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This is the bittersweet story of the 2021 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium.

The styling and performance of the 2021 GR Supra 3.0 Premium is superb. However, getting INTO the car - well, that's quite the challenge.

By Reed Berry

Tue, Apr 13, 2021 08:26 AM PST

I’ll start by saying that I really like this car. The styling, features and performance are all impressive. It’s the type of car that looks like it’s moving even when it's standing still. Part of what gives this car a super sporty, eye-catching look is its sleek, low profile design. Sadly, however, the low roof line and even lower door clearance makes this car perfect for a person no taller than approximately 5 foot 4 inches.  

I’m 5’9", a fairly average size for an adult male, and getting in and out of the car, regardless of how the driver’s seat is positioned, is challenging at best. Without contorting my body and lowering my head to a sufficient level, I simply cannot enter or exit this vehicle without rubbing my head against the top of the door opening. I had a couple of friends attempt it with similar results.

I love the low-profile design - but is it too low? Photo courtesy of Toyota.

As I was growing up, I would see people playing Limbo at parties and events. In case you’re not familiar with it, Limbo is a game in which people lean backward and attempt to dance forward under a low bar without falling or touching the bar. The game never really appealed to me so I rarely participated, but I wish I had perfected my Limbo skills then so I would be able to get into this car a bit more comfortably now.

Once inside the vehicle, however, I am pleased with the experience. The interior is quite stylish, with a sculpted dash and intelligently designed and arranged center console trimmed in a handsome carbon fiber finish. The heated black leather sport seats are quite comfortable and all controls are positioned within easy reach. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel adds to the sporty look and feel.

Cars with center consoles always make be a bit nervous because, more often than not, my right leg rubs against the console in an uncomfortable, annoying way. Not the case in the Supra. I’m close enough to the console to access anything I need quite easily, but the seating is such that my leg does not rub against the console. This is a big plus on any drive, particularly longer trips. This car was clearly designed with practicality and driver comfort in mind.

The interior is excellent. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Scanning the interior, I see an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, with a bright, clear display. There is a 12-speaker JBL audio system that sounds quite good and, as for entertainment, there are all the usual suspects you would expect to find in a new vehicle, from AM/FM and SiriusXM satellite radio to Apple CarPlay compatibility, and Bluetooth connectivity for my important incoming phone calls, of course.

My only problem is that the volume knob for the sound system is so small and positioned a bit high on the dash that I find myself reaching over and changing the temperature in the car instead of adjusting the volume. The size and placement of the climate control knob is where the volume control would be positioned in most vehicles. Instead of raising the radio volume, I just increased the interior temperature to 80 degrees. As with any new vehicle, certain things take some getting used to.

As I press the start button and hear the power of the engine, I can tell this car is going to be fun to drive. Under the hood is a very enthusiastic 3.0-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine. We’re talking 382 horsepower with 368 lb-ft of torque. Throw in a no-nonsense 8-speed transmission with paddle shifters and, needless to say, we are in for a serious driving experience. Zero to 60 in around 4 seconds. Not bad.

The power is fantastic, the handling is crisp. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Aside from a slight hesitation as I accelerate from a stop, this car rocks! There is ample power to reach freeway speeds quickly and safely and the engine certainly seems to perform even more efficiently at higher speeds. With adaptive variable sport suspension and sport calibrated power steering, I am enjoying exceptional handling and sharp, precise cornering.

But I will come right out and say it – I wish this car had a manual transmission. The 8-speed automatic is certainly doing a respectable job, and yes you can use the paddle shifters to shift manually if you wish, but being able to reach down and wrap my hand around a stick shift would make this car perfect. A sporty car like this feels even sportier when the driver is in full control. Fingers crossed for a manual transmission on future models.

This car, like many others on the market today, have one feature that I dislike and will never get used to – an auto stop/start mode. Is it just me, or is this one of the most annoying automotive features ever? I realize that its purpose is to reduce idle emissions at stoplights or in traffic by stopping the engine but, at the risk of being called a selfish, irresponsible polluter, I don't need it or want it. Luckily, cars with this feature have a button with which to disengage it, which I promptly do each time I enter the vehicle.

The full family of Supras. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

One feature I particularly do appreciate, however, is the head-up display projected on the windshield showing not only the speed at which I’m driving, but the speed limit on that particular street or highway, as well. For most people, that would serve as a friendly reminder to obey speed laws and drive safely. But, based on the way I’ve seen people driving in lighter traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have a feeling that some drivers may simply ignore the speed limit indicator to see how fast they can get this sporty little Supra to go.

Don’t plan on shuttling a number of friends around town in this car. It’s a two-seater. But, as a result, there is a decent amount of cargo space for a car this size. Accessed through the rear hatch, there is 10.2 cubic feet of space. That's enough for several bags of groceries or a few average sized suitcases. Or, with summer approaching, load it up with supplies for a fun weekend at the beach.

There is certainly an emphasis on safety in this car. Some may consider the number of safety features in this vehicle excessive or even a bit annoying, but each serves its own useful purpose. The vehicle comes standard with a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection as well as lane departure warning with steering assist. My test vehicle is equipped with the Driver Assist Package ($1,195) that includes dynamic radar cruise control, a blind spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors with emergency braking function.

Though some might say red brake calipers are cheesy, they're the opposite on this Supra. Photo courtesy of Toyota.

Overall, I am impressed with the car. The amount of looks and comments I’m getting from people speaks volumes about the bold styling, which I consider a 10 out of 10. The sleek body design, sculpted 6-lens headlight clusters and the bright red brake calipers all work together to give this car a great look. The styling, combined with the exceptional performance, makes this car a good value for the money and certainly a worthy contender in its class.

There a four 2021 GR Supra models: 2.0 starting at $43,090, 3.0 starting at $51,090, the 3.0 Premium (the one I’m driving) starting at $54,590 and the top-of-the-line super sporty A91 Edition with a starting MSRP of $54,795.

For more information on Toyota automobiles: http://www.toyota.com.

2021 GR SUPRA 3.0 PREMIUM

MSRP: $54,490
As Tested: $55,830
Engine type: 3.0-liter twin-scroll turbo, inline 6-cylinder
Horsepower: 382 @ 5800 - 6500
Torque: 368 lb-ft @ 1800 - 5000 rpm
Transmission type: 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters
Steering: Sport-calibrated Electric Power Steering (EPS); power-assisted rack-and-pinion
Suspension: Adaptive Variable Sport (AVS) suspension; Hollow front and rear stabilizer bars
 - Front: Double-joint-type MacPherson strut
 - Rear: Multi-link independent suspension
Brakes:
 - Front: Brembo 4-piston fixed-caliper disc; red-painted calipers and silver TOYOTA Supra logo
 - Rear: 1-piston cast-iron disc brakes with red floating calipers
Wheels: 19-in. forged-aluminum twin-spoke wheels with dual-tone finish
Wheelbase: 97.2”
Overall length: 172.5”
Overall width: 73.0”
Overall height: 50.9”
Curb weight: 3,400 lbs
EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City / Highway / Combined): 22/30/25
Fuel Capacity: 13.7 gallons

About The Author

Reed Berry's profile picture

Reed Berry

Known professionally as "The Traffic Guy," Reed Berry has been a driver safety educator for over 30 years. Reed has conducted traffic school classes and suspended license workshops throughout California, and has served as keynote speaker at safety conferences and corporate events across America. He has appeared on radio and television programs both in the U.S. and internationally to discuss safety-related issues. A contributor to LA Car since 2003, Reed Berry is a member of Motor Press Guild, the Los Angeles Press Club and SAG-AFTRA.

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