2021 Toyota Supra

By November 6, 2020

The 2021 Toyota Supra is a two-seater with an ambitious performance profile and the long-hood, short-deck proportions to announce them.

For 2021, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen is now standard across the board. But the biggest news is underhood, where a 2.0-liter turbo-4 has been introduced to complement the pricier, more powerful 3.0-liter turbo-6. With 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, the smaller engine is plenty of power for the 3,200 pound car. This Supra’s 0-60 mph run happens in less than five seconds.

For a weight penalty of about 220 pounds, the 3.0-liter turbo-6 provides 382 horsepower—up 47 horses over last year—and 386 lb-ft of torque. It cuts the 0-60 mph time down to 3.9 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than last year’s model thanks to the added power.

Both engines come strictly with rear-wheel drive and use an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.

The EPA hasn’t rated the turbo-4 Supra, but models with the turbo-6 are estimated to return 24 mpg city, 31 highway, 26 combined.

Safety equipment for the Supra includes standard automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Optional features include blind-spot monitors and adaptive cruise control.

Because of its low volume, the Supra hasn’t and likely won’t be tested for crashworthiness.

Model Lineup

All prices include a $955 delivery charge.

Starting at $42,990, the new turbo-4 Supra 2.0 represents a more affordable entry point for the sports car. That money buys standard equipment such as an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, LED lights, 18-inch wheels, Alcantara and leather upholstery, keyless start, and a digital instrument cluster.

The $50,990 Supra 3.0 is the cheapest 6-cylinder model. It is equipped much like the 2.0 but gets a four-way power driver’s seat and 10-speaker audio.

The 3.0 Premium costs $54,490 and adds navigation, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, a head-up display, leather upholstery, and heated seats.

Exterior

The latest Supra wears a bit of everything: more vents, more scoops, more creases, more lines. It’s attractive, but it’s also busy, and lacks some of the fluid style that gave the Supra its understated name in the 1990s.

The overall proportions are on point, though. The front wheels are far away from the leading edge of the doors, making that long hood look even longer. The roof tapers lustily down to the rear, where a little ducktail spoiler that’s slightly reminiscent of old 911s. The Supra is small and hunkered down, yet appears long and lithe. It looks very much the part of a sports car.

Interior

As a two-seater, sitting in the Supra is an intimate experience. There’s not much room between the driver and passenger, and space runs out quick behind the seatbacks. The design doesn’t embellish things; it is what it is, a simple, ergonomic layout that puts function before form. Materials are all high-quality, and everything is built with a precision more suggestive of pricier sports cars.

Coming from a Camaro, the Supra’s interior will feel airy; from anything else, the high window sills, limited glass area, and a low roof together will make for a claustrophobic experience. The optional blind-spot monitors are well worth their price.

The highly bolstered bucket seats are supremely comfortable; unlike some sports cars, these thrones won’t require a visit to a chiropractor after a weekend spent touring around. In base cars the seats are manually adjustable, but high-zoot models have power adjustments.

For 2021, the previously-standard 6.5-inch touchscreen has been eliminated in favor of the 8.8-inch touchscreen. It’s a rather clumsy affair that takes some getting used to, though.

Like any sports car, cargo space is limited; there’s only 10.2 cubic feet under the rear hatch. However, that’s better than a lot of similar-sized sports cars, and a couple soft duffel bags could be squeezed in there no problem.

Driving Impressions

When we first drove the Supra last year, we were smitten with the silky inline-6 and it’s effortless power. That left us a bit skeptical of the new 2.0-liter turbo-4, but it turns out our doubts were unfounded. It didn’t take long for the more modest engine to impress us.

In fact, if we had a choice, we’d be inclined to choose it over the turbo-6. The turbo-4 model weighs about 220 pounds less than an equivalent six cylinder. All that extra weight is pretty coming right off the front axle, which lightens the front end. The result of that is better balance, and to us this made the turbo-4 feel more natural and organic in corners.

Let’s not forget that the turbo-4 isn’t exactly slow, either: with 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 mph happens in just five seconds. That’s still pretty quick for anyone who doesn’t race cars for a living.

All that being said, the turbo-6 is still a riot. First off, its soundtrack is righteous—a bellowing staccato that just begs for hunting out tunnels and canyons in order to hear it echo back at you. No doubt about it: the Supra 3.0 knows how to exhaust.

More importantly, it makes a full 382 horsepower and 386 lb-ft of torque, which is an abundance of power for a car weighing 3,400 pounds. As mentioned it is a bit less graceful around corners, but still dances with aplomb when pushed. And 0-60 mph happens in a scant 3.9 seconds.

Out on the road, the turbo-6 Supra’s bigger wheels and stiffer suspension make it a little more disjointed over rough pavement. It does get adaptive dampers, which aren’t available on the turbo-4, but they don’t do much to soften the ride, only dial in additional firmness. The turbo-4 would make the better daily driver for its more compliant suspension.

Final Word

The 2021 Toyota Supra is a return to hallowed ground for Toyota; the last time they played in the performance grand-tourer category was the late 1990s. This latest Supra is a salute to the past generations as well as a confident look forward. We’re thankful for another sports-car option in a dwindling category, and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun weekend toy.

 

—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection

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