Updated: Apr 2, 2022
I can hear it already---the bigger is better crowd poking fun at the newest 2021 Toyota GR Supra---the one with the 2.0-liter turbo four instead of the 3.0-liter inline six.
Having driven both within six months of each other (the 2020 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 was the second review to post on this site back in June of last year), I'm ready to compare and contrast.
First, unless you open the hood, there is only one way to tell the two cars apart, and you'll need a sharp eye. The 3.0 rides on 19 inch wheels. The 2.0 on 18s. Beyond that, they look identical, and while the Supra's styling has been a matter of taste among the folks who frequent automotive websites, I can tell you first-hand that it's a hit with just plain car buyers looking for something other than a just plain car. The on-street, in-traffic reactions to both cars have been remarkable.
Second, when you do open the hood, you'll find a smaller black plastic shroud with two red stripes, suggesting correctly that a smaller engine lives underneath. What's in the 2.0 is, naturally, a BMW 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbo inline four, making 255 horsepower and 295 pounds per foot of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, it is, like the 3.0, rear-wheel drive with launch control. What's the damage from losing 127 horsepower and 74 pounds per foot of torque (the 3.0 gets a horsepower and torque boost for 2021)? Zero to 60 takes five seconds flat instead of 3.7. Seriously. How often are you going to wish you had that extra 1.3 seconds? Top speed for both cars is an electronically governed 155.
Fuel economy increases only incrementally...from 24 city to 25 and from 31 highway to 32. So the case for opting for the 2.0 isn't going to be made at the gas pump.
Walking away from the 3.0 also means giving up the active limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension, more aggressive power steering and chassis tuning and swapping four-piston disc brakes for smaller single-piston units. But those features were there to tame the beastly power for what Toyota suggests is meant to be a track monster. The other thing you give up by choosing the 2.0 over the 3.0 is weight. 219 pounds of it. Not only is that a lot of weight, most of it over the front wheels, that is no longer there, it takes the car right to a 50/50 weight distribution, and what was already a great-handling car becomes a damn nearly flawlessly-handling one.
Best of all, the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 has a base price eight grand less than the 3.0 and $11,500 less than the 3.0 Premium. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights for your $42,990 are six-lens auto-leveling LED headlights, automatic high beams, smart key system with smart entry, black Alcantara and leather-trimmed sport seats and a four-speaker audio system.
Our tester did have some extra-cost options. The Safety and Technology Package (full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors with emergency braking, navigation, an upgraded 12-speaker, 500-watt JBL premium audio system and Supra Connected Services) added $3,485. The Nitro Yellow paint costs $425. The carpeted cargo mat is $80 and wheel locks are $65.
So, with $995 delivery processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is $48,040---nearly three grand less than the starting price of the 3.0 and $6,450 less than the base price of the 3.0 Premium.
Back in the early aughts, I produced and hosted seven season of an automotive TV show, a weekly half-hour, on a local station in Phoenix. New car reviews, like I do here, some automotive news and a classic car segment which featured local cars and their owners. Many of those owners let me take their car for a short drive and I learned a lot. In the course of it, I drove a few '63-'67 Corvettes. And to my surprise, my favorite wasn't the monster 427 or even the 396. It was the 327. Because 300 horsepower was plenty and a lighter nose meant a much better-handling car.
You see where this is going, right? Unless you yourself are a track monster or have something to prove (which I'd rather you didn't on a public road), the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 is simply the better-balanced, more satisfying machine. And having a new Supra and $8,000 to $11,500 in your bank account sounds like the best of all possible worlds.