This was an interesting day. It started off with a long needle and steroid shots to my shoulder, which of course meant I arrived at work much later than I thought. The day then became increasingly busy and before long I found myself there two hours longer than normal. Mildly stressed, the only prudent option was to swing off at my local Toyota on the way home to peep some FR-S beauties.
As luck would have it they had five in various colors, all manual! The flipside of that luck was that they were all sold. Regardless the salesman was happy to show the cars, all of them.
I must say, this car looks WAY better in person. Don't get me wrong. It's cool in the pictures, but can be a little underwhelming. But in person it all makes sense and has a fair amount of presense for such a small, squat little car.
The build quality looked great. I did not car for the cloth on the seats and it struck me as odd that regardless of the exterior color, the seat were all black with red highlights. That looks fine on the white one but not on the hot orange for example. Either that is a quirk of what was available to the dealer or there needs to be more seating choice. Admittedly I have not built one on the site so this may be a non-issue. But back to the quality of the build, I found the paint to be really impressive. NO orange-peel. The salesguy noted that there is an added protective coat of clear. I'd dismiss this as salesguy BS if not for the mirror tags saying the same. Perhaps this helps them to avoid the orange-peel issue.
The panels lined up perfectly and the interior appeared to be well done and well sorted. The stereo looked rather old school. I normally prefer more whiz bang in my gadgetry, but here I didn't mind. In fact it seems to fit well in the overall "ethos" of the design. I doubt I'd opt for the touchscreen, as long as I can plug in an iPod. Gages and shifter were very nice, sporty but not cheesy. I liked the numerous little details throughout the cabin. The gages were spot on imo.
The character lines on the body worked really well, and the nose while not my cup of tea in pictures was hot in the flesh. I'm still looking forward to comparing it to the BR-Z. Perhaps if I get hosed at work tomorrow I'll stop off at Subaru.
Unfortunately I liked these cars. A lot. I say unfortunately because that means I needed a test drive. But with these being customer cars I didn't even bother to ask. Besides, remember how I started my day? Better to heal the arm before I start judging how a car's steering feels.
So I didn't experience 151 lbs of torque or die as a result. I did however meet a few FR-S drivers and got their honest feedback on the car. Every guy said it was the best car they have ever driven. I gave them a list of cars to compare against, and asked them to slot the FR-S in. The result this from lowest to highest:
MX-5 < RX-8 < FR-S < S2000
What I found most interesting is that though they ranked the S2000 higher, they still considered the FR-S to be the best car. This seems to jive with the magazine reviews btw. No I didn't ask them to compare it to the Renault Megane or Mustang V6.
This brings me to the one glaring issue I have with this car. The rear seats. Those are not seats. They are a suggestion. The only way an adult can sit back there would be if you hacked off their legs, mid-thigh and greased the stumps up with ample amounts of K/Y Her Pleasure and maybe touched them up with some Burt's Bee Wax. I seriously doubt a decent sized baby seat would work. And certainly junior would be too cramped by 3 or 4 year's old. So for those of us who are hitting THAT stage in life, that is a major issue.
So would I buy it? Well until I drive it it's hard to say. It still sits firmly on my shortlist, in no particular order:
FR-S/BR-Z(most interested in this one-that pearl white is stunningly good for that price btw)
With dark horses coming in the form of a 3 Series, Regal GS (if they make the right changes) or ATS.
This is of course unless life changes get in the way. Fortunately I'm in no rush and can hold off until the fury dies down and until STI news is known. Also the bum arm.
But for those who want to get one now the process is pretty straight forward. Go to the dealership and put down a $1K deposit. This gets you a place in line or you can initiate an order. Be patient the cars seem to arrive every 2 or 3 weeks. The Toyota in McLean gets their new allotment in 10 days. But they will go fast, so secure your spot. The deposit is refundable. DO NOT PAY MARKUPS OF ANY KIND. For every dealership trying to rip you off there are 10 or more who are not. Just walk your business elsewhere.
I hope this helps.