Toyota Supra 2.0 — A rewarding 4-cylinder photo

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(October 25, 2020) The Toyota Supra returned to dealerships last year — 21 years after the previous Supra left the automotive landscape. The latest Supra comes with shapely sheetmetal and with considerable help from BMW, which donated the engine, transmission and interior bits and pieces. The two-seater was a hit in 2020 with its stupefying collection of curves, creases, and body moldings, and its willingness to eat up curving mountain roads with aplomb.

Even with the initial success of the modern Supra GR, Toyota isn't sitting on its hands for 2021 with some significant changes to entice more people into its stylish sports car. The biggest change is the addition of a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 255 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 1,550 rpm mated to the same eight-speed automatic transmission found in the turbocharged 3.0-liter edition. And to make the 3.0-liter more enticing, Toyota has added an astounding 47 horsepower going from 335 to 382 ponies. photo

Opting for the 4-cylinder — called the Supra 2.0 — will save the owner about $8,000 for the base model. For those people on a budget who want to keep up with the Jones of the neighborhood, the 4-cylinder Supra looks nearly identical to the 3.0 Supra both inside and out. Owners won't have to apologize for selecting the less expensive edition — at least at a glance. The biggest giveaway comes in wheel size — the 3.0 rides on 19-inchers while the 2.0 gets 18-inch wheels.

The one aspect of the two-seater that's all Toyota is styling. It's a bit off-putting, but somehow it seems to work — especially when seen in person where the proportions with its long hood and short rear deck are eye-catching. We know firsthand because we caught the eye of at least a dozen people during our time behind the wheel, most of whom thought the Supra was a real looker.

Shortly after securing the keys to the Renaissance Red Supra 2.0 and once behind the wheel we were struck with the familiarity of the interior. And no wonder. The switchgear and infotainment system were taken directly from the BMW parts bin. It's a rather strange sensation sitting in a Toyota that appears to be a BMW. The Supra GR shares its components with the new BMW Z4 convertible, and both sports cars are built in the same assembly plant in Graz, Austria.

The Supra 2.0 is available in a single trim package starting at $43,945, 8 grand less than the 3.0 six-cylinder Supra, which starts at $51,945. The 2.0, however, makes do with manually adjustable seats, 18-inch wheels and a four-speaker audio system.  But the base car is loaded with features including dual-zone climate control, black Alcantara leather sport seats, carbon fiber interior trim, frontal collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist and LED headlights with automatic high beams.

The $3,485 Safety and Technology Package makes up many of the features lacking on the base model including dynamic radar cruise control, blindspot monitoring, an 8-8-inch touchscreen with navigation,  a 12-speaker JBL system (replacing the base 4-speaker system), and Apple CarPlay compatibility. That brings the cost up to $47,430 — still considerably less than the comparably outfitted 3.0.

While you lose the go-fast aspect of the six-cylinder Supra, we found the 2.0 to be nimble and lively especially on the twists and turns of our usual rural winding road "test track" where we were rewarded with a car that enjoys being tossed around. Its sharp steering and well balanced nature makes it worth the price of admission.

This is not to say that the Supra 2.0 is slow in any sense of the word. It has been clocked at 5.0 seconds from 0-to-60 and can hit 100 mph in a quarter mile. As for the upgraded 3.0, it has been clocked from 0-to-60 in 3.5 seconds, which is a couple of ticks better than the 2020 model.

The Supra is a comfortable cruiser for two passengers, good for long distance trips, with easy-to-use switchgear and easy-to-read gauges. In addition, the sports car has a usable 10.2 cubic feet for trunk space. And the 2.0 is frugal when it comes to filling the tank (with premium gas) rated at 24 mpg city, 31 highway and 26 combined.

There’s a lot to like about the new Supra 2.0, from its brazen in-your-face-styling to its rewarding driving demeanor. It’s a car that begs to be driven and you won’t be disappointed when you do.

Production of the 2021 Supra was delayed until August, and by now should be reaching showrooms.

2021 Toyota Supra 2.0


Base price: $43,945; as driven, $47,430
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4 cylinder
Horsepower: 255 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 295 pound-feet @ 1,550 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: rear wheel
Seating: 2
Wheelbase: 97.2 inches
Length: 172.5 inches
Curb weight: 3,181 pounds
Turning circle: 34.8 feet
Luggage capacity: 10.2 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 13.7 gallons (premium)
EPA rating: 24 city, 31 highway, 26 combined
0-60: 5.0 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: BMW Z4, Porsche Cayman, Ford Mustang 2.3

The Good
• Cutting-edge styling
• Great handling sports car
• Affordable starting price

The Bad
• Little storage up front

The Ugly
• Too much BMW in cabin