The thrill had returned last year when the reborn Supra emerged from an unusual joint venture pairing Toyota and BMW. But that Supra was powered by a slightly detuned version of BMW’s impressive 3.0-liter inline-six. The good news for the 2021 model-year is that the twin-turbo package gets an extra 47 horsepower, bumping it up to 382 hp as well as 368 pound-feet of tire-spinning torque. Toyota also added a second drivetrain option, a 255 hp single-turbo inline-four at 2.0 liters.
Several days of driving both models back-to-back left no question that serious performance fans will opt for the BMW-derived drivetrain, which now tears from 0 to 60 in a mere 3.9 seconds. But the Toyota four has plenty to like, hitting 60 in 5 seconds flat—nearly as fast as the 2020 model, which had the bigger engine. At a starting price of $42,990, it’s nearly $12,000 cheaper than the twin-turbo Supra.
Raw acceleration is, of course, just one of the measures of a sports car, and both versions offer a lot more. Visually, they both have striking lines that grabbed attention wherever they went. The A91 package (an extra $4,000) on the 3.0-liter adds a variety of carbon fiber details, matte black wheels and a stunning paint job dubbed Refraction Blue.
Both Supras offer the sort of crisp and precise steering sports car fans demand. The 3.0-liter model, however, was better at maintaining its composure on rough roads and through tough corners, thanks to an adaptive damping system that hunkered down in Sport mode, while soaking up potholes when switched back to the Comfort setting. The 2.0-liter Supra, with a conventional suspension is a bit more jouncy while cruising and not quite as composed in tight corners.
Some clear sacrifices in terms of headroom and trunk space come with both of these thrilling rides. (Tall drivers will have to contort a bit to climb in.) But sports cars, by their nature, are never meant for everyone.