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Toyota’s Chief Engineer Really Wants New Supra To Have A Manual

New rumors suggest a hybrid version could also be on the cards.

After a 16-year hiatus from the auto industry, the Toyota Supra finally made a triumphant return at this year’s Geneva Motor Show—albeit in the form of the GR Supra Racing Concept. Precious few details were revealed about the car, and while it’s a shame we’re not staring in awe at the final production car, the styling gives us the clearest idea yet of what the final car will look like if you remove the race car bits. Many enthusiasts have also been wondering whether the new Supra will have a manual gearbox. The answer? Maybe.

Sadly, previously leaked information suggested you won’t be rowing the gears manually, which seems like a travesty in a Japanese sports car. The GR Supra Racing Concept doesn’t fill us with hope either, since it sports paddle shifters on the steering wheel and no manual shifter. (There are three pedals, but the clutch is used to just get the car rolling, rather than shift through the gears.) There’s still hope the reborn Supra will have a manual transmission, though. During an interview at the Geneva Motor Show, AutoGuide spoke to Toyota’s Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada about the subject.

“It makes perfect sense” for the new Supra to have a manual, Tada-san told the publication. “I will try my hardest,” he promised. After all, the Supra isn’t being designed to set lap records. Instead, Tada-san is working hard to make sure the car is engaging, fun to drive, and that it will have “ease of maneuverability,” which is more important than “quantifiable figures.” This gives us renewed hope the new Supra will please purists by offering a traditional manual. However, Tada-san and his team have been consulting with Supra fanatics to find out their priorities for the reborn sports car. High up on the list was a turbo straight-six engine, a front-engine and rear-wheel drive layout, and the ability to make modifications.

Demand for a manual transmission wasn’t high. Don’t be surprised, then, if the new Supra is only offered with an automatic, but don’t rule out a manual just yet either. A new report by Top Gear suggests the new Toyota Supra, which is being co-developed with the BMW Z4, will pack a recalibrated BMW engine pumping out 450 horsepower. A hybrid version is also being considered, but plans haven’t been confirmed yet. As for when the reborn Toyota Supra road car will debut? We were previously led to believe it will break cover in just a few weeks at the New York Auto Show, but Top Gear is now reporting it won’t debut until the 2019 Detroit Auto Show next January.

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