2021 Toyota Supra 2.0 Review and Drive Impressions
Amy Plemons | May 13, 2020
We all need something to get excited about right now. So if you haven’t heard already, the Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is headed to the U.S. later this year! It may not be here as soon as we’d like, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, but it’ll be worth the wait, just like its sibling the 3.0 that arrived on the market last year.
The 2020 GR (Gazoo Racing) Supra returned to the market last summer after a two-decades plus absence. For the record, the 3.0 Premium was one of my favorite test drives of 2019. Needless to say my excitement was hard to contain when a 2021 2.0 pre-production prototype in the same color, Renaissance Red, arrived in my driveway recently as my week’s test drive.
2021 Supra Lineup
The entry-level 2.0 joins the U.S. lineup for 2021, while the 3.0 enjoys a big horsepower boost from 335 to 382 (it’s offered as a base or Premium.) Car Pro Show Host Jerry Reynolds explains how Toyota boosted the 2021’s horsepower recently in his recent review. An A91 Edition is limited to 1,000.
The 2.0 and 3.0 sport the same sleek, stunning looks with just subtle differences to the exterior, so your average passerby isn’t going to be able to really tell which one you are driving. But you are going to feel the difference behind the wheel due to their different powertrains and the resulting difference in weight along with changes to the chassis.
If you’ve been following the Supra at all you know it’s here today thanks to a partnership between Toyota and BMW. Both the 2.0 and 3.0 sport a BMW-sourced engine sourced to an 8-speed automatic. But the 2.0 engine is a BMW-sourced 4-cylinder, not the 6-cylinder the 3.0 shares with the BMW Z4. The 4-cylinder delivers 255-hp vs the 2021 Supra 3.0’s 382-hps. (Shared engine aside, Toyota did all the final tuning on its own to make it unique to the Supra.)
The 2.0 is more than 200 pounds lighter than the 3.0, with the weight reduction spread throughout the car for a nearly perfect weight distribution like its more powerful sibling. That weight reduction comes via smaller brakes and a smaller wheel size, along with changes to the chassis. Unlike the I6, the I4 does not have an active rear differential, it has a traditional limited slip differential. It also doesn’t have the 3.0’s adaptive suspension. Toyota also says the 2.0’s springs and damper tuning/rate are unique due to differences in mass. Software tuning is unique to the 2.0 as well.
Toyota projects a 0 to 60 time of 5 seconds and the 2.0 has the same electronically limited 155-mph top track speed as the 3.0.
2.0 Drive Impressions
Comparing the 2.0 to the 3.0, both are sporty, engaging rides, but they do feel different. The 2.0 feels lighter on its feet while the 3.0 feels more planted to the ground. After driving the 335-horsepower Supra last fall, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the 255-horsepower, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The acceleration did not disappoint, nor did the 296 lb-ft of torque. Coupled with the 8-speed automatic gearbox, the horsepower felt perfectly matched to the model’s reduced weight. The Supra’s paddle shifters really add to the sporty, exhilarating experience and I put them to good use. (Note, a manual is not available on either model, but you can get one on the also fabulous Toyota 86.)
You’ll get enhanced cornering stability on the 3.0 since, among other differences, it’s equipped with adaptive variable suspension and active differential and the 2.0 is not.
According to the folks at Toyota, the 3.0 is aimed at track enthusiasts who wanted more power and performance. The 2.0 is aimed at a younger, entry level buyer or those interested in modifying a lighter vehicle.The 2.0’s smaller engine gives you more room under the hood for modifications which may be attractive to some buyers and Toyota says it’s something it expects.
Here’s a quick comparison of key differences:
The Supra is a word, stunning. Such attention to detail and design from its sleek lines bumper to bumper as well as the aerodynamic double-bubble roof that harkens back to the 2000 GT. There are a few exterior differences between the 2.0 and 3.0. The 2.0 rides on smaller but sharp-looking 18-inch wheels, as opposed to 19-inch.
The power folding heated side mirrors are glossy black on the 2.0, and matte black on the 3.0. In the rear, the 2.0 is equipped with polished stainless steel while the 3.0 features brushed stainless steel tips. Everybody wins with LED headlights, taillights and an LED reverse backup light, along with a rear spoiler.
The Toyota-BMW partnership means a heavily influenced BMW interior in terms of seats, switchgear and the Supra Command infotainment system. For more interior highlights check out Jerry Reynolds’ recent review of the 2021 3.0 or my video of the 2020 model.
Here I’ll focus on similarities and differences between the 2.0 and 3.0 models. Similarities include a 8.8-inch digital tachometer that’s now standard across all models, carbon fiber interior trim, a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters, dual zone climate, smart key entry and push button start, automatic rain sensing wipers, and a manual tilt and telescopic steering wheel.
I’m a fan of the quality and detail-oriented interior and especially love the Alcantra and leather-trimmed sport bolstered seats with impeccable two-tone stitching, even if they aren’t power adjustable in the 2.0. They are 8-way manually adjustable as opposed to the 3.0’s 14-way power seats with driver side memory.
Both get a standard 8.8-touchscreen with Supra Command, based on BMW’s iDrive 6 (not 7) system. You have to step up to the 3.0 Premium for Touchpad Control, Navigation and wireless Apple CarPlay.
The good news is that you can add an optional Safety and Technology package on the Supra 2.0 to get those features if you’d like them, along with driver assist features like Blind Spot Monitoring. The Package includes an upgraded 12-speaker JBL sound system over the standard 4-speaker system. The 2.0 doesn’t come with sport pedals or wireless charging.
Originally slated for a summer launch, the Supra 3.0 will be delayed 4-6 weeks, likely pushing it into August. Since the Supra 2.0 will launch following the 3.0, we’re talking a fall release for the new entry level model.
Pricing and Fuel Economy
No official fuel economy for the 4-cylinder yet. Full pricing info comes in June.
The Supra 2.0 and 3.0 are sizzling hot sports cars that get looks all day long. If you’re budget-minded the entry-level 2.0 won’t disappoint you. You’re going to have a lot of fun driving the 2.0 every day. Also if you’re of the modification mindset, this lighter Supra is also bound to be appealing if you want to modify it to your specifications. If a track-ready 382-horses is what you’re after, the 3.0 is going to be more up your alley.
2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 (Prototype)
What I liked most: Its stunning looks, alcantara sport seats, and driving dynamics especially when using the paddle shifters.
What I would change: Make blind spot monitoring standard, add a manual option.
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May 16, 2020 @ 10:37pm
If they were leaving it open for the tuners and kudos for that, a manual option would be appreciated. Nice review, as always.
May 15, 2020 @ 5:33pm
Amy did a poor job on the Supra review. She was talking about the 2.0 & 3.0 at the same time. We already had a review of the 3.0, so there was no need to go back and forth between the cars. Made the review more confusing than it needed to be.
May 15, 2020 @ 4:16pm
GM misses again! These are about the same specs as my 2009 Cobalt 2.0 Turbo which had 12 inch brembos and a 250 bhp twin scroll turbo four Only drawback was FWD. But it handled as well as a FWD could wtih the LSD and 225 40 18 tires. I bought it with 10K on the odometer for $16,200. NO doubt the Supra will be three times that or more
Ms Barra, put your 2.0 T in a rear wheel drive coupe and get back in the car game