The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Proves Extra Horsepower Is Nice But Not Necessary

The long-awaited second coming of the Toyota Supra was met with mixed reviews from critics. Some of them appreciated that Toyota would even consider releasing a two-seat, rear-drive sports car while reviving the Supra nameplate. While many others didn’t like the fact that it was a BMW underneath it all.

So far, I’ve spent a week driving the 2021 Toyota Supra 2.0, with its smooth and less-potent turbocharged four-cylinder engine. But this week, I’m driving the 2021 Supra 3.0, which has a bigger engine and more power. So far, it’s showed me that the extra power is nice, but not that necessary.

The Toyota Supra 2.0 has enough power for the daily drive

a front shot of the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 in a parking garage
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 | Joe Santos

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Just to recap, the 2021 Toyota Supra comes in three different trim levels: 2.0, 3.0, and 3.0 Premium. They all have the same body style and each comes with a host of standard safety and tech-savvy features. And the higher you go in the trim levels, the more luxurious amenities you get.

In the case of the Supra 2.0 that I drove, it was outfitted with a premium sound system and all of the power accessories that you use every day. But under the hood of that car is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels via a ZF-sourced, eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Automobile Magazine, that combination is good for a 0-60 mph time of five seconds.

In my real-world driving, that figure sounds about right. Under normal driving conditions, the Supra 2.0 got off the line quickly and responded really fast to any of my throttle inputs when cruising at highway speeds. Honestly, 255 hp doesn’t sound like a lot, especially since the car weighs 3,100 pounds, but it’s good enough for driving around town and commuting to work.

2021 Toyota Supra 3.0
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 | Joe Santos

RELATED: Driving the 2021 Toyota Supra 2.0 Makes You Feel Like a Celebrity

The Supra 3.0 kicks things up a notch

rear three-quarter shot 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 | Joe Santos

If for whatever reason, you feel that getting on the freeway in less time than it takes to tie your shoes is too slow, then you can opt for the Toyota Supra 3.0. The big-brother Supra uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 382 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque and is mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission.

In order to put that power down adequately, the Supra 3.0 incorporates an active limited-slip differential into the mix. On the public roads so far, I have noticed a large bump in power when flooring the accelerator. The engine comes alive quickly and the transmission kicks down through the gear with ease when the throttle is pinned.

It’s definitely faster than the Supra 2.0, up until I caught up with the slow-driving Prius in front of me. At that point, it didn’t matter if the car was powered by a turbo engine or a hamster on a wheel. There’s even a “power gauge” in the infotainment system that shows you how much power the car is putting out when you go through the RPM range. In most cases, that gauge didn’t even go past 200 hp when driving normally.

engine shot of the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 | Joe Santos

The power is nice, but not really needed

Case in point, the extra 130 hp in the Supra 3.0 is really nice to have, especially when you’re able to get on the throttle a little. Otherwise, under normal driving, you’ll never really make use of it. So, if you’re thinking about buying a new Supra and are torn as to which trim to buy, then just know that might not be missing out by buying the Supra 2.0 when it comes to power.

But if you really need things like full-leather seats that are heated — or perhaps a head-up display so you know exactly how fast you’re going when a cop pulls you over – spend the extra $10,000 for the Supra 3.0 Premium.