What it is: The Toyota Supra is Toyota’s current king of performance cars. After a nearly 20-year break, it was released in 2020 as a fire-spitting, turbocharged rocket. The previous version, which was featured prominently in the 2001 cult classic film ‘The Fast and the Furious,’ fueled the desires of many a millennial, and with that generation now starting to reach almost 40 years old, they have the income available to purchase shiny new sports cars.
The new Supra has a different story to tell than you might expect. You see, this Supra was co-developed with BMW and is effectively a BMW Z4 in the interior and under the hood. It has BMW bells and chimes, BMW infotainment and plenty of BMW-stamped parts under the hood. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but one of the primary reasons people choose a Toyota is for the longevity and affordable maintenance, and I would imagine the Supra ownership experience would be more akin to owning a BMW.
Toyota actually did make some changes for the 2021 model year: the V6-powered car got a power bump from 335 horsepower to 382 horsepower (sorry Supra owners who bought last year) and they added a turbocharged four-cylinder version that produces 255 horsepower. The four-cylinder car starts at $42,990 and the six-cylinder car at $50,990. When you opt for the V6, you also get Brembo brakes, adaptive suspension, bigger wheels and a few other things, so if you are interested in speed (and shopping against something like the Camaro SS, Mustang GT or even a C8 Corvette) then you’ll definitely want to go with the horsepower bump. However, it is quite shocking how fast the V6-powered car is; 0-60 in 3.8 seconds and the quarter mile at 12.3 seconds. Are there faster cars? Of course. Do you need a faster car? Absolutely not. And while I did not have the opportunity to drive the four-cylinder version, I would imagine that if you aren’t into going to the track, the 255 horsepower (and significant weight reduction from a smaller engine) will be enough to scratch the itch for thousands less in price.
One of my favorite aspects of the Supra is the exterior appearance. The nose is fine, but the rear of the car is lust worthy. Huge rear fender flares poke out and are easily seen in your side mirrors. Truly, one of the biggest benefits of the Supra is that it isn’t a Mustang or Camaro. The Supra has presence and people will want to know what it is. My test vehicle was yellow, and several people approached me over my one-week loan to learn more about what it was.
The driving experience is a bit bumpy. It is a sports car, so this is somewhat to be expected, but it would get tiresome extremely quickly if you intended for this to be your daily driver. Also, the Supra is very low to the ground and a little tricky to get into. Once you are inside the car, everything is the right size though. It was easy to park and mostly easy to see out of and had plenty of head room.
MPG: 25 combined/22 city/30 highway
Price: $42,990 base price. $57,155 as-tested.
Upsides: Exotic looks. Tons of power.
Downsides: Bumpy suspension lets you count every pebble on your drive home.
Wrap-up: The Supra is in a tough spot. The launch of the C8 Corvette spoiled the raw value by launching at a $60k price point and you can go just as fast with a Mustang for $10k less, so who is the Supra for? Sports cars are already a niche vehicle and the segment has become somewhat crowded (especially with the new Nissan 400Z launch imminent). I hate to recommend something just because it is different, but that is the main selling point to the Supra. It is immensely fun to drive and visually stunning, but it would be difficult for me to spend this much with the Corvette priced just above. If you want something different with all of the fun, or if you had a poster of the Supra on your wall when you were younger, then here it is, waiting to deliver that long-promised smile.