Toyota Supra Finally Getting Manual Transmission

toyota supra finally getting manual transmission

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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4 of 30 comments
  • Boff Boff on Apr 20, 2022

    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...

    • See 1 previous
    • Boff Boff on Apr 20, 2022

      @sgeffe I wouldn’t know, having never owned a Toyota. But we’ve owned BMWs for 20 years straight and - although we only kept one past 4 years - days out of service: 0.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Apr 22, 2022

    "@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?

  • ToolGuy • Not sure who you get when you call the "Company phone" number listed on the recall report, but confident that it ISN'T Ferrari (someone either screwed up or made a conscious exception; recall might need a recall; where is my excellence in government that all of you are funding?).• 99% of them are fine.• On later models, additionally, a message will also appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”. That right there is classic.• Anyway, this is what happens when you build to a price point... (ba dum tsh!)
  • Art Vandelay And what a giant pile of sh!t ths new format is. Great job guys, way to run off the last of the die hards.
  • Theflyersfan If you ever want a review on a 2022 Mazda MX-5 GT RF, I'll be more than happy to type up a few thousand words and add in some great pictures in front of Churchill Downs for y'all!In a nutshell, I agree with this review. I didn't have a chance to try the Recaro seats because the only test drive available was with another GT that someone backed out in buying so it was being used as a demo. But from what I was told, if you're larger than a 38 waist or taller than 5'10", it gets tight. But with the standard seats, and I'm 5'10" and maybe 20 pounds from the 38 waist, I fit fine. Now getting in and out with the roof up after shoulder surgery (especially leaving the surgery center with most of the right arm under a nerve block) is the total opposite of graceful!!! The look on the nurse's face when the MX-5 pulled up and I'm partially wrapped up like a mummy was priceless.I've had mine since the middle of April and have already put 6,700 miles on it, including round trips from Louisville to Chicago and the Philadelphia suburbs. Averaged 38-39 mpg at a steady 75 mph, and it wasn't a torture chamber. The metal top helped a lot. The standard seats are a bit thin on padding, and there was a bit of squirming by around hour 8 on the Philly drive, but it's possible. But even though this design was released in 2015, I still get compliments from total strangers at stoplights, carwashes, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The Soul Red Metallic paint just makes the car pop. I wish it was available with the Terra Cotta leather (the gray above is available with it), and that it didn't have the standard all in black, because it gets thermonuclear in there with the top down and the sun beating on you, but a minor quibble. But it's just fun. Pure driving fun. The best stick shift in any car today. Solid brakes, excellent handling, a sane amount of power to where you aren't going to get into anything reckless and stupid. After a 12+ hour day at work, there's nothing better than dropping the top and driving the 20 minutes home with the better than I thought it would be Bose stereo playing Moby into my ears through the headrest speakers. Mazda has already announced there will be an NE model so I can't wait for that. It'll be interesting how they will keep the weight down with the expected changes to eke more MPG out of what is already an efficient car.
  • FreedMike I don’t know if I buy into the “they’re coming for our cars” stuff - they’ve been saying that for a long time now - but I wouldn’t argue with one word of this review otherwise.
  • Oberkanone It's not a Jimny! Would be nice if we still had a selection of Suzuki auto in the US. Sidekick was simple and affordable.