By on April 18, 2022

Toyota engineers have been fairly adamant that there would eventually be a manual version of the Supra sports coupe since its formal introduction in 2019. By February of 2020, chief engineer Tetsuya Tada even confirmed that the car has been tested extensively with a clutch and choose-your-own-adventure gearbox. But Toyota explained that the automaker opted against having one at launch due to a desire to lead with the model yielding the best specs on paper. Toyota was also fretting over customers modifying vehicles, claiming the eight-speed automatic could handle far more torque before giving into physics and dismantling itself.

However, the automaker has recently begun teasing the Supra with a three-pedal setup over social media, later stating that an-all new manual transmission was indeed on the way for the coupe. But why now? 

The manufacturer hasn’t said anything officially. But we’re guessing the transmission was in the works for at least a year and the company felt like now was the best time to spill the beans. Nissan has already confirmed that the 400Z with as launching with a stick shift and it drops this August. Toyota may be worried that it’s about to be scooped by the competition and wants to assure future customers that it’ll be worth waiting for its manual-equipped entrant.

My assumption is that we probably won’t have to be on standby for long either. With BMW having introduced and then quickly eliminated manual variants of the Z4 sDrive 20i (equipped with the 2.0-liter B48 turbo I4) in select markets, Toyota has probably been working on something of its own since before that car launched.

BMW Z4s reviewed with the six-speed manual also haven’t gotten a lot of praise over the automatic. Most of the feedback (and there’s not been much since it hasn’t been a popular option) suggests that the gearshifts are pretty good. But there were a few complaints about the stiffness of the clutch and a nagging feeling that the automatic was probably the better choice for anyone seriously considering ownership. Still, for those seeking maximum engagement, there really isn’t any other option other than going for the third pedal and putting in a little work. But it might not have been good enough for Toyota, which would have assuredly tested the base 2.0-liter Supra using the same unit.

Despite being overwhelming similar automobiles in regard to their mechanical makeup, Toyota has tried to make the Supra into the more hardcore sports coupe — much in the same way the prior generation attempted to distance itself from the Lexus SC grand tourer. This could explain why the existing manual used on the Z4 never migrated over to Toyota’s parts pin. The Japanese company has repeatedly said the manual transmission represented a packaging issue for the Supra, likely indicating that it wanted something robust enough to cope with the 3.0-liter B58 turbo I6’s 382 horsepower and 340 foot-pounds of torque. The brand knows that it’s likely to be tuners and puritanical driving enthusiasts that’ll be optioning the most manual gearboxes — and they’ll be scoping out the 400-horsepower Nissan 400Z if the GR Supra cannot offer a manual yielding similar specs.

That theory has been supported by a statement from the automaker explaining that the forthcoming transmission was “engineered to offer enthusiasts something closer to the GAZOO Racing DNA.”

Toyota said it would be providing additional details in a few weeks. But we’ve already learned a few things over the weekend.

Unless the manual is to be locked into its own unique trim or Toyota has decided to ditch the standard black typography, it appears as though be-clutched Supras will have their name emblazoned in red on the rear deck lid. We also know what the pedals will look like thanks to the manufacturer providing photographs in advance of the formal announcement. Lastly, we’re probably going to see it on our market because Toyota USA has been teasing the new transmission in tandem with its European counterparts.

[Images: Toyota]

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30 Comments on “Toyota Supra Finally Getting Manual Transmission...”

  • avatar

    I’d ask whether this finally shuts up the Supras Suck Hater Club, but my guess is it won’t be enough.

    Different note: really looking forward to the 400Z.

  • avatar

    I would like to think the new Z has Toyotas attention. I look forward to the Z as well.
    Realistically the price of the new Gr86 might undercut the Z for me. Toyota might be looking to not loose any supra sales to the new 6 speed 86 either.

  • avatar

    So the mystery here is – has Toyota developed its own gearbox, or is an existing BMW unit going into this thing? My guess is the latter. The 6MT in M3 non-competition is already sold with the more powerful S58 engine, so that should fill the bill nicely here.

  • avatar

    I’m impressed by Toyota turning into a legit go-to brand for fun cars. GR86, Corolla GR and Supra is a good lineup.

    • 0 avatar

      It helps to have a President which cares more about cars, driving, doing donuts and “the smell of gasoline and the scream of an engine;” than about weaseling around with bailouts, “mobility” nonsense and “promising” to “electrify” by 3473 or something.

      • 0 avatar

        Where, Romania?

      • 0 avatar

        This has nothing to do with the president, or politics in general. Take your meds

        • 0 avatar

          Au Contraire. It has a lot to do with the President of Toyota. The guy can drive. Which is pretty far out, these days.

          And the company he presides over, can build cars. As in, actual cars. Not just childish nonsense in PowerPoint presentations aimed at selling drivel to morons.

          The two aren’t independent.

          • 0 avatar

            I seem to recall Biden having a 1963 Sting Ray at one point, but he’s certainly not for anything resembling fun cars in the future.

            Thanks for the clarification.

  • avatar

    Any investment in ICE technologies is wasted money IMO. They should instead invest their money in development of EVs and EV infrastructure. I have a feeling that Chinese companies will beat Japanese in EV race. I see some Japanese companies going bankrupt in near future.

    • 0 avatar

      There is 0% chance Japan would allow one of their automakers go bankrupt.

    • 0 avatar

      EV fad may slow after the November midterms and come to a halt after the ’24 election.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        I doubt EVs will come to an end in 2024 especially if the battery technology gets better and costs less. Even if the Republicans take the Presidency and both houses EVs will grow in market share. Eventually most major metropolitan areas will ban ICE vehicles but that will take years. There are advantages to EVs especially in a metropolitan and urban area if there is adequate charging available. In rural and more sparsely populated areas EVs present more challenges and will be adopted more slowly. I doubt in the next 10 years there will be any major shift to EVs but in 20 years there could be.

        • 0 avatar

          @Jeff S – What you say makes logical sense, but I think you’re forgetting one wild card. Government subsidies. Electric cars are very dependent on that, especially when we’re talking about getting them into the hands of the masses.

          We subsidize the cost of the vehicle, the charging stations, the processes to get to get the necessary minerals to make the batteries, and so on. And also don’t forget that the ultimate success of EVs will further depend on making ICE vehicles untenable. That too will depend on government policy as you pointed out.

          Fair or not, this has become a political football, with EVs being associated with rich leftist elites. If we get populist Republicans in the House and Senate, and in the presidency in 2024, that is going really put a damper on the EV run.

          ** I am not personally advocating for this. I’m not even a Republican. I’m personally fine with EVs, so long as they sell on their own merits. I am just calling this like I see it playing out.

          • 0 avatar

            If the main motivation for buying EVs was “saving the world”, then GM and Nissan wouldn’t be able to build Bolts or Leafs fast enough. That’s not the case. The EVs that are selling are the ones that look good, are high tech, and go fast (think Tesla, Mach E, etc).

            If the main motivation for buying EVs was tax incentives, then Tesla would have gone t*ts up years ago. The opposite happened.

            And the whole “ICEs have to fail for EVs to succeed” doesn’t wash with me. There’s no reason to think they can’t exist together on the roads. Thinking they can’t is emblematic of the stupid zero-sum-game political thinking that plagues the country, and the fact that it’s infecting vehicle buying choices is monumentally dumb.

          • 0 avatar

            You raise some excellent points FreedMike. However, Teslas appeal to people who are rich, and have access to charging in their own garage as well as in their affluent communities. They are also people who will adopt new technologies, especially those which appeal to their sensibilities.

            Now though, we’re talking about the masses adopting the electric vehicle. That’s where I think it’s going to hit a speed bump politically. I agree with your point on the stupidity of the zero sum game mentality but electric vehicles are now a symbol tied to the left. And the left is very likely about to take a political beating. So I would not be putting my money on a massive EV adoption, at least during the next 10 years.

          • 0 avatar

            I should also add that though the zero sum mentality is stupid in many ways, I just think it’s a reality that we’re going to need to force a large segment of the population into the electric vehicle. And that will have to be done by making it either illegal or very impractical to buy an ICE vehicle. I wish it wasn’t that way but we have to be realistic. We’re talking about getting rid of something that’s been around for well over 100 years. There are people who are just not going to want to do it, including big oil!

            This opportunity is not going to be lost on the right. They are going to absolutely exploit this in the upcoming elections. How the greenie lefties want to take your F-150 and force you into a snobby Tesla golf cart. I think that’s going to be a strong message that will resonate with a lot of people. Again, not saying I think it’s right. But it’ll almost surely happen!

          • 0 avatar

            A tale of two parts of Denver lends some context to the whole EV “debate”.

            I used to live in Douglas County, in Denver’s southern suburbs. It’s affluent but not rich per se – average price is about $600,000. It’s also overwhelmingly made up of conservative Republicans.

            Meanwhile, up north, you have Boulder, where the average house is now going for a million, and that area is WAY out left politically.

            Guess where you see more Teslas? Douglas County…and it’s not even close.

            Moral of the story? Buying an EV isn’t necessarily a political / “green cred” act, and it doesn’t need to be.

            I see nothing wrong with the current focus of selling EVs to people with higher-than-average incomes. It makes perfect business sense. These sell at a higher margin, which allows the manufacturers to recoup their investment, improve the tech, and bring out cheaper product. As market penetration increases with this group, the infrastructure needed to support the vehicles will grow – there will be money in doing it. If that sounds familiar, it should – it’s the same pattern that happened with personal computers and smartphones.

            I think there are places that would like to force EV adoption, but they’re going to fail – the owners of conventionally powered vehicles are too powerful a voting bloc to be ignored, and they won’t be happy at all about their cars being legislated out of existence. I don’t think conventionally powered vehicles will ever disappear, and if they do, it’ll take a long, long time.

            I think we all need to relax a bit with this whole EV thing, enjoy the vehicles as we should, or choose something different if they don’t meet our needs.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        Yeah, and Dolt 47 will mandate all cars run on ‘clean, clean coal’.

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      The Chinese are way ahead of most of the developed countries on EV development. If anyone is going to introduce an affordable EV to the US and Canada it will be the Chinese who already have affordable EVs in their own country.

      • 0 avatar

        The Chinese have the advantage of simply being able to force their citizens to do whatever the government wants. They also have a lot of coal burning electric plants to power them and don’t give a wit about the environment. This is a global business opportunity.

        So I would agree that you’ll see EVs get adopted pretty fast there, IF that remains the flavor of the month in the West. But if the winds shift elsewhere, that could change too.

        • 0 avatar

          The Chinese are also shameless about controlling consumer behavior. Getting a blue license plate (signifying an electric vehicle) is easy in Beijing. Getting a regular plate for an ICE vehicle means entering a lottery that could take years (in China, you get your license plate before you buy the vehicle).

          All the car owners I know in China drive electric vehicles for this reason.

  • avatar
    John R

    You’re welcome, Toyota fans!


  • avatar

    I love how this car looks, and as a long-time BMW fanboy, the BMW part is for me an inducement. I would never consider an automatic, so this car is immediately on my radar. My main concern would be the outward visibility, which by all reports resembles that of an MRI cylinder. Only one way to find out…

  • avatar

    “@Jeff S – What you say makes logical sense, but I think you’re forgetting one wild card. Government subsidies. Electric cars are very dependent on that, especially when we’re talking about getting them into the hands of the masses.”

    how much does the US subsidize fossil fuels? 7– billion, right? how much does the US subsidize electric vehicles?

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