2021 Toyota Supra Is A Fantastic, But Unlovable Sports Car - IMBOLDN
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When news of the next-gen Supra started appearing on forums and news sites, Toyota had high expectations to meet. Expectations that aged like fine wine for 18 years and a seemingly endless supply of Fast & Furious movies have given the Toyota Supra a cult status. So fans were reasonably upset when they learned BMW would power their beloved JDM legend. But, much to the relief of everyone, 2020 and now 2021 Toyota Supra is a thrilling sports car that checks all the boxes: it’s fast, comfortable (enough), head turner styling, and handles like a go-kart with Pirellis. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

During my week with the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium, I got to experience my first Supra and, technically, my first BMW Z4. Half a decade of testing cars, and I can say that this Nitro Yellow Toyota Supra got me more attention than any other press vehicle in my career thus far. Everywhere I went, people stopped to ask me about the car or comment on how much they liked it. The 2021 Toyota Supra does everything a sports car should do, yet I could not fall in love with it. The Supra was built with the finest ingredients to prepare a delicious meal, but corporate collaboration left out the most important one – love. 

What’s New for 2021 in the Toyota Supra

For 2021, Toyota gave the Supra’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six a power bump from 335-hp to 382-hp and 368 lb.-ft of torque. Rumors of a manual transmission option are circling, but right now, the only transmission available is the eight-speed automatic until we see an official press release. The entry-level engine option for the Toyota Supra is the 2.0-liter single turbocharged inline-four producing 255-hp and 295 lb.-ft of torque. Regardless of which engine is under the hood, the 2021 Toyota Supra’s speed limiter kicks in at 155 mph (just like a BMW). If you look hard enough, you will find small BMW propellers stamped on various parts of the engine bay.

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

The entry-level price for the Supra 2.0 is $43,090. The model tested in this review was the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium with a starting price of $54,590 plus Nitro Yellow, a $425 color option, and Toyota’s Drive Assist Package, a $1,195 option. During a week of testing, I traveled 650 miles while averaging 26 mpg. 

The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Can Sing and Dance

The best detail on the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium is how it sounds. Whether the exhaust sound is being fed into the cabin by audio boxes or the real deal does not matter. In the same way, listening to a live album in the privacy of your home is vastly more comfortable than going to a concert. The moment you hit the ignition button, the 3.0-liter breathes into life with a straight-six growl confirming your suspicions that yes, this car is as fast as it looks. 

The moment you hit the ignition button, the 3.0-liter breathes into life with a straight-six growl confirming your suspicions that yes, this car is as fast as it looks. 

Rev the engine high enough, and you’ll get the snap, crackle, and pop from the exhaust pipe car nerds enjoy so much. The facts state the 2021 Supra  3.0 when using the 2,000 RPM launch control setting, will sprint from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds. That number may sound slow compared to a sporty EV, but trust me when I say that it feels fast enough. Step inside the snug jet-fighter cockpit and admire the big round tachometer in the center of the dash, tempting you to touch its 7,000 RPM redline. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

I was pleased with how responsive the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium is to your commands. Power comes on in a split second after hitting the gas. Braking is even better as its Brembo disc brakes throw out the full anchor when you need it to, but allows you to be a smooth operator during regular stop-and-go traffic, creating a good balance between sporty and daily commuting. I engaged the Supra’s sport mode during the “private road in Mexico” speed run test. Foot to the floor, I was able to pass the 150 mph mark faster than a YouTube ad you aren’t allowed to skip. The entire time the car felt centered and planted.  

Foot to the floor, I was able to pass the 150 mph mark faster than a YouTube ad you aren’t allowed to skip.

Steering is equally responsive in the 2021 Supra. The wheel feels light, and you flick it into the turns and smile as the car grips like it was on rails. This is a rear-wheel drive, front-end sports car that is comfortable enough to drive daily. However, you better plan ahead because the 2021 Toyota Supra will have you hunting for the route with the most turns. 

Being the Center of Attention 

As stated earlier, the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium attracted a lot of attention. Kids riding bikes would stop pedaling and ask if it was my car. Older men would tab on the window at gas station pumps to ask what sort of car this was. A Texas State Trooper stopped to say hello when I was taking photos of the Supra. Being a good sport, he positioned his Chevrolet Tahoe patrol SUV to snap a photo of both vehicles. The Toyota Supra is a head-turner in the best way possible. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

The car’s exterior color, Nitro Yellow, snatches people’s line of sight and pulls them in. Styling cues on the Supra start at an angry hornet front end stretching over a long straight-six hood, over a bubble-top roofline that ends in a focal point hatchback with a ducktail lip and flared rear fenders voluptuous enough to look good in yoga pants. The model shown in this review is the Supra  3.0 Premium offering 19-inch forged aluminum wheels that fill the car’s wheel arch nicely. 

Cozy Close Quarters Interior 

The Premium trim level also features a 12-speaker JBL HiFi sound system, black leather-trimmed, heated, sport bucket seats with memory function, and a color head-up display. In the center of the dash is an 8.8-inch touchscreen controlled using a touchpad control. The interior is where the Supra ends up feeling more like a BMW. Most of the fit and finish inside are parts sourced from Germany. Most notably, the gear lever feels like a non-greasy joystick of a vintage arcade fighting game that springs back to its original resting position after selecting a gear. 

Due to the close-quarters inside the Supra, it is hard to ignore the infotainment screen. The fact that it does not have a plain home screen means that you will constantly be looking in the corner of your eye like the common screen-junky most of us are. It’s enough to make you wish Toyota offered a screen delete option for the Supra. If you are six feet or taller, getting into the Supra may take some effort. Graciously the bubble-top roof provides additional headroom. 

Safe Supra 

The 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium offers safety with its performance. Standard safety features on the Toyota Supra lineup include eight airbags with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, road sign recognition, automatic high beams, and active lane control. In addition, Toyota offers the Driver Assist Package, which adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-centering assist if you need more. The Supra  3.0 featured in this review came equipped with the Driver Assist Package, and I was grateful to have blind-spot monitoring. 

Ironically, the Supra’s responsive steering made the lane-centering assist incredibly annoying. This system is used to assist Corollas and Highlanders with more relaxed steering. However, in the Supra, the lane-centering assist is too sensitive for a nimble sports car. As a result, the vehicle jerks around and can make other motorists question your sobriety. 

The Supra is Too Good to Love 

Looking at the 2021 Toyota Supra  3.0 for what it is, a quality sports car, everything makes sense. It’s a two-seater coupe with nearly plenty of power that can handle the grind of daily commuting with an exhaust note powerful enough to make you enjoy Monday morning. Driving the Supra is a delight every time. However, it lacks soul. Like a Marvel movie, it offers fun but no depth. It’s Michael Bay when fans of the Toyota Supra legacy wanted Michael Mann. I think it comes down to this being more BMW than Toyota. Nevertheless, I could not shake the feeling that this car was putting on a face, and it literally is. 

Like a Marvel movie, it offers fun but no depth. It’s Michael Bay when fans of the Toyota Supra legacy wanted Michael Mann.

This car thrills you with logic instead of passion. It is not rebellious. It feels corporate, and the whole point of a sports car is romance, which I did not find in the 2021 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium. But, while this car has no heart, it will flood your brain with serotonin every time you hit the gas pedal.