While the four-cylinder 2021 Supra 2.0 has its strengths, the six-cylinder version of Toyota’s range-topping sports car has more power and features. But while the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 can out-speed the 86, neither are the Japanese automaker’s only sports cars. Lexus has its own, the V8-powered LC500, now available as a coupe and a convertible. So, what happens when the two duel on the drag-strip? YouTube team Throttle House wanted to find out.
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 vs. Lexus LC500: specs and performance features
The six-cylinder Toyota Supra, now called the Supra 3.0, comes into the 2021 model year with more power. Its 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder now makes 382 hp and 368 lb-ft—at least, those are the official figures. Car and Driver’s dyno testing suggests it may make closer to 400 hp. Regardless, with its 8-speed automatic, the 3347-lb 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 can go 0-60 in 3.8 seconds, Car and Driver reports.
The flagship Lexus LC500 receives a few updates for 2021 besides the new convertible option. Extra output, though, isn’t one of them; that’s likely due to Toyota shuttering its V8 development. Still, its 5.0-liter V8 is more powerful than the Supra’s six-cylinder, with 471 hp and 398 lb-ft. Plus, its automatic has 2 more speeds. Unfortunately, it weighs roughly 1000 lbs more than the Toyota Supra, Car and Driver reports. As a result, it goes 0-60 almost a second slower.
However, neither the Toyota Supra nor the Lexus LC500 is entirely about straight-line speed. For 2021, the Supra has a new aluminum cross-tower brace, Car and Driver reports, and re-tuned adaptive dampers. The stability control, active limited-slip differential, and power steering have all been reprogrammed, Motor Trend reports. The suspension also has new bump stops.
The Lexus LC500’s 2021-model-year updates are also about handling, MT reports. It has lighter aluminum suspension components as well as lighter rear wheels and new bump stops. It only saves 22 pounds, but it means there’s less un-sprung weight, which makes for better ride quality and handling. The 10-speed automatic has also been retuned, as have the active dampers. And to help reduce understeer, the LC500 now brakes the inside wheels in corners.
How Throttle House tested Toyota’s sports cars
Throttle House’s testing, though, didn’t involve cornering ability or handling. Instead, the hosts compared the two sports cars’ performance in head-to-head drag races. And here, the Toyota Supra shows that it’s the more focused sports car of the two.
Although the Lexus LC500 has an extremely luxurious interior, it doesn’t have launch control. The Supra, though, does. And typically, that’s the key to getting the best 0-60 times. But, in the interest of fairness and real-world accuracy, Throttle House ran 2 standing-start drag races. The first had the Supra use launch control, and the second had it go without.
In Car and Driver’s testing, the Supra ran the ¼-mile in 12.1 seconds, while the pre-update LC500 was 1.1 seconds slower. But the Toyota Supra achieved those results with launch control.
And launch control also doesn’t play into the rolling-start drag race, the third test Throttle House ran. It eliminates any launch or traction benefits and focuses purely on engine and transmission tuning. And it’s here where the two cars start to even out. In Car and Driver’s testing, both the 2021 Supra 3.0 and the pre-update LC500 had a 5-60 time of 4.4 seconds. So, without giving the turbo time to build boost, the heavier Lexus can be just as fast as the Supra.
At least, that’s the case on paper.
How did the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 do?
Unfortunately, the Lexus LC500’s extra power compared to the Toyota Supra 3.0 couldn’t overcome its weight disadvantage. In the end, the Supra won all 3 races.
However, the tests did reveal a few interesting things. Without launch control, the LC500 was able to keep up better with the Supra. And in the final race, the Lexus actually led for a good chunk of the distance. It also finished right on the Supra’s tail with an incredible V8 sound from its exhaust.
These results aren’t terribly surprising. The LC500 is more of a GT than a sports car, after all; and unlike the Supra, it has Android Auto, The Drive reports. But it’s a shame the planned LC500 F is canceled. With less weight, the results could have been different.
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