The economics of modern manufacturing mean today’s low-volume sports cars often languish in the market with minimal investment beyond the initial engineering effort. The Toyota Supra, however, makes our 10Best list for the second year in a row because its already strong value as a great sports car got even better.
For 2021, not only does the Supra 3.0’s silken turbo inline-six gain an additional 47 ponies (now up to 382 horses), but an entry-level model with a 255-hp turbo 2.0-liter four joins the lineup. Both BMW-sourced engines are two of the best examples of their kind, delivering loads of low-end torque but also spinning to their redlines with zeal. Even the starter Supra gets to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That the six does the deed in 3.8 seconds yet returns 34 mpg on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test helps soothe the sting from the continued lack of a manual-transmission option. At least the standard ZF eight-speed automatic is excellently tuned.
Regardless of the engine, all Supras deliver more than 1.00 g of skidpad grip and exhibit the neutral handling that makes a great rear-wheel-drive sports car so entertaining. Here, too, Toyota has made advancements, tweaking the steering for a more linear feel and refining the chassis and suspension to provide a better controlled and surprisingly comfortable ride.
There’s still room for future improvement. The Supra’s arresting (if polarizing) design and snug low-slung cockpit hinder the view out of its slender windows. We’d also make the 3.0’s electronically controlled limited-slip differential available on the base car, which could help tame its twitchy tail at the handling limit. But given the enhancements and the 2.0 model’s $43,985 base price—an $8K discount versus the 3.0—last year’s 10Best winner is now an even better package. That’s how you make a sports car an enduring success.