a quick peek at the differences of each car, the aero kits that make them so unique.
First up is the GReddy variant with the recognizable TRA Kyoto developed Rocket Bunny kit. Because this kit is sold through GReddy, there is no reason not to have it on the trial car. It’s a bolt –on riveted kit which includes wide front fenders, wide rear fenders, front and side lips a rear diffuser and, for a little more dough, you get the rear wing in all of its extravagant glory. Personally, I would go for another spoiler, but you have to admit it’s a great work of art. All of these additions are relatively affordable, and deliver a great package for any 86. Hats off to Miura-san from TRA Kyoto!
On the inside Greddy have gone for a few simple additions: the Racetech Bucket seats provide good turn-in support and combined with a TRS harness it does the job for casual racing.
While anyone can get a hold of the GReddy kit, the Evasive bodywork is all one-off, and it sure looks that way. Together with Voltex, the aero specialists, they have designed a good looking and functional kit to add some much needed down force to the 86. Although a little crazy, the Front splitter, the front and rear fenders, diffuser and rear wing all serve to glue the car to the ground. For a time attack car its sure to be quite the performer, even with the lack of power from the stock engine.
The interior has been completely stripped out to reduce weight, leaving only the dashboard. Evasive put in a roll cage for rigidity and just a few light products: a Sparco R375 wheel and Pro-ADV bucket seat as well as a Carbing high grip gear knob.
If the Evasive kit deviated from the 86’s original image a little too much, the TRD Griffon kit does just the opposite. Made to match the 86’ figure there are subtle but important additions to the stock shape. The front bumper and fenders have been totally reworked, for better aerodynamics while keeping the changes small. The rear bumper, just after the fenders have a small shape change too, which adds so much character from a simple remodeling. One of the most exciting parts is the back; the rear diffuser is beautiful and the carbon wing belongs in a museum. The kit is so good, they should mass produce a special version of the car with it!
Since money is no worry for TRD, they went all out with choice parts for the interior. They put in a TRD bucket seat made in collaboration with Bride, a Takata belt and a light weight Momo steering wheel. They also have their TRD designed center console which fits 3 gauges, cool stuff.
Finally, Varis has made huge changes to the 86 to get the performance and wow factor all the way up. Wide fenders with multiple lines, racing front splitter, carbon hood and a killer diffuser: it’s all different on their version of the 86! The wide-body kit featured here is the A-kit, the B-kit has a slightly more toned down front splitter but those great lines are still there! Just enjoy the show, even on black, the paint is glossy enough to show the hidden shapes, like a skintight dress!
On the inside, Varis have simply added a suede steering wheel and Recaro seats.
So there you have it, a superfecta of Toyota/Scion/Subaru 86/FR….im not going so write it all out again…
This car has within a year become legendary taking along with it long time legends such as TRD, GReddy and Varis. While the approach to the 86 has been dissimilar, the goal to make the small sports car shine has been reached and even surpassed. And this is all just in the space of one year, imagine what we will see in a few more??
Hope you liked this 86 Battle! There is no clear winner, each car presented here was a Knock Out!!