We thought it would never happen, but the time has finally come – the manual Toyota GR Supra has arrived. Reviews are coming in fast and it all seems pretty positive, with the wide consensus that the manual transmission has finally injected some of the spice back into the legendary sports car.
The manual version of the GR Supra is cheaper than the auto versions as it’s available on a more basic entry-level trim, starting from £53,495 (estimated to cost $53,000 in the US), and it’s also 40kg lighter than the auto equivalent.
There’s no suggestion that Toyota hasn’t made the effort with the manual GR Supra – in pursuit of the right shift quality for the car, engineers co-developed a bespoke gearbox with German firm ZF. It is, unsurprisingly, related to those used by BMW, but Toyota has added its own components to tailor it to the Supra.
It wasn’t a simple case of plonking that manual ‘box into the car and adding a pedal, either. The centre console has had to be widened significantly, with the infotainment controls, electronic handbrake and drive mode buttons moved elsewhere to accommodate.
A unique red ‘Supra’ logo on the rear of the car helps the manual GR Supra proudly stand out in the line-up. It should do – Toyota wants people to know it listened to customer demand and that this is a distinguished driver-focused model.
What’s it like to drive? Well, so far reviews are looking good, with many journalists praising the manual GR Supra for adding some much needed driver engagement. Auto Express says that the auto GR Supra always felt it was missing something and that the manual is “a more complete sports car”.
They’ve also praised the gearbox itself for having a precise throw and “giving off a real sense of mechanical connection” – a contrast to the slightly disappointing manual gearbox offered on some overseas models of the BMW M3 and M4.
All this praise aside, the manual GR Supra isn’t perfect. The 3.0-litre engine has been criticised for a lack of top-end power and a disappointing soundtrack, but the overall package is still very promising.
Evo sees the manual GR Supra as a marked improvement over the auto model, but suggests the Porsche 718 Cayman is a better driver’s car overall, despite the higher price tag and less potent four-cylinder engines used in the entry-level models.
Top Gear has applauded the manual GR Supra not only for its new ‘box, but also for fine-tuned revisions to its adaptive suspension setup, traction control system and power steering (which felt numb in the previous auto versions.)
Manual sports cars are something of a rarity in this day and age. The fact that the manual GR Supra is here with us in the first place demonstrates that Toyota’s petrolhead CEO Akio Toyoda has committed to producing performance cars that put the fun back into driving.