The Toyota GR Supra may have been on sale for less than a year, but the carmaker isn’t letting this car’s engineers and product planners kick back and relax. Toyota has big changes planned for the Supra’s engine compartment for the 2021 model year, tweaks that will make it more powerful and cheaper…though not at the same time.
The biggest change, and the one we all anticipated, is the addition of a four-cylinder model to the Supra lineup. As expected, the new engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four sourced from BMW and shared with the Supra’s brother-from-another-mother, the Z4 roadster. As in the Z4, the Supra 2.0 (named after its displacement, not its generation) makes 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the latter coming to bear at a diesel-like 1,550 rpm. That should be enough power to blast it from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat.
As in the inline-six Supra, the power goes to the rear wheels exclusively through an eight-speed automatic. Unlike the more potent version, however, the Supra 2.0 does without an electronic limited-slip differential to actively shunt that power around; it also goes without an active suspension and power seats, has downgraded brakes, and the stereo packs just four speakers to the other car’s 10. On the plus side, it is about 200 pounds lighter.
But the six-cylinder Supra — a.k.a. Supra 3.0 — doesn’t go without underhood improvements of its own. The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six under the hood of the 2021 model pounds out 382 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque — the former figure a 14 percent boost over last year’s 335 ponies.
If your first suspicion is that Toyota is simply giving the actual power output of last year’s underrated motor, well, that was our thought too. But Toyota cites several physical changes that lead to the bump in power, ranging from a new six-port dual-branch exhaust manifold to a new piston design and a reduced compression ratio. The carmaker says the changes knock two-tenths off the Supra’s 0-60 time, but we’ll wait and let independent tests vouch for that before we believe it.
While Toyota hasn’t announced pricing for the new 2021 models, the four-cylinder model’s smaller engine, lower power and reduced content all lead us to believe it’ll sell for significantly less than the 2020 GR Supra’s $49,990 price. We’re betting it’ll launch at $39,990 when it lands in dealerships in June, with the inline-six Supra selling for a few grand more than before — say, $52,990 or so.
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