Around a year after the launch of the fifth generation GR Supra, Toyota has fulfilled their promise of making their flagship performance sports car more ‘performancer’. And we got the keys to the 2021 model AND the A91, Limited, Power Up edition, back to back – damn I love my job.
With all that’s gone on around the world, it seems like a lifetime ago that I was gingerly nursing the new GR Supra around a sodden, rain soaked Hampton Downs racetrack, however, as it turns out, it was but around a year ago. Even then, I felt that the 250kW of power and 500Nm of torque from its 3L straight-six, twin-scroll turbocharged engine was a powerful handful, a feeling that was confirmed when I drove the sports car on a leg of the Targa NZ.
Anyway, the team at Toyota’s motorsport arm Gazoo Racing, has managed to eke more power out of the engine and the result is terrific, in the dry at least. The boffins have fiddled with the exhaust manifold and added an extra four ports, they’ve moved the turbo to keep it cooler and messed with the pistons and head while they were there. The result is an extra 35kW (or almost 50 extra horses), so 285kW. It’s an increase of 14 % over the 2020 version and in layman’s terms, it’s like they’ve strapped 10 lawn mowers or most of a Yaris to the engine. The 2021 GR Supra will now storm from 0-100km/h in just 4.1 seconds, that’s fast in anyone’s book.
With all that’s gone on under the bonnet, the GR team evidently didn’t have time to send the 2021 version to the design department – well not the ‘regular’ model anyway – opting just to colour the front Brembo brakes in red. BUT, as I mentioned earlier, I had the A91 version too.
Limited to just 1,000 in the world and just 2 here in lil ‘ol NZ, the A91, or Power Up or Limited
Edition is a feast for the eyes. It comes with a stand out ‘Horizon Blue’ paint job, 19-inch matte black feet, added pieces of Carbon Fibre in areas such as door mirrors and rear spoiler, and contrast blue stitching to enhance its desirability.
They may be small cosmetic tweaks, but the A91 does make you feel that little more special, (knowing how limited it is should be enough), other drivers pull alongside and give you the thumbs up (plus challenge you to a race) and even pedestrians turn their heads, if you’re looking to blend in, then this is not the car for you.
Of course both 2021 models drive the same, the added aluminium bracing under the bonnet firms up the nose giving it more of a race track poise, but even around the twisting roads of Rodney it goes where you point it. The steering feels well weighted and the sports car’s low centre of gravity makes both straight line speed and corners feel quick – probably because you are going quick.
Getting in and out of the 2021 GR Supra is an experience, ducking under the roofline is supercar territory, but once inside you feel cosseted and tightly gripped for all manner of rapid driving, should you desire – and you will desire. Stamp down on the accelerator and the revs rise rapidly along with the gleeful 6-cylinder note but joy of joys still, push the button on the centre console marked ‘Sport’ and the steering, transmission, exhaust sound, active diff, dampers and engine response all go to eleven (it’s a powerful little button). Needless to say I spent most of my time in Sport.
Both times I have had the pleasure of taking the new GR Supra’s onto the track it has been raining, however, what I can report from both experiences is that even though there’s a lot (and in the 2021 Supra) a lotter more power being sent to the back wheels, the GR Supra handles it well, it does wag its tail a little but in a way that just makes you smile even further – so rest assured, it’s more than ok to drive in NZ’s temperate yet often wet climate.
The new Toyota 2021 GR Supra is even more Suprarer than ever before. More power, more track focussed and more fun. It retains some nods to the past and yet embraces the future with plenty of Toyota’s safety features – I sort of wish they’d made more A91’s (particularly as they’re only a couple of grand more than the ‘standard’) but I guess exclusivity is what it’s all about.