What Is It?
Back in the 1980s and 1990s Toyota was a big player in the sports car market, offering models such as the MR2, Celica and of course, the Supra. Although the Celica and MR2 have not returned (yet), after a 20-year hiatus the vaunted Supra nameplate returns. Introduced last year, the GR Supra came to market with a powerful turbocharged 6-cylinder engine, and for 2021 there’s a more affordable 4-cylinder version: the Toyota GR Supra 2.0. After spending a few days in the Supra 2.0, we’re simply going to go ahead and say it: Less power could actually be more fun — wait, what?
Toyota provides us with a 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 painted in an eye-grabbing Nitro Yellow. Even though the Supra 2.0 is the base-level Supra, it still comes well equipped from the factory. The only options on our test vehicle were a Safety & Technology Package and the special paint color, for a total MSRP of $42,990. Competitors to the Supra 2.0 include the BMW Z4, Porsche Cayman and Nissan 370Z.
Toyota designers took inspiration from the fourth generation-Supra for the new version, including a prominent center grille flanked by large air intakes. The double-bubble roof design pays homage to the 2000 GT while reducing drag by lowering the center of the roof without impacting headroom. Aside from its slightly smaller wheels (18-inch vs. 19-inch) and some minor trim variances, the 2.0 is almost indistinguishable from 6-cylinder-powered 3.0.
Proper Sports Car Looks
The Supra looks powerful with large fender flares that begin at the door and curve beautifully over the rear wheels; the driver has a great view of these when looking through the Supra’s sideview mirrors. At the rear, all elements converge toward the Supra logo — LED taillights appear to point inward, and the lower rear window tapers downward towards the logo, while the glass tapers up (like an upside down triangle), angling up into the integrated spoiler. Dual exhaust outlets compete the look.
Under the Hood
Powering the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque that gets sent to the rear wheels. Peak torque starts at a low 1550 rpm which makes the engine very responsive. According to Toyota, the Supra 2.0 will run to 60 mph in 5 seconds, but it feels quicker behind the wheel.
The only transmission available for any Supra is an 8-speed automatic that can be shifted manually via paddles on the steering column. As much as we would love to drive the Supra with a manual gearbox, the automatic transmission works well thanks to quick gear changes and nice downshifts when slowing — especially when set to Sport mode.
Not only is the Supra fun to drive, it’s also fuel efficient. According to the U.S. EPA, the Supra 2.0 earns ratings of 25 mpg city / 32 mpg hwy / 28 mpg combined. During our time in the Supra we drove it pretty hard and still achieved more than 20 mpg — no doubt driving at a more sedate pace would achieve the efficiency numbers published by the EPA.
Toyota designers kept the Supra’s interior stylish yet simple — as a sports car should be. Horizontal vents and a metal trim strip spanning the dash give the cabin a wide feeling. The 8.8-inch display screen is easy to read and navigate, incorporating physical buttons and a controller in the center console for quick access to features such as media and navigation. Some well-placed carbon fiber trim also adds to the car’s sporty nature.
Keeping with the simplicity is beauty motif, the digital driver display centers around a large tachometer with digital speed readout as the other primary item. A trip computer readout appears in the lower right-hand corner of the display.
Trimmed in leather and black Alcantara with subtle red accents, the standard sport seats of the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 are not only attractive, they are also comfortable. Side bolsters at the back and thighs keep the driver and passenger from sliding around during enthusiastic driving maneuvers.
A downside of small sports cars, the cargo area of the 2021 Toyota GR Supra is not incredibly spacious. That said, there is adequate room for a small piece of luggage or a few grocery bags. (An integrated cargo cover keeps items secure from prying eyes.) The cargo area is accessible behind the passenger compartment, making it easy to stow items out of sight from the passenger cabin.
On the Road
From the moment a driver slides behind the wheel of the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0, the pleasing exhaust note and responsive throttle immediately inspire a smile. About 220 pounds lighter than the Supra 3.0, the Supra 2.0 feels light and nimble with excellent steering and agile performance.
Plenty of Power
Since we had already experienced driving the GR Supra 3.0, we anticipated missing the more powerful engine, although at no time did the Supra 2.0 feel underpowered. Acceleration feels strong and this sporty car exhibits excellent traction and has fine, fun road manners — especially on a winding backroad. If our street drives were any indication, the Supra 2.0 would create an exuberant day at the track.
The 2021 Toyota GR Supra has made a triumphant return, continuing its legacy as a modern-day sports car. With attractive styling that stands out from the crowd (especially in Nitro Yellow), the Supra is a joy to drive. The 2.0 offers excellent performance with everyday drivability sure to bring a smile, and with a price that starts $8,000 less than the 3.0, the lesser powered model could very well be the right Supra to buy.