2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium MT Review – For Extra Fun, Add Third Pedal

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Fast Facts

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium MT Fast Facts

Powertrain
3.0-liter supercharged inline six-cylinder (382 horsepower @ 5,800-6,500 RPM, 368 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-5,000 RPM)
Transmission/Drive-Wheel Layout
Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Fuel Economy, MPG
19 city / 27 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating)
Fuel Economy, L/100km
12.7 city / 8.8 highway / 10.9 combined (NRCan Rating)
Base Price
$55,650 (U.S.) / $72,714.50 (Canada)
As-Tested Price
$59,400 (U.S.) / $73,174.50 (Canada)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $1,960 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

In a bit of serendipitous timing, we saw earlier this week that a lot of 2023 Toyota Supra buyers are opting for the manual.

Having tested one earlier this year, I can see why.


It’s not that the Supra isn’t fun to drive when equipped with an automatic. It is. But the manual-transmission version just feels livelier – and the driver feels more engaged.

I especially applaud Toyota’s decision to match the manual to the bigger and more powerful six-cylinder engine. Though it would be nice if the four-cylinder also picked up an available third pedal.

The 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six makes 382 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque, so there’s already plenty of thrust on hand – the stick just helps you harness it better.

It’s a slick-shifting gearbox, too – a joy to row with a nice snick-snick action and a nicely-weight clutch with in-town friendly take up. This is the Supra you want, unless you don’t know how to drive a stick. In which case, learn.

Adding the third pedal might make the car a bit more engaging to drive, but it doesn’t really change much else. Supras, especially ones equipped with the six, are swift. The handling remains scalpel-sharp, and the ride remains sports-car stiff but tolerable enough for most commuting duty. The steering is a mix of artificial lightness and appropriate weight.

The flaws remain, too. There’s still wind buffeting at speed with the windows down, and the roofline is still a head-knocker. Entry and exit are awkward. Oh, and it’s noisy at highway speeds. That, and there is one negative about adding a manual: Sometimes your elbow bumps drinks that are in the cupholder when you shift. Plan accordingly to avoid spills.

And the interior remains unapologetically BMW, for better or worse. I am not particularly bothered by this blatant badge engineering, although Toyota’s newest infotainment system is easier to use than iDrive. Then again, iDrive is better than Toyota’s previous offering.

One thing that’s appealing about the Supra – and its nearest rival, the Nissan Z – is that while it’s not exactly cheap, it’s not crazy expensive, either. That said, this particular test unit came close to the $60K mark and based at over $55K.

Standard features include an active rear sport differential, active exhaust, adaptive variable suspension, Brembo front brakes, red brake calipers, 19-inch wheels, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (255 up front, 275 in the rear), LED lighting all around, head-up display, keyless entry and starting, heated seats, JBL audio, navigation, and satellite radio. Safety minions included automatic high beams, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure warning with steering assist.

My test car came with options like a driver-assist package (cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors), a premium paint job, carpeted floor mats, and carbon-fiber mirror caps.

My feelings about the Supra remain consistent no matter which version I test. The car is quick with either engine, though it’s obviously more of a brute with the more powerful inline-six. It has razor-sharp handling that befits its mission, the usual tradeoffs inherent in a car of this nature, and an interior that doesn’t match its brand. It’s a bit less refined than the Z – I’d prefer the Nissan for daily driving – but it’s a hoot to drive and is built to attack the track.

Adding the manual just makes the experience that much more fun. All “save the manuals” jokes aside, I don’t really believe every vehicle needs a manual – no flagship luxury sedan does, for example – but I think sports cars, with a few exceptions, need to let the driver row his or her own. Maybe automatics are now as fast or faster around a track, and maybe the fuel savings are negligible (in this case, the manual actually guzzles more gas and has a slower 0-60 time than the auto). It doesn’t matter – the increased emotional engagement is almost always worth it.

That’s the case here. The 3.0-liter Supra is a fine car with an automatic gearbox. But it’s so much better as a stickshift.

[Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC.com, Toyota]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

Comments
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3 of 25 comments
  • JMII JMII on Aug 19, 2023

    Ajla - that wouldn’t be too bad then. My 03 Z was harsh, it got to the point where my wife refused to ride it in. Both of us love the ride quality of her Q60.

    • The Oracle The Oracle on Aug 20, 2023

      An ‘03 Z isn’t that harsh, we have just gotten older.


  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Aug 19, 2023

    Since Tassos likes to Teach but not Learn, Lecture but not Listen, here is a bonus weekend article in his honor:

    Why college has become a total ripoff by John Stossel


  • FreedMike Not much to look at, but these were sweet to drive.
  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."
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