After teasing us with a photo of a clutch pedal last week, the arrival of a manual Toyota GR Supra has been confirmed, for Europe at last. It appears the fan community was crucial to the decision too, with Toyota’s UK Twitter account declaring “You spoke and we listened!” and even the post “#SavetheManuals”. Thanks Toyota, we like what you’re up to.
The gearbox in question is a six-speed intelligent manual transmission (iMT), engineered to “delight drivers who love the control and rewards offered by precisely timed manual shifts.” Count us in. iMT optimises engine torque during upshifts, and blips the throttle during downshifts, a feature that can be turned off if the driver wants to try some heel-and-toe shifting the old fashioned way.
It wasn’t simply a case of slotting in an off-the-shelf BMW gearbox, either. According to Toyota, the new transmission and clutch have been engineered specifically to suit the 335bhp and torque delivery of the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. The clutch now has a larger diameter, reinforced diaphragm spring and larger friction area, while the transmission’s final drive ratio has been shortened from 3.15 to 3.46.
The GR Supra’s braking and suspension systems have also been retuned for enhanced performance, and intriguingly these changes aren’t reserved for the manual. Toyota must like the improvements, because they’re also being fitted to all the new automatic models rolling off the production line. Front and rear anti-roll bar bushes now use stiffer vulcanised rubber, and the shock absorbers and steering system have been recalibrated.
Manual fans will be able to buy the six-speed GR Supra in 3.0-litre Pro or standard versions, and the new gearbox and other tweaks also shaves a handy 40kg off the coupe’s weight, which should give it a small handling and performance advantage.
Along with the changes under the car, the cabin has also been carefully altered. Just swapping the auto gear selector for a gear lever wasn’t going to work, so the centre console has been redesigned to ensure the gear knob is “optimally placed for precise, rapid and rewarding gear changes”. Toyota has even taken a leaf out of Honda’s book, adding a weighted gear knob (200g) for a more pleasing feel while shifting.
Toyota’s attention to detail is also evident in a new ‘Hairpin+’ function, which allows some wheel spin when taking tight bends on an uphill gradient of more than 5 per cent, like those found on European mountain passes. According to Toyota this can “make such routes more enjoyable to drive” and we think it could also go down as one of the most niche vehicle settings in history. It will be interesting to see where else it can liven up the driving experience when engaged.
Have you been waiting for a manual GR Supra, or would you prefer a GR 86? Let us know in the comments.