2021 Toyota Supra: Japan Sends Four-cylinder Model to America, Beefs Up Straight-six

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2021 toyota supra japan sends four cylinder model to america beefs up straight six

You’re going to feel like an idiot if you previously went out and purchased the new Toyota Supra, as the manufacturer decided to make some major improvements on the 3.0-liter inline-six for the 2021 model year — bumping up output, tweaking the suspension and adding some new options. It also decided to offer the 2.0-liter variant that was formerly prohibited from gracing our shores. And Toyota is upgrading the model’s standard equipment too, regardless of trim level, by swapping the 6.5-inch center display for an 8.8-inch screen.

But we want to make you feel as bad as possible, so let’s open with how much more horsepower the 2021 model makes when compared to the 3.0-liter GR Supra you bought last year (when dealer markups were impossible to avoid). Toyota has outfitted the twin-turbo BMW B58 with a redesigned exhaust manifold and new pistons that lower the engine’s compression. In itself, that’s not a recipe for a lot more power, but it sets the stage for Supra to endure higher turbo boost pressures and some meaningful factory tuning, resulting in 382 peak horsepower. That’s 47 more ponies than the complete garbage you took out a loan on last year, dingus.

Torque has crept up slightly, leveling off at 368 pound-feet (three more than in MY 2020). Power and torque curves have also been rejiggered, with peak power showing up slightly higher on the rev range — making it behave like a high-strung BMW Z4 M40i. The 3.0-liter GR Supra should noticeably faster than the Bimmer, however, with Toyota estimating 60 mph to arrive in 3.9 seconds. Top speed will remain electronically limited to 155 mph (which we know is lame).

The chassis has similarly been improved for 2021. There are new strut tower braces made from aluminum, retuned dampers, and fresh front and rear bump stops. Some factory tailoring was done to the car’s active rear differential, adaptive suspension and stability control. Electric power steering has also undergone a few changes, with Toyota saying the collective result is flatter handling and improved feedback to the driver.

One item that carries over is the default eight-speed automatic transmission found in all Supra models, including the new 2.0-liter variant that has been confirmed for North America. You’re probably already familiar with its engine because you can’t toss a rock into a BMW dealership without it hitting a car equipped with one. Toyota says it makes 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in the Supra (and will also be limited to 155 mph).

While you’re probably more interested in the inline-six, the 2.0-liter turbo does come with some advantages. It’s said to be substantially lighter than its fancier brother at 3,181 pounds (the 3.0-liter weighs 3,397 lbs) and will undoubtedly be more affordable. Supra project lead Tetsuya Tada has even said the model would make an excellent project car, adding that the engine bay can accommodate the 2JZ. But so does a Fox-body Mustang if you buy the correct engine mounts and can endure being razzed by the occasional, unimaginative jerk.

Toyota worked hard to maintain the vehicle’s 50/50 weight distribution, though a few corners still had to be cut. The lesser model doesn’t have the six-cylinder’s active differential or adaptive suspension. It has crappier brakes, smaller 18-inch wheels, and fewer creature comforts inside the cabin (manual seats, for example). But this also makes it ideal for extensive customization, not to mention for those who’d like a Supra for less than $50,000.

As previously stated, all trims now get the 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen that was optional last year by default. Toyota is now offering a Safety & Technology package that adds stuff like adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay and an upgraded sound system.

Both 2021 Supras should arrive at American dealerships this June, with pricing to be announced closer to launch. The straight-six version shouldn’t stray too far from last year’s price, though we’re eager to see how low Toyota can go with the 2.0-liter turbo.

There will also be a limited-run A91 Edition (capping at 1,000 units) offering an exclusive blue paint scheme, carbon fiber accenting on the exterior, raised ducktail spoiler, black wheels, some stripes on the c-pillar, and its own interior with blue stitching. The GR Supra GT4 (not pictured) follows in August, offering 430 hp and the lightest curb weight of any Supra variant. It’ll be the only model to come with its own seven-speed sports automatic transmission, and comes with a mechanical limited slip differential, a racier suspension, six-piston brakes (four-piston rear), Akrapovič exhaust system, FIA-standard racing seat with six-point harness, roll cage and everything you else you’d expect on a factory racer.

[Images: Toyota]

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6 of 34 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Feb 14, 2020

    I'm still confused about this car. Toyota is a first tier car maker with a massive financial footprint. They can afford to design and build a limited production car. While BMW is also first tier, I don't get why Toyota buys from them....it's not a Toyota, its a BMW. That's ok...but like the Saab 9-2 was a Subaru, not a Saab. They aren't making a Supra, as in a special car that Toyota can be proud of as a corporate symbol....

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    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 16, 2020

      @JimZ Was this really any cheaper than taking an RC-F and putting in some sort of twin turbo V6 or giving us the STI powered 86 everyone wants? I agree, you were never going to get an inline six built by Toyota or any of the stuff the real purists are complaining about, but if they were going to go against that anyway why not make it an actual Toyota?

  • Andrew Andrew on Feb 15, 2020

    I still have yet to see one of these ANYWHERE in person and I live in a major metro area of 2.5 million. I'm also a bus driver, to boot so I see a LOT of cars. I don't see them at Toyota dealers, I don't see them on the road and I don't see them at Cars & Coffee. I honestly think this thing is a just a figment of our imaginations.

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    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 16, 2020

      @FreedMike There was one in front of me in the line of a touch-less car wash here in Gallup NM not all that long ago. I believe it had California plates. Obviously they're not all garage queens.

  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.