2021 Toyota GR Supra Review & Buying Guide | Even more to love this year

James Riswick


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Ignore the noise about where the engine and most of the parts come from — BMW. Never mind the comparisons to the last Supra, which was born in a different era and carried a much higher relative price. The 2021 Toyota GR Supra is a phenomenal sports car. Powerful, agile and communicative, it's a genuine performance machine capable of keeping up with more expensive cars on a track or your favorite winding road. Yet, it's also playful and full of character, eagerly wagging its tail around corners and sounding sensational in the process. And although its looks aren't universally adored, our time spent in various Supras would indicate the general public likes it enough to draw impressed stares and thumbs up.

And as we go into below, the Supra lineup expands for 2021. The new four-cylinder model lowers the price of entry, and although it certainly doesn't provide the thrills or speed of the six-cylinder (which was given a significant bump in power this year), it should nevertheless be priced well below similarly powerful luxury-branded sports cars, including its BMW Z4 platform-mate and the Porsche 718 Cayman. Of course, the six-cylinder Supra makes its own compelling value proposition, but it also drives so well that it doesn't have to lean on its price tag to get noticed. 

What's new for 2021?

In some ways, the Supra sold last year has been discontinued. It's effectively been replaced by one with a more powerful turbo inline-six (47 more horsepower) and modifications made to accommodate the extra grunt, while a new four-cylinder base model debuts below it. Both of these engines are shared with the Supra's convertible platform-mate, the BMW Z4. We go into greater detail about both versions in our 2021 Supra first drive review.  

Other updates include the formerly optional 8.8-inch infotainment display being made standard. It still runs BMW's last-generation iDrive technology. There's also a new A91 Edition limited to 1,000 units and painted in exclusive Refraction Blue. 

2020 Toyota Supra
2020 Toyota Supra

What's the interior and in-car technology like?

Toyota was basically handed a box of BMW buttons, knobs and screens, and then used it all to create a cabin that's indeed stylistically different from its BMW Z4 platform-mate. The materials quality is not quite up to a BMW standard, but the Supra also costs considerably less and is still to an acceptable standard for its price point.

Although the instrument panel screen features Supra-specific graphics and is surrounded by a unique frame integrated with fuel and temperature gauges, what you see on the standard 8.8-inch infotainment display is pure BMW. The center console knob controller and surrounding menu buttons are identical to the last-generation iDrive units you'd find in cheaper BMW models or pricier ones from a few years ago. It generally works OK, but we had the same sort of Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay connectivity issues as we've previously had with BMWs, and it's not the easiest system to use. Some would argue a Toyota system would be better.

2020 Toyota Supra

How big is the Supra?

The Supra is quite small. Its wheelbase (97.2 inches) and length (172.5) are virtually identical to a Porsche 718 Cayman's — but its width and track are more than 2 inches wider. Like that car and unlike past Supras, it seats only two, albeit with sufficient space for someone taller than 6 feet. Its narrow cargo area can handle weekend getaway luggage (we somehow managed to stuff four bags inside), but also isn't nearly as capacious as the dual trunks of a Corvette.

One space-related element to consider are the seats. They're the same in the 2.0 and 3.0, but only the latter has eight-way power seats, which means you may only be comfortable in the pricier model. The seats also can't be heated in the base model.


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What's the performance and fuel economy?

The base 2021 Supra 2.0 packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four by BMW that's good for 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Like every Supra, it comes only with rear-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota says it'll go from 0- 60 mph in 5 seconds, which is mighty quick, and basically the same as the base Porsche 718 Cayman. The BMW Z4, which has the same engine is just a hair slower. Fuel economy figures hadn't been released at the time of this writing, but it seems safe to assume it would be similar to the Z4 sDrive30i: 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined.

The Supra's 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six is now the upgrade engine, but it's a different, more powerful unit than what was under the hood for 2020. It produces 382 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque, and can take the Supra from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. It feels every bit as quick as that sounds behind the wheel while literally sounding sensational doing it. Fuel economy, as it tends to be with BMW engines, is surprisingly good given the power on hand: 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined. 


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What's the Supra like to drive?

You can feel the Supra's size (or lack thereof) from the driver seat. The beltline is high, the greenhouse short and the clamshell hood stretches out before you, but it doesn't overwhelm as similar long-hood/short-deck cars like a Mercedes-AMG GT can. It's also balanced, with a 50:50 weight distribution that's pretty much written into anything with Bavarian DNA, and possesses an eagerness to turn in smartly and rotate around you. Through longer arcing turns, you can feel what the car is doing through the seat of your pants and can steer with the responsive throttle. Along those lines, you can wag its tail and slide a bit when in Sport mode and with the traction control off. Shut stability control off and it's possible to easily coerce and then hold a full-blown smoky slide. The steering, meanwhile, is excellent and actually a much more responsive, communicative effort than BMW achieves with theoretically the same componentry.

Not surprisingly, things are dialed down with the new four-cylinder. It's still quick, but obviously quite a bit slower. Its exhaust still sounds cool (unlike BMW, Toyota does not employ fake engine noise through the speakers), but it's also not the same as the inline-six. And without the 3.0's limited-slip differential and adaptive suspension, the four-cylinder Supra just doesn't handle as well, even though there's less weight atop the nose and elsewhere. It also has less powerful brakes, and, without the adaptive suspension, doesn't ride as comfortably as the Supra 3.0.

As such, the more powerful Supra is most definitely the better one to drive and being paired with an inline-six just feels right in this car. However, for the money, and relative its minimal competition, the four-cylinder model is still a compelling performance machine.

What more can I read about the Toyota Supra?

2021 Toyota GR Supra First Drive

Driving both the 2.0 and revised 3.0 models for the first time, including more in-depth info about what's new and updated for 2021. 

 

2020 Toyota Supra First Drive

Our original review of the Supra, including the most in-depth information about its engineering, design and relationship with BMW. 


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Toyota Supra Suspension Deep Dive

Take a look underneath the Supra with engineer Dan Edmunds to see how its suspension works. 

 

Toyota GR Supra vs BMW Z4 Comparison Drive

Contributing writer Lawrence Ulrich takes back-to-back drives in the 2020 Supra and its BMW Z4 platform-mate to determine which company did the better job creating a sports car out of ostensibly the same parts.

 

2020 Toyota Supra Road Test

We drive the Supra in the real world during a week-long road test at our Michigan headquarters.


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Toyota Supra Luggage Test

We find out how much luggage you can fit inside the Supra for a weekend getaway (and are very surprised by the answer).

What features are available and what's the price?

Pricing was not available at the time of this writing, but we expect the base Supra 2.0 to start in the low $40,000 range. Standard equipment includes 18-inch cast aluminum wheels, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, LED headlights, automatic wipers, auto-folding mirrors (with driver-side auto-dimming), proximity entry and push-button start, dual-zone climate control, eight-way manually adjustable seats, leather/Alcantara upholstery, 8.8-inch displays for the instrument panel and infotainment system, BMW's last-generation iDrive tech interface, wireless Apple CarPlay and a four-speaker audio system. 

Besides its more powerful engine, the Supra 3.0 adds Brembo disc brakes, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a limited-slip differential, power-adjustable seats, and a 10-speaker sound system.

The 3.0 Premium (and A91 Edition) adds leather upholstery, heated seats, a head-up display and a variety of infotainment extras: integrated navigation, voice controls, emergency communications services, wireless smartphone charging and a 12-speaker JBL sound system.

Some of those infotainment extras are optional on the lower trims. There are also extra driver assistance systems available, which we list in the safety section below.

What are its safety equipment and crash ratings?

Every 2021 Supra includes standard forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and auto high beams. The Premium trim's Driver Assist package adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems and parking sensors that can activate the standard emergency auto braking system. These features are also included in the base 2.0 and 3.0's Safety & Technology package that also adds the Premium's infotainment extras. 

The Supra has not been crash tested by a third party.

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