Transmission

There’s Absolutely No Way The Toyota Supra Is Getting A Manual Gearbox

Buy the Toyota 86 if you want to dance with three pedals.

You guys done goofed. You decided to stay comfortable in your five-star safety chambers and let the computers do the thinking, you blue pill-taking softies. And now the computers have taken over and stolen the Toyota Supra the way they took the Acura NSX from us. The original Supra had every part of the simple but proven sports car recipe: two doors, an engine up front, power to the rear, and the option of three pedals. The new Supra? That outlook is looking pretty grim by all predictions.

So far we know it’ll probably be a hybrid that will share parts and a platform with the BMW Z4, but Autocar’s recent Supra sighting has placed the publication in the position of being bearers of more bad news. Its spies were able to get close enough to the Supra to get a good look at the prototype’s interior. Sitting in plain view was an automatic BMW shifter confirming the obvious: that the Supra was getting an automatic unlike the Toyota 86. You can bet that no manual option will be offered, but that was a given. Hybrid cars with manual transmissions are about as rare as Bugattis and unless it’s driven by hydrogen, Toyota isn’t going to take that bold of a step forward.

While the interior components all have a familiar BMW look to them, the Supra will get some of its own touches, with a hard top roof and different gear ratios being the main differences. Our guess is that the Supra will be geared like a sports car while the more luxurious BMW will see gearing reminiscent of a grand tourer, but Autocar claims that both will send power to all four wheels via an all-wheel drive system. We have mixed feelings about that. Both the Supra and Z4 were rear-wheel drive vehicles in their past lives, and unless the engineers pull off some clever torque manipulating trickery, both cars will lose that signature rear-wheel drive dynamic and gain understeer in the process.

Toyota and BMW could be using the new technology and drivetrain the way Acura did with the NSX—to show off what the automakers think the sports car of the future will be like, at the expense of driving pleasure of course—or the two could be trying to make the experience as raw as possible in spite of the hybrid handicap. As always, it’ll be important to wait around until the Supra’s 2018 release for a test drive because the hardware rarely tells the entire story.

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