Any of you lot who’ve been claiming to be holding off buying a Supra simply because it doesn’t have a third pedal will need to break out your checkbooks. This morning, Toyota announced what was teased earlier this month: the Supra is getting a bonafide manual transmission.
Well, there’s still one out: It’ll be limited to models powered by the 3.0-liter engine.
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?
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.
In 1970, Toyota introduced the world to a pair of cars based on a new platform: The Carina sedan and the Celica sports coupe. The Carina was sold in the United States for just the 1972-73 model years and disappeared without a trace, but its Mustang-resembling Celica sibling proved to be a big sales hit on this side of the Pacific. With their truck-appropriate four-cylinder R engines, though, those U.S.-market Celicas of the 1970s were slow and tended to sound like a Hilux groaning up a mountain pass in Waziristan with a load of 15 Red Army-battling mujahideen fighters. So, Toyota widened and lengthened the second-generation Celica, yanked out the truck mill, and dropped in a straight-six. Thus was the Celica XX born in 1978, and when it arrived on our shores in the following year, it had a new name: Celica Supra!
Toyota is reportedly taking the performance aspects of its brand, which some of our readers might recall has been a little spotty, very seriously and has begun making plans to broaden the horizons of the Gazoo Racing (GR). The sub-brand, which seems to be gradually supplanting Toyota Racing Development (TRD), has introduced a slew of GR-badged models in Asia and Europe and will be affixing the title onto the returning 86 coupe. It has also slapped the performance designation onto the current-generation Supra here in North America, with no intention of stopping there.
According to Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota North America, the Japanese manufacturer wants to extend the GR treatment to even more models.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of the 2020 Toyota Supra is that it borrows too much of its bones from BMW.
I didn’t care about that during our first drive, and after a longer loan with the car, I still don’t. Except for one aspect of the use of the BMW parts, which I’ll get to.
Our friends over at Motor1 have been busy today.
First it’s the rumor about the next-gen Honda Civic Type R getting a big power boost and all-wheel drive, and now they’re reporting that a version of the Toyota Supra might get a big power bump, bigger than what the car got in 2021.
Well, actually, it’s Japanese Web site BestCarWeb.jp, the same site that surfaced the Civic rumors, doing the reporting – Motor1 is just aggregating the info, same as I am right now, after translating it.
Toyota made significant changes to the new-for-2020 Supra just one year into its lifespan, adding a new, cheaper four-cylinder model and bumping the output of the previously solitary inline-six version. That’s not the only hardware change in store for the resurrected sports coupe, either.
For many, whether or not they ever get into a Supra will come down to price, and that’s where the new GR Supra 2.0 enters the fray.
You’re going to feel like an idiot if you previously went out and purchased the new Toyota Supra, as the manufacturer decided to make some major improvements on the 3.0-liter inline-six for the 2021 model year — bumping up output, tweaking the suspension and adding some new options. It also decided to offer the 2.0-liter variant that was formerly prohibited from gracing our shores. And Toyota is upgrading the model’s standard equipment too, regardless of trim level, by swapping the 6.5-inch center display for an 8.8-inch screen.
But we want to make you feel as bad as possible, so let’s open with how much more horsepower the 2021 model makes when compared to the 3.0-liter GR Supra you bought last year (when dealer markups were impossible to avoid). Toyota has outfitted the twin-turbo BMW B58 with a redesigned exhaust manifold and new pistons that lower the engine’s compression. In itself, that’s not a recipe for a lot more power, but it sets the stage for Supra to endure higher turbo boost pressures and some meaningful factory tuning, resulting in 382 peak horsepower. That’s 47 more ponies than the complete garbage you took out a loan on last year, dingus.
Toyota GAZOO Racing showed their Supra GT4 Concept at the Geneva motor show in March, but the word “Concept” must be emphasized. While they are planning to bring the car to market, and parading it on the media accounts, the entire program is very early in its development. With no existing sales and support team based in the United States, let’s investigate what it will take to bring the GT4 to IMSA and SRO GT America competition in the U.S.
GT4 is an international homologation specification that is owned by the SRO Motorsports Group and adopted by race sanctioning bodies around the globe. The Supra GT4 will be entering a class that includes entries such as the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-AMG GT, Porsche Cayman, and — of course — the BMW M4.
Unlike Toyota's Unrealistic Lexus LC Sales Expectations, Toyota Supra Sales Goals Are Downright Sensible
“You only produce one car less than the demand for the vehicle,” the late Sergio Marchionne said of Ferrari’s founding marketplace strategy. Of course, that translates to thousands more cars per year than it did in decades past. But Ferrari remains largely committed to that principle.
Now, in Ferrari-like language, Toyota says, “We’re operating on the basis that it’s better to have one too few than far too many,” when it comes to the new Supra.
Toyota spokesperson Nancy Hubbell revealed to TTAC early sales goals for the fifth-generation Supra that are distinctly tempered compared with the lofty expectations Toyota divulged the last time it launched a high-end coupe.
Not everyone was enthusiastic about Toyota’s decision to co-develop its Supra with BMW. As an icon of the brand, some complained that Bavarian involvement sullied what should have a been a purely Japanese automobile. We wouldn’t go that far (though certain telltale signs of BMW’s hand come off as slightly off-putting). Still, an interior that borrows heavily from the Z4 is hardly a major issue, especially since everyone knew they’d be platform partners going into this.
As well, partnerships can bring advantages. In addition to actually resulting in the car being built, Toyota’s relationship with the Germans means an engine that miraculously makes more power the second you place it on a dynamometer.
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