Although it’s been positively reviewed, the Toyota Supra has also been criticized by fans of the original. Mostly, the critiques have stemmed from its BMW origins. Not to mention the loss of a manual transmission option. And while the Supra handles well, some of its rivals, like the Porsche Cayman and Ford Mustang, are sharper, more viscerally-thrilling, or more powerful. However, it appears that the 2021 Toyota Supra is addressing at least some of these critiques. Starting with its engine. Or rather, its engines.
The 2021 Toyota Supra: more power, better handling
It came in last during MT’s Best Driver’s Car competition due to “rear-end oscillations, nervous steering, and overactive stability control.” Basically, on all but a smooth road or track, the Toyota Supra wasn’t easily-controllable. But Toyota’s engineers have since made adjustments.
The power steering, adaptive suspension, stability control, and active differential have all been reprogrammed. The suspension also receives new bump-stops and aluminum braces. And both MT and Car and Driver report the updates are definitely noticeable. The Supra turns in sharper, and is much more planted, stable, and composed. However, the suspension wasn’t all that Toyota changed.
The 2021 Toyota Supra’s 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder has also been upgraded. Previously, it was rated at 335 hp and 365 lb-ft. The 2021 model, though, claims to put out 382 hp and 368 lb-ft. 0-60 time, Toyota claims, drops from 4.1 seconds to 3.9 seconds. However, Car and Driver reports the 2020 model could go 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Meanwhile, unofficially, the 2021 model did it in 3.5 seconds.
Car and Driver also put the 2021 Toyota Supra on a dynamometer with the 2020 version to test Toyota’s horsepower claims. And it appears Toyota may be under-reporting the sports car’s output. On the dyno, the 2020 model put down 346 hp and 409 lb-ft at the wheels. The 2021 version, though, was measured at 388 hp and 426 lb-ft at the wheels.
However, more power and revised handling aren’t all that’s new about the 2021 Toyota Supra.
The new 4-cylinder Toyota Supra
The other 2021 Toyota Supra update is a new base model. Instead of the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, the base Supra gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 255 hp and 295 lb-ft.
In addition, MT reports the 2.0-liter model doesn’t get the 3.0-liter’s adaptive suspension or active differential. And unlike the larger-engine model, it lacks power seats, only has 4 speakers, and Apple CarPlay is an option. However, the less-powerful car is 219 pounds lighter, Car and Driver reports.
The 2.0-liter model might be down on power, but it has its own merits. For one, the steering feels even faster, likely due to the weight loss. It also grips better, Car and Driver reports. It will also be noticeably cheaper.
Is the 2021 model worth considering?
As of this writing, Toyota hasn’t released the 2021 Supra’s pricing. Most estimates put the 2.0-liter model at about $40,000-$45,000; the 3.0-liter model will likely cost about $10,000 more.
Some claim the smaller Supra should have been named the Celica, which previously used four-cylinders exclusively. In addition, given the Toyota 86 is getting an update which includes a new engine, a 2.0-liter Supra may seem slightly pointless. However, in an MT interview, the 86’s and Supra’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada explained the latter is less about speed, and more about involvement, with its manual transmission.
It’s worth noting that even before the handling updates, Toyota’s sports car beat out the Mustang, BMW M2, and Porsche 718 Cayman. The Cayman S is down about 30 hp but costs about $15,000 more. The 718 Cayman GT4 may be sharper, but it only makes 34 hp more than the 2021 Supra and costs roughly $40,000 more.
So, if you’ve been on the fence about the reborn Supra, consider giving it a test-drive soon.
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