By on January 21, 2022

A common knock on the new Toyota Supra, besides its close ties to a certain BMW, is its lack of a manual transmission. Sure, there are umpteen reasons why a well-sorted automatic is (on paper) better than a stick – but the involvement and entertainment of a slick-shifting manual cannot be denied.

Now, well-placed rumors are suggesting Toyota is going to offer Supra buyers a chance to row their own gears.


The report comes from gearheads at The Drive who cite unnamed but apparently well-informed sources. We are inclined to lend credence to their assertions since we know they are rational human beings not given to making up content for clicks, plus the fact they dropped some other well-founded Toyota rumors about the upcoming GR Corolla just the other day. It’d appear they have the ear of a loose-lipped Toyota employee.

All this is third-hand news, of course, and should be taken with several grains of salt. After all, plenty of engineering prototypes are built for purposes known to neither man nor beast and never see the light of day in a retail showroom. There’s also the perpetual chance that a pencil-necked accountant deep within the bowels of Toyota will find some asinine reason to scupper the project before going home to his mother’s basement to play with his math set.

Still, it’s good to have a gearhead at the helm. Akio Toyoda is a noted car guy, one who spends time at the track and is known as something of a wheelman. In the years after decreeing that his namesake company needed to root some of the dullness out of its vehicle lineup, we’ve seen the return of this Supra, a second-gen GR 86 (something which was definitely not a foregone conclusion) and entertaining styling tweaks to other machines in its roster.

Even if this rumor gets confirmed, plenty of questions remain. Will it be paired with the four- or six-cylinder car? Does the engine to which it is mated require a power tweak for durability reasons? Did Jeffrey Epstein really kill himself? Answers to all those questions remain shrouded in mystery for now. One thing’s for sure – a stick shift Supra would be tremendously entertaining.

[Image: Toyota]

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28 Comments on “Stick With It: Supra Could Gain Manual Transmission...”

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Good news.
    Now, how about a Avalon TRD with a manual? That would be worth buying.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Is it true that any manual option would require that the car be re-certified (including crash testing) in order to be offered? If this is the case, I can understand why so few spend the money in order to satisfy a few thousand buyers, at most. I never want to drive an automatic, but I’m also not buying any new car…

    Enthusiasts on teh interwebs are loud, but their wallets are thin.

    • 0 avatar

      “Enthusiasts on teh [sic] interwebs are loud, but their wallets are thin”

      Even if every new buyer chose the manual, the numbers probably are still not high enough to justify the cost. I’d be curious to know if the certification costs were always the same or if Uncle Sam got cute at some point and changed the rules so as to extort more money from OEMs. If they’ve always been the way they are I don’t understand why manuals were ever offered because I know the take rate was never even 50/50 on available models in the 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Supra sales in the US:

      2021 6,830
      2020 5,887
      2019 2,884

      What would the take rate be for a stick in this type of car? Maybe 10-20%?

      If so, the effort seems hard to justify, unless other markets boost those numbers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I didn’t think it has to be crash tested since it is structurally the same car but it would have to be certified by the EPA and the Department of Energy since it is a different transmission (manual). Those tests alone make it more costly and time consuming.

  • avatar
    John R

    I’m wondering if, in this, enthusiasts should be addressing their thank you’s to Nissan…

    • 0 avatar

      That’s gotta be it. A 6 speed Z makes the Supra irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not just the transmission type. If Nissan geared the new Z to be driven as a manual, it’ll drive better that way, too.

        Kinda got that sense with the GLI when I drove it. My impression was that VW prioritized how that car built power with the manual use case in mind. Maybe it’s not that different than the DSG, as technically it’s an automated manual, yes?

        I’m the furthest thing from an engineer, so I would love to read an auto engineer’s response to this.

  • avatar

    So the new BMW Z4 is going to offer a manual eh?

    Sidebar: Shouldn’t it have become a “Z5” by now?

  • avatar

    If this were to be so, then the main remaining reason for me not to buy one would be that it is so unattractive (though frankly, I am out of that demographic now, so my opinion does not really matter).

    Former manual Supra Turbo owner.

  • avatar

    Car and driver did an interesting year long review. They had trouble getting simple service tasks like oil changes and alignments done at Toyota dealer. After watching that I would think anyone seriously considering this would just get the Z4. Same car, less hassle.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends – base Supra is $53K, base Z4 is $63K (for 6-cyl) and only a convertible option available. I see LOTS of new Supras at track days – with Z4, not sure, but you might need a rollcage..

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect Car and Driver’s service experience is about trying to have a Supra in Michigan. In California none of this is likely to be a problem. Every Toyota dealer is supposed to have one mechanic certified to work on a Supra (which really means they’re certified to work on a BMW I guess). My local dealer told me they have four such mechanics.

  • avatar

    Interesting. I like the styling of the Supra vastly better than the Z4, and there aren’t many non-M BMWs left with six cylinders and a manual. But it doesn’t have enough seats for me.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    If it doesn’t enhance towing ability I could care less. If I had money to burn I’d much rather have the LTZ Chevy with the I6 diesel or 6.2 gas as I wouldn’t use it for anything but pulling boats, utility, car & snowmobile trailers plus the occasional road trip. For the other 98% of the time I leave my home I’ll just take the Volt!

  • avatar

    Three on the tree.

  • avatar

    A stick doesn’t make this car less ugly.

  • avatar

    Very excited for the new Z. Zero interest in the overpriced BMW

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