In The City — 05 October 2013
Behind the wheel: Audi TT and the Scion FR-S

By Eric Barton

Shea Smith is a wild man in professional clothing. He’s an accountant by day, a deejay by night. He crunches numbers at Berkowitz Pollack Brant, then spins tunes at Laser Wolf.

His commuter car is a lot like him: a BMW M5 that can hold four clients and also smoke a Corvette. The problem is that Smith doesn’t like all the mileage he’s adding to his day car.

So lately he talked his wife into a third set of wheels, a little sports car for his commute. It needs to be quick, affordable, and in no way practical. What follows is an account of his test drives, first of an Audi TT, then of Scion FR-S.

Audi TT 

Smith takes a spin around Audi’s little sports car and approves. “Yeah, yeah, I like it,” he says, nodding in approval at its Christina Hendricks-like curves.

The interior is as sparse as a Munich flat. The back seats are small enough that dads will never be asked to take the kids to school. Smith searches futilely for an arm rest and is unimpressed by the dated radio.

Step on the gas from a stop and the TT thinks about it for a second. The turbo and power kick in, of course – but, by then, the guy in the Mustang has left the TT behind. With its four-wheel drive, however, this car doesn’t just hug turns, it bear hugs them.

At about $40,000, this isn’t a lot of sports car for the money. But it is a car to make an accountant with a wild streak look forward to a commute.

Prestige Audi of Miami, 14780 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach, 305-947-1000.

 ONLINE BONUS: Scion FR-S

Smith nods at the borrowed FR-S in his driveway. The lines drift in ups and downs, cherry red and dark rims, looking like pure sports car.

The inside feels decidedly entry level, although the touch-screen radio far outpaces the Audi’s. The race track seats are tight enough to discourage a second plate of barbecue.

The main problem is the steering wheel’s Scion symbol – a brand marketed to people with neon lights on the undercarriage. Toyota makes these, and it sure would look good with a Lexus badge and interior.

The name brand issue is forgotten as Smith throws racecar-fast shifts on Federal Highway. He starts laughing at the Sunrise Boulevard bend, the car’s back end sliding out slightly. Two downshifts, a U-turn, and then he speeds through the bend again, laughing the whole time. There isn’t much power, but it makes tremendous sounds, the rumble you made with Matchbox cars.

What this car is not is a vehicle for client meetings. Friends may scoff at the Scion symbol. But if the spouse has signed off on buying a second car, there are few that are more fun. And at $25,534, it’s a well-priced midlife crisis.

Lipton Toyota, 1700 W Oakland Park Blvd., 954-735-1330

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