Bad news for the 2,884 Americans who bought Supras in 2019 (and the 252 Canadians): Toyota is giving it a substantial update for the 2021 model year.
Perhaps the least surprising news is the addition of a four-cylinder model. Other markets already had it, making it a relatively easy choice for Toyota to bring to North America. It will act as a mid-point between the pared-back 86 and the six-cylinder Supra.
Like the existing inline-six, the four-cylinder is from both Bavarian and turbocharged. The BMW-sourced 2.0-liter puts out a healthy 255 hp, plateauing from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm. Torque is a stout 295 lb-ft, delivered from a low 1,550 rpm right up to 4,400 rotations. It sends the power to the rear wheels via the same eight-speed automatic as the 2020 car, though without the 3.0’s active differential.
To balance the decrease in power, Toyota has fitted slightly smaller, 13.0-inch (330 mm) brakes up front, down from 13.7 inches (348 mm) on the six-cylinder model. The calipers are now single piston versus four. The Adaptive Suspension is also gone, with a fixed setup in place. Inside, Supra 2.0 drops its speaker count to four (from 10), and its seats are manually adjustable.
Weight savings are dramatic, with the smaller-engined model tipping the scales at only 3,181 lb (1,442 kg). That should translate to a fun drive, and straight line speed is hardly what we’d call slow: Toyota is quoting a 0-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds, making it the second-fastest vehicle in the Toyota lineup. Sorry RAV4 Prime, you’re third-place now.
The bigger news is the dramatic increase in horsepower for the 3.0-liter model. When the Supra launched, some people were critical of its power figures, pointing out that numerous other 3.0-liter BMW models produced more power. The 2021 Supra bumps the total corral to 382 ponies, which is exactly what its platform mate, the BMW Z4, produces in M40i spec. Torque increases by three to 368 lb-ft; curb weight goes up by three too, to an even 3400 lb (1,542 kg).
Add it all up and the six-cylinder Supra is now capable of making the 0-60 mph dash in 3.9 seconds versus 4.1 last year. Which is—you guessed it—the same time the Z4 needs.
Toyota has tinkered with the suspension setup as well. It’s added aluminum braces joining the strut towers to the radiator support, new bump stops all around and adjusted the damper tuning. The team also reprogrammed the stability control, adaptive suspension and electric power steering. Combined, these changes should result in a flatter, more predictable Supra through the corners.
The question is whether the 2021 MY engine will be as underrated as last year’s. Shortly after the A90 debuted, Car and Driver hooked it up to a dynamometer. The results were 339 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque at the wheels, suggesting the 2020 engine was already putting out numbers in line with these new 2021 figures.
To celebrate the 2021 updates, Toyota will be offering 1,000 A91 Editions. The limited edition will feature the powered-up inline-six, and come in either black or an eye-catching new blue, called Refraction. A91 models come with a carbon fiber rear lip spoiler and side mirrors, black rims, and C-pillar hash marks. The interior features black leather and Alcantara with blue contrasting pieces.
A new Safety and Technology Package will be optional on the 2.0 and 3.0 trims. It includes dynamic cruise control, rear cross traffic alert (RCTA), blind spot monitoring (BSM), parking sensors, a 12-speaker JBL audio system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Supra Connected Services. The Driver’s Assist Package, consisting of the cruise control, RCTA, BSM, and parking sensors will be available on the 3.0 Premium and A91.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Toyota GR Supra Review
We were fans of the Supra at its launch last year, and the improvements to the six-cylinder should make it an even stronger package. Meanwhile the 2.0 will make it more accessible to those on a tighter budget—plus its lighter weight and simpler spec might even make it the sweeter steer. Or those planning to swap out the engine anyway…
Toyota hasn’t announced the pricing for the 2021 Supra GR yet, but expect numbers before it hits dealers this summer.
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