Legends often die or fade away—that’s what happened with the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, after all. However, sometimes, they can be reborn, if not always in exactly the same way. Such is the case with the Toyota Supra. As good as the 2021 Supra 3.0 is, people will always compare it to its Fast and Furious-starring predecessor, the Mk4 Supra. But does the JDM icon’s shadow really loom so large that it blots out the new model completely? Or does the new Toyota Supra out-shine the old one? YouTube team Throttle House tried to find out.
2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 vs. 1994 Mk4 Supra Turbo: swapping specs and features
While 2021 brings a four-cylinder model, the Toyota Supra 3.0 is laid out similarly to the 1994 Mk4 Supra Turbo. Namely, both have rear-wheel drive and turbocharged six-cylinder engines.
The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 shares its engine with the BMW Z4 M40i, Car and Driver reports. It’s a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder which now makes 382 hp and 368 lb-ft. At least, those are the official specs; Car and Driver reports it might be closer to 400 hp.
Meanwhile, the 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo’s 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, the fabled 2JZ, has two sequentially-linked turbochargers. But despite that, it’s less powerful than the modern car, Car and Driver reports, with 320 hp and 315 lb-ft. It’s also about 100 pounds heavier than the Supra 3.0, as well as longer and wider.
However, unlike the 2021 Toyota Supra, it has a manual, which on Turbo models means a 6-speed, rather than a 5-speed, Hagerty reports. And being larger, it has space for rear seats (though they’re admittedly fairly small).
The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 and 1994 Mk4 Supra Turbo share a few other performance features. Both have limited-slip differentials, vented disc brakes, and traction control, Hagerty reports. However, on the 2021 Supra, the differential is active, as is the suspension, Motor Trend reports. The new model also features stability control, adjustable driving modes, and modern infotainment. Plus, it benefits from several decades-worth of chassis and suspension design development.
But the Mk4 Toyota Supra’s appeal was never about its electronic gadgets. It’s all about that 2JZ iron-block six-cylinder. It was developed towards the end of Japan’s Bubble Era and is almost comically overbuilt. It’s not unheard of to see tuned 2JZs running with 800 hp on stock internals, Jalopnik reports.
A tale of two Toyota Supras
However, the 1994 Toyota Supra Turbo in Throttle House’s latest video isn’t a tuner special. It’s a stock JDM example, something that’s getting harder and harder to find. This means that, on paper, it falls behind the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0.
The 1994 car goes 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, Car and Driver reports, while the 2021 model does it in 3.7 seconds. And it’s a similar story with the 5-60 and ¼-mile times: the newer car out-accelerates the old one.
But the Mk4 Supra’s numbers are still fairly decent today. And back in the 90s, they were enough to help it win out over the Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo, and Mazda RX-7, Car and Driver reports. Plus, Throttle House reports it still feels quick today.
However, where the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 really starts to win out over the Mk4 model is its handling. That’s not to say the old car is bad. It turns into corners easily, and despite good ride quality, there’s not a lot of body roll, Car and Driver reports. It’s still fun to drive today.
But its steering isn’t as quick as the new car’s steering is, and is strangely devoid of feeling. Its seats, while comfortable, aren’t as supportive or as well-bolstered as the ones in the new car. And that’s likely because the Mk4 Supra is more of a GT than a sports car, Road & Track explains. The new Supra, though, is a sports car from the start.
Yet the Mk4 car has some advantages over the new one. For one, it has better visibility and more interior space. And the 2021 Toyota Supra’s design means driving with the windows down is an incredibly noisy ordeal, R&T reports. Plus, it has a manual.
Which is the one to get?
Choosing between a Mk4 Toyota Supra Turbo and the 2021 Supra 3.0 isn’t as straightforward as it may seem, then. Especially now that Toyota is once again making spare parts for the Mk4, Car and Driver reports. The older car isn’t quite as fast or as sharp as the new one, but it has its own appeal. Especially if you’re less about driving on a track and more into driving on normal roads.
The new Supra, though, maybe easier on your wallet than the old one. The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 starts at $50,990. The Premium model, with its JBL audio, heated seats, and Brembo brakes, starts at $54,490.
Mk4 Supra values have risen over the years, as stock examples become rarer. In 2019, one low-mileage example set an online auction record, The Drive reports, going for $121,000 on Bring a Trailer. It was broken in March 2020, when a 1995 example sold for $126,000.
Admittedly, these are outliers. But even the cheapest examples can easily go for $40,000-$50,000. JDM examples can be even more expensive. As of this writing, Toprank Importers has a 1995 example listed for $74,995.
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