By on February 13, 2020

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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34 Comments on “2021 Toyota Supra: Japan Sends Four-cylinder Model to America, Beefs Up Straight-six...”

  • avatar

    Ford: Performance is a state of mind.

    Toyota: Did you hear we put 47 MORE horsepower in the Supra?

    • 0 avatar

      It seems to be working for Ford- those piped in/simulated engine noises always make me feel like I’m going faster…

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I mean, the Ford thing is stupid but this Supra is pretty much an equally cynical effort.

      Toyota Fans “Why Didn’t you build it with a Toyota motor?”

      Toyota “We didn’t have an inline 6 and we know the Supra fans would demand that.

      Toyota a year later “Hey, here is an inline 4 Supra…yeah we used to call them Celicas and actually, you know, build them but we can probably charge you more with a Supra badge.”

      Also Toyota “…adding that the engine bay can accommodate the 2JZ.”

      So I can pay for a Supra, then spend 5 figures on a swap so I can get the Supra that I want and Toyota should have built in the first place (And I am using Toyota, Build and Supra in the same sentence pretty loosely).

      If we were going to go back to the old model of the Supra 6 cylinder and the 4 Cylinder (The Celica) being closely related as in the Mk II, why not make the next gen 86 the Celica, but do a twin turbo Toyota v6 as the Supra if they can’t swing an inline 6? A find it hard to believe it would be any less acceptable to “the purists” than a 4 or 6 cylinder car built by BMW out of BMW parts.

      I keep reading on here “grumble grumble Mustang Mach E grumble gruble ruin the name” At least it is a freaking Ford and at least the actual Mustang is still built by Ford with Ford engines powering it. BMW inline Sixes in a Supra? Hey, maybe Chevy can keep the Camaro going by reskinning the next gen Mustang and putting bowties on the Coyote’s cam covers!

      The RC-F in some shape or form should have spawned a Supra. The 86 should be the Celica and Toyota should build the darned Supra.

  • avatar

    No manual transmission = absolutely no interest from me (and I would otherwise be a target customer for this car).

    Come on Toyota. You’re buying the car from BMW. Can’t you at least spring for a proper manual transmission for your namesake sports car? Can’t find a few bucks out of $272 billion in annual revenues?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Hey, I hear a 2JZ fits so you can probably put that manual in too! Or you could go buy an actual Supra with a 2JZ and a manual for less money that would be infinitely cooler than this nonsense. Heck a 2JZ fits in an SC300/400 too…probably an easier/cheaper swap and definitely better looking and you could be reminded that once, long ago Toyotas could be reliable AND cool!

  • avatar

    I don’t think anyone gives a wet c**p about this car.

    Who really cares. No Supra fan wants a BMW or believes this is the return of a real Supra.

    For everyone else sports cars are just about dead beyond Miata, Porsche, and Corvette.

  • avatar

    I still really like it.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    Toyota probably did not change the V6 engine at all. The output of the BMW Z4 was always stated at the higher number and I doubt that BMW was producing 2 different engines. BMW wanted to have bragging rights initially with higher horsepower to justify it’s much higher price. The 2019 Supra was dino tested and found to have much higher power output than stated which is consistent with this understated HP.

    • 0 avatar

      This is my take as well. We knew this engine wasn’t the real deal since BMW’s version put out more power.

      This car is a disappointment, its clearly a half hearted effort. Likely at the end of its model run they will finally put all the pieces together but by then nobody will care.

      I’ve seen like two of them on the street and sure enough the one that pulled up next to my C7 took off as if to prove it was fast. In the flesh the proportions seem wrong. Not ugly like other Toyotas but its not attractive either.

  • avatar

    I’m not sure if there’s a price above 30k that would make me want the 4 cylinder.

  • avatar

    This car is ridiculously overpriced, and neither of these engine options are appealing, a N/A inline 6 should be the base engine. But then there’s still a problem with the pricing being out of hand.

    I’ve seen a grand total of one of these, driven by what looked like a 17 year old boy.

  • avatar

    I like my sports cars to be ATTRACTIVE.
    Sorry, HARD PASS.

  • avatar

    They “fixed” a bunch of stuff but not the inherent ugliness.

  • avatar

    What an elegant low-slung road warrior, and these pictures show it in spades. There wasn’t a square millimetre of the external body that wasn’t fussed over by an obsessive to see whether it couldn’t take just one more filip, curlecue, excresence or gingerbread for that special look, a genuine Japanese Rhinestone Cowboy. The winning touch is that rear view where in shortened perspective the inspired genius of its duckbill design shows as a hump in the trunklid, cunningly arranged to look as if it is closely draped over a gigantic spare tire. Maybe two. It’s overtly flash. Want one?

  • avatar

    The four cylinder makes over 40 more horsepower than the turbo six cylinder did in my ’89 Supra Turbo, but no, it is still too unattractive to make me want to purchase one.

  • avatar

    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….

    • 0 avatar

      “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.”

      yes, but it’s “limited production” to the point they’d lose their shirts on it. They sold all of 2,800 last year. At the price they’re asking, doing it on their own would have been worse than just taking a pile of cash and setting it on fire. and they couldn’t set the price tag high enough to make it profitable.

      Car companies aren’t obligated to lose money just to please whiny “enthusiasts.”

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        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?

  • avatar

    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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