2021 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Zero to 125 MPH in 12.5 Seconds - Do you really need to know anything more!
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
On December 10, 2020, Toyota announced that the 2021 Supra GR would officially compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, a 10-race series hotly contested by factory backed teams from Ford, Chevrolet, BMW and Porsche. Toyota noted that the Supra effort would be fielded by "selected customers" chosen to race the Supra. These customers will want to pay close attention to Page 257 of the '21 Supra Owner's Manual which reads, "Higher mechanical and thermal loads during racetrack operation lead to increased wear. This wear is not covered by the warranty. The vehicle is not designed for use in motorsport competition." They can say what they like in the Manual, but the latest version of the tubocharged Supra 3.0 is most assuredly a sports car designed for use in motorsport. Everything about this package, from its startling appearance to its phenomenal acceleration says "take me to the track."
But since you won't want to void your warranty, here's the drill for saddling up your Supra GR 3.0 for a street drive. To fit in the Supra, you need to be on the small side - the shorter and lighter you are, the better. Climbing aboard the go-kart low Supra is no mean feat, even for short folks. Slide your legs in first, then scoot your butt across the wide threshold while remembering to duck your head under the low roof as you slink in. Once you've completed the limbo rock, welcome to the no-nonsense cockpit of Toyota's jet fighter for the street. You'll find yourself looking over a hood so long it's reminiscent of a Jaguar XK-E. The nose looks far away because you're sitting well back in the chassis, ensconced in a wraparound nacelle with short side windows, vision-blocking C-pillars, and a triangular backlight so flat it won't shed raindrops. You don't so much drive the Supra as you wear it.
Before firing up the turbo 6, there are a couple of "Toyota Safety Sense" measures you'll want to eliminate. Topping the list is "Steering Intervention." Locate the Safety System" button on the aft end of the center console, press the button to select Vehicle Settings, go to Toyota Supra Safety, followed by Steering Intervention, which you will want to delete. Do this before you drive off, or you will have your attention diverted for too long while driving to complete the task. If you don't deactivate Steering Intervention, your Supra will constantly be fighting you for control of the steering wheel. However, once disabled, this nuisance blessedly stays disabled every time you restart the car.
Since BMW is a partner with Toyota in the design of the built-in -Austria Supra (and the BMW Z4), a lot of BMW technology informs the design and feel of the controls. For example, a large circular device based on BMW's i-Drive sits atop the center console and controls many infotainment/navigation functions. While this device works reasonably well, you'll find the BMW-style shift lever to be rather challenging. The knob itself contains two non-adjacent buttons which need to be depressed for actuation. One, atop the knob, activates Park, while the other, mounted on the side of the knob, permits selection of Reverse and Drive. This array is thus overly complicated and confusing. Thankfully, plastic paddles at the steering wheel let you control the 8-speed automatic with quick wrist flicks.
The Supra is so monumentally fast that you need to watch your speed very carefully on the freeway. If you limit the big turbo six to just 2000rpm in 8th gear, you'll be amazed to find the speedo reading 85mph. In fact, the Supra 3.0 is capable of running 155mph on its Z rated Michelin radials. Front contact patch for these staggered size Pilot Super Sport tires measures 255/35ZR 19. Rears are wider still at 275/35ZR19, and all four Michelins are mounted on forged 19 inch, 10-spoke alloy rims. The Michelins should enjoy a useful tread life with their TW300 rating.
Ride quality of the Supra is terrific if you're a racer, brutal if you're not. The suspension is rock hard, and magnifies every imperfection in the road surface. There are two settings on offer from the Drive Mode selector, normal and sport. The difference twixt the two is like choosing between granite and diamond. If you love the classic sports car gate of a Triumph or MG, you'll love the tightly snubbed ride of the Supra. If you're more into comfort then sport, give this one a pass.
The best part of the Supra experience is its mind boggling 382hp acceleration. If you use the available launch control and are brave enough to keep your right foot planted on the accelerator from a standing start through the end of a quarter mile, you will find yourself traveling about 125mph in just 12.5 seconds. The 0-60mph run flashes past in 3.9 seconds, and you'll be quite thankful that Toyota has thoughtfully supplied 4-piston Brembo front brake calipers to arrest your flight.
2021 TOYOTA GR SUPRA 3.0 PREMIUM
ENGINE: 3.0 liter inline 6, twin scroll single turbo
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 22MPG City/30MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $56,760
HYPES: Slingshot with 2 Good Seats
GRIPES: Needs Rear Wiper, Less Fussy Gear Lever
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10