Will handed me the keys to the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0. It was in my driveway. Only, it was parked facing inward instead of out. That had to change.
I opened the door and slid into the — OUCH! My head!
If it’s the one thing about the latest generation (MKV) Supra that I should have remembered from other reviews, it’s just that. The roof line on this car is very low. I’ll remember it next time.
Being in a rush to get back inside the house, I didn’t want to soak in the new Supra at this point. I just wanted to get it turned around and looking good for a quick driveway shot.
The Window Sticker
The sticker price of our tester 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 example was a staggering $47,615. That’s with only one option: the Safety and Technology Package, which added $3,485. For that, Toyota tacks on Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (super useful), Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Parking Sensors with Emergency Braking Function. Guess that’s the safety bits. Then, Toyota beefs up the infotainment system with a 12 speaker (as opposed to 4), 500-watt, JBL sound system, and adds a navigation application.
Unfortunately, by the time my day job was finished, the sun had set. My first impression would be in the dark. Time to attempt some sweet night mode photos with my ancient Google Pixel 2 XL.
I stuck to the interior and combed through the iDrive — wait can I say that in a Toyota review? Anyway, straight to the customizable driver settings. Toyota’s limited the customization selection to Steering, Transmission and Engine. You can have any setting you want as long as it’s Sport or Normal. More on that later.
The neighborhood was quiet. Let’s fire this thing up.
The microphone exaggerated the volume just a bit. The 2.0’s exhaust isn’t nearly as loud as it comes across in the video.
Now in the daylight, it was time to take a real look at the GR Supra’s interior. Inside, short of the seats it’s BMW through and through. Everything inside feels BMW-level quality and that is a good thing. The leather wrapped steering wheel is thin, with the right location of support. The buttons and paddles appear to be straight from BMW. That transfers straight to the gear shifter, climate control panel, and iDriiiiiii — can I say that here? It’s all BMW. And listen, that is still a good thing!
What I wasn’t particularly fond of was the half-baked appearance of the carbon fiber trim applied to the shifter surround area. Nowhere else in the cabin will you find carbon fiber but in the center. It’s as if I gave a new hobby a try. I did one panel and called it quits. Toyota should have finished the job and continued the carbon fiber up through the climate controls. Maybe an accent on the door trim or grab handle. A splash on the steering wheel trim, even.
On to the seats. They’re somewhat of a showcase item for me. It’s the first thing I look at when I pop open the door of a sports car. It immediately informs me of the experience I should be expecting. If your seats aren’t serious, then the car isn’t serious.
And the GR Supra isn’t joking.
The seats are two-tone, leather (or a nicely done vinyl), with contrasting stitching and a center section in a suede-like material. If these materials are the same as BMW uses, it should prove longevitous. Copyrighting that word.
The lower seat bolsters are medium, if I were to size them, allowing for easy entry and exit. I found the seats to be firm and supportive once I dialed-in the lower seat angle, height and lumbar adjustments. Lumbar adjusts with a directional pad button while the lower seat angle, height, recline are all manual. Side bolsters were also supportive, like long-distance family. Always there for you, with just enough contact to never be a nuisance. Hi mom!
My first drive in the GR Supra was actually at night and I simply could not find a way to recline the seat back. It wasn’t necessary, but I wanted to know I could. Turns out you can adjust the recline, but good luck in the dark if it’s your first time. There’s a hollow grab bar where the bottom and back pivot.
On the Road
Pulling out on to the main road for the first time and whoa! I just gave it way too much steering angle! It was just a left turn out of the neighborhood. The GR Supra is extremely sensitive to driver input. From the steering wheel, at least.
Now up to 25 MPH. Let’s try that again. Another quick, but minimal steering input, to the right this time. The Supra darts telepathically. Okay, extreme movement for such little directive. The GR Supra must have a dynamic ratio steering. It couldn’t possibly be that sharp at highway speeds, right?
Right Foot Down
Not to read off of the spec sheet, but the GR Supra 2.0 uses, you guessed it, a 2 liter turbo engine mated to an 8-speed automatic ZF transmission. The latter of which is amazing. Shifts, regardless of direction, are complete in a burping blink. Literally, there are sometimes baby burpy noises.
Because the engine displacement is small, like a toddler… alrighty. Moving on.
Here’s the thing the about the 4 cylinder engine. It’s good if you haven’t experienced BMW’s turbo inline 6 powerplants. The GR Supra 2.0’s engine produces an advertised 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Another nice thing about this being a BMW underneath is that BMW tends to under-rate their engine power figures. Recent dyno’s of the 2021 GR Supra 2.0 appear to be putting down just shy of 220 whp and 270wtq.
For those of you who don’t know, that’s the power that makes it from the engine, through the driveline (transmission, driveshaft, differential, axles, wheels) and to the road surface. There’s always a loss. Autotragic, I’m sorry — automatic, transmissions suffer from greater power loss than manual transmissions by a few percent. Actual power figures for the 2.0 liter engine may be closer to 280 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque if you check out what the MKV Supra owners are saying.
On the road, the car has plenty of go. If you’re accustom of naturally aspirated economy boxes, taking off with your right foot down in GR Supra 2.0 will make you smile and want to do that again.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound very good while doing it. To me, the 2.0 turbo sounds like a snarling vacuum cleaner. See video evidence below. 0 to 60 MPH in about 5 seconds. 80 MPH in just a tad more.
Torque isn’t late. In fact, it comes on strong at a very low RPM. Peak torque of 295, or is it 305, hits quick enough and remains strong through 80% of power before falling off. From a stop, the 275-width Michelin Pilot Sport rear tires will break lose in 70 degree dry weather.
Truth is the engine lacks excitement with anything short of the right foot down. Crackles on decel and mild turbo whoosh sounds are a gimmicky attempt to hold the drivers smile, but do add character. There is also a deep buzz from the exhaust with Sport mode on and borderline drone at idle but nothing I’d write about — too late.
Right, so the GR Supra 2.0 isn’t slow. From the driver seat, acceleration feels quicker than it does on video.
Recall those drive mode settings? Suspension wasn’t an option, sadly. The ride on the Supra is very firm, even with the rather tall 40-series sidewall tires. Dampers on this model are not adjustable.
What We Didn’t Like
Given the segment of two seater sport coupes in this price range, there isn’t much we disliked.
The wind buffeting above 25 MPH with the windows more than partially cracked is very bad. It’s a shame, because we really like driving with the windows down. There isn’t a but on this one. It’s just bad. We hope this can be cured with the aftermarket.
There is a sizable blind spot over your shoulder, but the safety technology largely mitigates this.
We thought the exhaust note in Sport mode was too quiet, but it’s probably enough for most buyers.
The raw performance-to-dollar value is low, but the only better alternative is still $10k more.
Lacks driving excitement but it’s not the thrilling trim level, anyway!
Alternatives to the GR Supra 2.0
If you’re cross shopping for an automatic, rear wheel drive, 2-seater sports coupe with power to get out of it’s own way, then you have a choice of the 297 horsepower Jaguar Type F, the 181 horsepower Mazda MX-5 RF, or the 300 horsepower Porsche 718 Cayman.
All sprint to 60 MPH in the low 5 seconds or quicker. None are slouches and all will put smiles on your faces.
The best driver’s car will be the Porsche 718 Cayman, followed closely by the Toyota and Mazda.
Forget everything you know of the Toyota Supra prior to this generation. The 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is a fantastic sports coupe worthy of a sport in your driveway. **