The 2021 Toyota Supra rides proud of its German heritage
CASEY WILLIAMS. |.Auto Reviewer
When you think of the Toyota Supra, you probably imagine the quintessential Japanese sports car designed, engineered, and built in Japan. But, after a two-decade hiatus, the current generation 2021 Supra was designed in Japan, engineered in Germany and built in Austria. As strange as that seems, it worked out pretty well.
Smooth, sexy muscular style
The tangled breeding comes from Toyota co-developing the Supra with BMW and sharing much beneath the body shell with the Z4 roadster. But you’d be hard-pressed to know that by a quick walk-around. The front was clearly inspired by Formula One racecars, with its low splitter wing, curved beak and squinty LED headlamps. The side profile is both muscular and sensual, with smooth sweeps over the front wheels, double-bubble roof, wide fenders and fastback with integrated spoiler. Below are twin exhausts set in a black diffuser.
Brembo brakes with red calipers peek from behind 19-inch alloys. Underbody aero panels hide beneath.
It’s all pretty sexy.
The interior is pure BMW. Sure, the door coverings aren’t quite as premium; the leather-wrapped steering wheel isn’t as plush, and flatscreen gauges have been restyled. But carbon fiber console trim, deeply bolstered, heated sport seats and all of the controls are from Bavaria.
Unfortunately, that means the Supra gets BMW’s decrepit iDrive infotainment system with confusing menus, but devices connect easily via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and wireless charging.
A plus of the coupe over BMW’s roadster is a large hatchback and ample space for luggage, so crank up the 12-speaker JBL audio system, grab the one you love and get gone.
BMW and Toyota are both leaders in active safety systems, so it’s no surprise the Supra has all of them: automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warning, rear cross path detection and parking sensors with braking are part of our car’s repertoire. So are a color head-up display and radar adaptive cruise to keep eyes ahead and space between bumpers.
My Bavarian beating heart
You’ll find nothing related to Toyota under the hood, as both available engines come from BMW. Base models rev with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivering 255 horsepower, but our rocket planted BMW’s 3.0-liter inline-six, sending 382 horsepower and 368 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. Use Launch Control and you’ll blip 0-60 mph in about 4 seconds. Stay off of the happy pedal to enjoy excellent fuel economy ratings of 22/30-MPG city/highway.
For a track-ready sports car, the Supra isn’t overly harsh to drive. A button in the console puts the adaptive suspension into Sport mode and firms it up, but the normal setting does a good job of soaking up city streets and highway joints. You’ll never confuse the Supra with a Lexus, but it’s certainly livable during the daily commute or weekend travels. I’d drive it 500 miles without blinking.
I have absolutely no problem with Toyota and BMW co-developing a couple of sports cars. It’s likely neither the Supra nor Z4 would be possible without combined production volumes, so enthusiasts of both get what they want.
And what I want is to drive the Supra some more. All I have to do is spend at least $43,190 — or $56,680 for our fun ride with the turbo-six. Competitors include the Nissan Z, Porsche Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.
2021 Toyota GR Supra
Two-passenger, RWD Coupe
• Powertrain: 3.0-liter T6, 8-spd trans
• Output: 382hp/368 lb.-ft. torque
• Suspension f/r: Elect Ind/Ind
• Wheels f/r: 19”/19” alloy
• Brakes f/r: Brembo disc/disc
• Must-have features: Style, Performance
• Fuel economy: 22/30 mpg city/hwy
• Assembly: Graz, Austria
• Base/As-tested price: $43,190/56,680