A Supra-Dupra new model year

A year after its world debut, the Toyota GR Supra is back for 2021 with more horsepower and a four-cylinder option. The 3.0 and 3.0 Premium grades will now boast 382 HP from its 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, and for the first time in the U.S., Supra will come with an available turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the 2.0 grade. Toyota photo
A year after its world debut, the Toyota GR Supra is back for 2021 with more horsepower and a four-cylinder option. The 3.0 and 3.0 Premium grades will now boast 382 HP from its 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, and for the first time in the U.S., Supra will come with an available turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the 2.0 grade. Toyota photo

2021 Toyota Supra has new 2.0-liter engine, but same punchy performance and high-performance looks

The first vehicle of the 2021 model year I drove just might go down as the most memorable and my favorite of the 2021 model year.

Several months ago, as the first vehicles of the 2021 model year rolled out, I was delivered a car I’ve been looking for. One that has been relaunched and one I had warm feelings for back in the day.

I’m talking about the ’21 Toyota Supra. I loved this car in the ’80s and ’90s. When I heard it was being brought back, I was giddy. I didn’t have the chance to drive it in 2019 or 2020 when it first launched, so I had to wait impatiently. The wait was worth it!

To add to the already bold look of the Supra, my tester came to me with a vibrant Nitro Yellow exterior. Talk about eye-popping. It garnered plenty of attention.

The rest of this car’s looks resemble a roadster with a slight tip of the cap to the Supra’s older appearance. It’s designed just right – from its aggressive and stylized front end to the nearly perfect back. Rarely is a car as good on the back side as it is on the front, but the Supra might actually look better from there. The dual exhaust tips and small spoiler show the Supra is all about sportiness and performance, too.

A knock the Supra takes from some enthusiasts is it’s too much like the BMW Z4. I can’t deny the resemblance, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing, either.

During the first two years of the Supra’s revival, the car only had a six-cylinder. My tester came with the new addition for the 2021 model year: a 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbo. It makes 255 horses and 295 lbs.-ft. of torque. The 8-speed automatic transmission is outstanding with remarkable shifting and no turbo lag. Paddle shifters might appease the manual transmission snobs.

Sure, the six-cylinder makes nearly 400 horses, but that doesn’t mean the Supra GR is puny.

With its size and weight ratio, the 255 horses feel like a lot more. Overall, the Supra over-performs its numbers by a longshot. It is the punchiest, most aggressive car I’ve driven that’s below 300 horsepower. There’s even a bit of a growl tuned in, too! This rear-wheel driver is an absolute blast. Drift car enthusiasts will find it amazing (no, I didn’t drift in it).

Inside, the two-door coupe might feel a little snug. To compare, the Mazda Miata’s interior feels much smaller than the Supra’s and even a leggy passenger had ample legroom. The sport-inspired Alcantara leather seats are comfortable and supportive and afford a great vantage point for zigging and zagging through twisty roads.

Carbon fiber accents offer more attractiveness. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel feels wonderful. There’s 10.2 cubic feet in the trunk which is small but is actually not bad for this segment.

The 8.8-inch touchscreen feels perfectly sized so it doesn’t overwhelm the interior. And with the shared technology with BMW, the infotainment system has been improved with more technology and intuitiveness.

The GR Supra 2.0 had starting price of $42,990. With added packages, including a safety package, the special Nitro color, and a delivery and processing fee, the final MSRP of my tester was $47,855.

The Supra has a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway. For a small car with a four-cylinder engine, that is a little lower than I’d expect. But I also didn’t really care about fuel economy because I drove it very heavy-footed.

Driving should be fun. A vehicle should be as enjoyable as much as it should be utilitarian. The 2021 Toyota Supra GT has all of that.

As practical as a two-person coupe can be, the Supra is fun to drive, has drop-dead gorgeous looks and provides a throwback vibe to the days when cars had personality. The Supra has plenty of that, inside and out. And for that, it will be remembered as one of my favorites of the 2021 model year. They say you always remember your first. This is definitely a good start to the new model year.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist.

2021 TOYOTA SUPRA GR

Price/As-tested price................................................ $42,990/$47,855

Mileage.......................................... 24 mpg/city; 31 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.0-liter 4-cylinder

Horsepower................................. 255 hp/295 lbs.-ft.

Transmission................................. 8-speed automatic transmission

Drive wheels................ Rear-wheel drive

Final assembly point................ Graz, Austria

A year after its world debut, the Toyota GR Supra is back for 2021 with more horsepower and a four-cylinder option. The 3.0 and 3.0 Premium grades will now boast 382 HP from its 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, and for the first time in the U.S., Supra will come with an available turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the 2.0 grade. Toyota photo

The ’21 Toyota GR Supra’s new dual-branch exhaust manifold, with six ports instead of two, improves airflow and heat management. Toyota photo

The 8.8-inch touchscreen feels perfectly sized so it doesn’t overwhelm the interior. And with the shared technology with BMW, the infotainment system has been improved with more technology and intuitiveness. Toyota photo

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