Best-Kept Secret Toyota’s Supra star is reborn

By Greg Rubenstein

Few vehicles inspire driving enthusiasts’ passion as the Supra.

Toyota’s 2+2 sports car hadn’t been sold in the United States for more than 20 years, until it wondrously reappeared as a 2020 model. It was a true two-seater, sharing a platform with the BMW Z4 and powered by a 335-horsepower, turbocharged, 3.0-liter, straight-six engine.

Fast forward one model year, and this fifth-generation 2021 GR Supra now comes with either a 255-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine or a revised 3.0-liter turbo straight-six good for a whomping 382 horsepower. Either engine comes mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and manual mode gear selection.

With all that power, you’d think the Supra — especially the bigger-engine 3.0 version — would be a real hoot, and you’d be absolutely correct. Thanks to a modest 3,400-pound curb weight and super-sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, 255/35 front and 275/35 rear on 19-inch wheels all around, the GR Supra 3.0 can reach 60 mph from a dead stop in less than four seconds.

Equally impressive to its off-the-line speed is the Supra’s near-telepathic dynamic responsiveness. Lane change? Think it and give the wheel the slightest nudge, and you are right there, right now, slipping around a lane hog or carving up the most technical twisty mountain roads Arizona has to offer. Need to shed speed, either for an unexpected hazard or that upcoming hairpin? A firm foot applied to the brake activates the 3.0’s monster four-piston Brembo front calipers, generating enough negative g’s to avoid trouble in any situation short of lunacy.

Far more than its Teutonic cousin, the Supra’s styling sizzles. With abundant swoops and scoops, a low-slung roof and even longer-slung hood, plus a smartly clipped rear deck topped by a short spoiler, Toyota did a good job creating a look quite distinct from the Z4.

Inside, the cabin is crisp and highly functional. Unlike many small sports cars, everything in the GR Supra is ergonomically positioned, with switchgear that falls readily to hand; intuitive controls, including the mouse-controlled multifunction infotainment system; and an excellent forward view.

The GR Supra’s only demerits are typical of the genre: ingress/egress only a contortionist could love — although it becomes acceptable with practice — and gnarly blind spots aft of the driver and passenger side b-pillars, big enough to hide a semi-tractor-trailer. Fortunately, Toyota’s engineers recognized their swoopy style came at the expense of rear side visibility and paid it forward by installing a blind spot monitor system with warning lights in both side mirrors — problem solved.

The GR Supra comes in four trims, with an MSRP starting at $42,990 for the 2.0. Three variants of the 3.0 are offered, with the base 3.0 priced at $50,990 and the range-topping special A91 edition priced at $55,990. The sampled 3.0 Premium starts at $54,490; add in $1,195 for the driver assist package (providing dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert system, and parking sensors with integrated braking function), $425 for premium Nitro Yellow paint, $80 for a cargo mat, and delivery of $995, and this GR Supra’s out-the-showroom price came in at $57,185.

As hot as this new GR Supra is, its sales have been sluggish, with fewer than 10,000 sold across the United States in its first year after reintroduction. For the fortunate few who are in the know and happily park a Supra in their garage, low sales equal exclusivity, and at the risk of letting this ferocious cat out the bag, there are few competitors offering the performance and pure driving joy of the 3.0 — at any price. Take one out for a test and you’ll be in the know, too — just don’t be surprised if you end up driving it home. 

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