Toyota Debuts The New Manual Transmission Supra

Reveal / 26 Comments

Best start apologizing to your bank account now.

Does anyone else remember how insanely controversial the launch of the Toyota Supra was? It was a mess. The masses cried foul at the car's BMW heart, and most importantly, lamented at the car's automatic transmission. Not because it was bad by any means, but because it wasn't a manual transmission. Well, here's one for all the people who said "call me when it comes with a stick." There's a manual transmission in the Toyota Supra as of today.

The addition of a stick to the Supra means that all three of the brand's US Gazoo Racing models are now offered with a manual transmission. It'll be available on all 3.0-liter Supra models - so no stick for the four-banger - and as part of a special A91-MT model, limited to 500 units for the 2023 model year only.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Toyota has also refined the handling dynamics of the Supra and added a new Hairpin+ function, which allows for more wheelspin when exiting sharp uphill gradients of more than five degrees. All stick Supras will also come with a 12-speaker JBL sound system and a one-year membership to the National Auto Sport Association, complete with expert instruction at a high-performance driving event.

But more on all that later. For now, let's focus on the new manual transmission. Please, save all your BMW jokes until the end of the presentation. Speaking of, it sounds like this is a BMW transmission redone by Toyota engineers, who have developed a 'new' stick shift specifically for the GR Supra with its inner workings expressly tuned for the Supra's high-torque motor.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
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Toyota says its team of engineers modified an existing transmission housing, driveshaft, and gear set while removing unnecessary items. Apparently, some sort of "acoustic package" was removed to save weight, though the brand doesn't specify what that is. Inside the new trans sits a large diameter clutch with a reinforced diaphragm spring.

That new clutch allows for a larger friction area, working with the stronger spring helping the transmission to handle the 3.0-liter engine's 367 lb-ft of torque. The new gearbox also uses new Intelligent Manual Transmission software (like the one found in the GR Corolla) to smooth upshifts and downshifts. Furthermore, Toyota shortened the Supra's final drive ratio from 3.15 in the auto to 3.45 in the new manual car. The brand says that ought to help with response and avoid any sluggish off-the-line starts.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Toyota didn't stop development there, either. The Japanese automaker paid close attention to shift feel and ergonomics, which is arguably just as important as how the transmission performs. Toyota tuned the shifter to minimize the effort needed to change gears, helped greatly by a weighty 200-gram shift knob. The center stack and drive mode selector were also adjusted to give 1.7 inches of clearance between the knob and center stack so you wouldn't go banging your knuckles into anything.

Due to the new transmission, some of the Supra's inner workings have been adapted to function in unison with the new gearbox. Toyota says the new stick Supra will use a newly optimized TRAction Control (TRAC) system to keep things smooth. That system is also optimized to strike a balance between agility and stability during on-throttle corner exits.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

The new Hairpin+ function will relax the traction control a bit when taking tight corners on an uphill gradient- if the car decides there's enough grip available. Basically, it means that as long as you're going uphill and exiting a sufficiently tight corner, you can kick the tail out without worrying about ending up on LiveLeak. The Supra's stability and anti-roll software has also been reworked to help counter snap-oversteer, again to help keep you off the internet and on the road. Changes in Track Mode now mean you'll be able to do bigger skids better thanks to a new torque profile when Track Mode is active.

The entire Supra lineup will also benefit from some new suspension settings. Retuned shock absorbers mean better roll stability and increased ride comfort. The mechanical components in the car's power steering have also been retuned, in addition to an active rear diff as standard.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Now about that special edition. In addition to everything you'd normally get with a fully-specced Surpa, the A91-MT edition, limited to 500 units for the 2023 model year, will come with a host of special changes. Inside, there's the new Cognac tan leather interior and an Alcantara shift knob. Outside, all A91-MT models get special red "Supra" badging and red strut tower braces. Those will be available in either the matte white seen here or Toyota's CU Later Gray.

There are some new changes for both the stick and auto Supras, too. The manual models will get the brand's 19-inch wheels, as well as a new Stratosphere Blue color. All available Supra colors can also be found on the stick Supra. Inside, heated, black leather-trimmed seats are standard, with the 3.0 Premium trims getting a red and black interior with a HUD, wireless charger, and that JBL sound system we mentioned earlier.

Toyota
Toyota
Toyota
Toyota

Finally, Toyota's Supra Connect software is available on all models, including the 2.0-liter Supra. That comes with a Safety and Technology Package which includes features like automatic emergency calls, real-time traffic info, and roadside assistance.

Toyota says that pricing for the new manual model and its A91-MT special edition will be announced later this summer, with models hitting dealerships later in the year. It's been a long haul, but the automotive community at large has made enough noise to talk Toyota into building a manual transmission Toyota Supra.

So hats off to you, noisy internet warriors. Without you constantly in Toyota's DMs, we probably wouldn't have another front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, stick shift sports car. Now all that's left is to drive one and see if it makes the Supra into the car we always knew it could be.

Front-End Bumper CarBuzz / Ian Wright
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