2021 Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Review

2021 Toyota Supra GR 2.0 Review

Forget politics – Repubs against the ‘Crats, women opposed to “insensitive” men, even dogs versus cats.

I don’t care what any of them stand for as long as I get my second round of “free” beer, er, economic-stimulus money.

But if you want to see some serious storm-the-palace polarization, ask people what they think of the atomic yellow 2021 Toyota Supra GR I had last week.

Everyone over 50 expressed deep reservations on several fronts about the Supra – a two-seat sports car built in collaboration, weirdly, with BMW.

Those younger than 50, though, gave the car enthusiastic “I love that car” reviews by a 5-1 margin over us geezers.

“Better looking than my girlfriend,” one early-20-something noted in what I presume was an example of the insensitive men deal.

As you may recall, the Supra arrived in the U.S. in 1979 as the timid Celica Supra, evolving into a fire-breathing, turbocharged pavement-pounder – think Fast and Furious – in the mid-1990s.

The clumsy-looking sedan faded away in the U.S. in the late ‘90s, leaving a fair number of broken-hearted fans.

Though BMW and Toyota seem to be strange partners – and are – the Supra is an interesting example of the increasing number of automakers that split development costs on low-volume vehicles now.

Toyota probably got the best deal when it ended up with BMW’s excellent four- and six-cylinder engines, as well as much of the platform and suspension that will also underpin the new BMW Z4.

Oddly, from what I can tell, the new Supra somehow emerged as the better-performing of the two vehicles – though its birth appears to have been a bit rough.

Credit: Toyota

Low and sort of stubby, the two-seat Supra sports-coupe doesn’t resemble any previous Supras – or anything else.

Long, sweeping headlamps kind of dominated a droopy snout topped by a long, powerful-looking hood.

Like the Mazda Miata, the tops of the front fenders stand slightly above the hood, reaffirming the Supra’s sports-car looks.

The sides of the car, though, were busier than Interstate 405 in SoCal with curving fake vents in the Supra’s long doors and production cut-lines in the fenders.

Muscular, bulging back fenders might be the car’s strongest design element, though I also liked the Supra’s hatchback with its smooth, upturned spoiler.

Also adding to the car’s hyped-up high-performance looks were nice-looking 12-spoke aluminum 18-inch wheels wrapped with 255/40 tires up front 275/40s in back.

It’s the real deal. Although my Supra GR was an entry-level vehicle powered by BMW’s turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder, it didn’t lack for power or growl.

I’ve admired the 2-liter in several BMW vehicles in the last few years and it sizzles even more in the relatively light, 3,300-pound Supra.

BMW keeps the compression and turbo-boost high in the engine, so it pulls hard from a stop and stays angry all the way to 6,000 rpm.

Sixty miles per hour arrives in a very swift 4.7 seconds, according to Car and Driver.

Sure, I’d prefer the Supra’s optional 3-liter BMW straight six, which would be the best six-cylinder engine on the planet if Porsche wasn’t also building extraordinary sixes.

But you don’t give up much with the BMW four, which is bolted to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic.

And the four reduces the frontal weight of the supremely balanced rear-wheel-drive Supra, which feels as eager as the Miata to rip gracefully into corners.

All I needed was a place with more curves.

The steering felt a little heavy, but provided decent feedback from the road—as you might expect from a serious sports car.

Likewise, the Supra reminded me of its road-eating intent at any speed over 20 mph, contending stiffly with most bumps and even getting darty over some imperfections.

Credit: Toyota

Still, once I had squeezed into the Supra’s tight cockpit, I was happy to stay there for hours.

The black interior in my Supra seemed pretty basic for a $48,000 vehicle, but it fit the car’s personality.

Moreover, the plastics and other material felt fairly upscale.

A fairly deep upper dashboard in semi-pliable plastic rolled cleanly down onto a mid-dash dominated by a somewhat strange 8.8-inch info screen.

Of course, with the Supra’s German-Japanese roots, the audio system had to be tuned through the computer.

But that was minor compared with the car’s maddening safety nannies. I came to despise its optional safety and technology package, which included active cruise control, blind-spot sensor, lane-departure sensor and rear cross-traffic assist.

On one occasion, the nannies decided to push me back into my lane when they detected I was drifting – which sounds kind of useful for an aging foot-loose sort of guy.

The problem was I had moved over slightly to give more room to a tractor mowing the freeway right of way.

At least I had a nice bucket seat with leather bolsters and a grippy alcantra center to slump into while I caught my breath.

Personally, I would recommend passing on the nannies, the $3,485 safety and technology package.

However, that was about the only feature in the entry-level Supra’s interior I would ditch.

Next time, Toyota, please send me a Supra with the straight-six engine in it. All will be forgiven with the nannies.

2021 Toyota Supra GR 2.0

  • What I liked most: The Supra’s impressive straight-line performance and handling.
  • What I would change: The styling and the safety nannies.
  • MSRP: Base price, $42,990; as equipped, $48,040.
  • Official color: Nitro Yellow.
  • Fuel economy: 25 miles per gallon in the city, 32 on the highway and 28 mpg combined with filler on the right.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 244 miles.
  • Spare tire: None.
  • Weight: Approximately 3,300 pounds.
  • Length-width-height: 172.5 inches long/73 inches wide/50.9 inches tall.
  • Fuel-tank capacity: 13.7 gallons.
  • Towing capacity: Not applicable.
  • 2021 Toyota Supra GR in a few words: A serious, high-performance sports car in spite of the odd garb.
  • Warranty: Three-year, 36,000-mile overall warranty and five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain protection.
  • Final assembly location: Graz, Austria.
  • Manufacturer’s website: Toyota
  • E-mail me at terry@carprousa.com
  • Up next: 2021 Lexus RX450h F Sport