When Toyota launched the current generation Supra in 2019, the vividly styled coupe promised to not only bring back a performance icon but also be a flexible platform for vehicle customization. The possibilities do seem limitless, but Toyota chose to lean to the past for their factory custom Supra build at this year’s virtual only installment of SEMA. The production looking 2021 Toyota GR Supra Sport Top concept offers up nostalgia and open-air motoring in a drool-worthy package.
Open Air Nostalgia For A New Generation
At this point, some would assume that Toyota engineers merely got a heavy-duty saw, chopped the roof off, and called it a day. However, Toyota revealed that the process of making it into an open-air thrill machine was far more involved than that. The Supra’s structure for instance was much tougher to cut through than expected, but Toyota and their partner Texas-based KC’s Paint Shop managed to get the job done.
With the roof removed, Toyota engineers replaced the removed section with a pair of 3D printed composite panels that were crafted to perfectly mesh with the rest of the car’s shape. Along with the new panels, Toyota engineers also added structural reinforcements underneath the car and the roof structure itself was further bolstered to maintain the Supra’s high degree of rigidity.
A Stylish Head Turner
The end result is a very sleek looking car, with the Supra Sport Top retaining the bulk of the current Supra’s design DNA. Along with the removable roof panels, Toyota designers also added a massive hoop style rear wing which helps enhance the link that the concept has with some of its iconic predecessors. Splashes of black and red trim bring some welcome contrast to the concept’s white paint while a bigger rear diffuser and a slightly tweaked exhaust system help create a potent aesthetic exclamation point. The front fascia gets in on the act too and features a bigger front chin spoiler as well as bigger side ducts behind the front wheels.
Sporty Open Air Comfort
The interior (besides the missing roof) is largely unchanged, but Toyota designers added splashes of red trim to contrast the black hues that are abundant on the dashboard. The vivid hue even makes its way to the leather sport seats and they should help keep occupants firmly in place when going through sharp turns.
Along with the exterior and interior changes, the Supra Sport Top also brings plenty of performance to the party with the concept being powered by a BMW sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six which is good for 382 hp and 368 lb.-ft. of torque. These figures typically get a conventional Supra 3.0 to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds with shifting duties being handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Will Toyota Build A Production Supra Targa?
Unlike some of the wilder looking concept vehicles that tend to highlight the automotive aftermarket industry show, SEMA, each year, the Supra Sport Top Concept embraces a factory-ready look. It would seem that the transition from concept to production reality would be easy. However, a big problem for Toyota might be that approving a production version would not make its partner BMW very happy.
The Supra’s platform sibling the BMW Z4 is currently available only as a convertible, and the appearance of a droptop Supra could potentially cannibalize sales from that model. While the Z4 does come with a traditional folding soft-top (versus the Supra’s Targa panels) the Toyota would still have a slight price advantage over the Bimmer and that might lure away some buyers that would otherwise go to their local BMW dealer for open-air driving fun.
It will be interesting to see if the Supra Sport Top Concept does morph into a production variant. It would also allow the Supra to pay better tribute to its ancestors and at the same time be a great drop-top sports car bargain for enthusiasts. (We know, all discussions about sports cars, especially bargain sports cars, come to the same conclusion, Mazda Miata.)