Toyota Supra: manual gearbox version revealed

Published: 29 April 2022

► New A90 Toyota Supra coupe
► Straight-six and four-cyl versions
► Priced from £47,505, manual price to come

Toyota’s keeping the manual alive with its new Supra, which has been given some light revisions for 2022. What’s more, the brand confirmed the three-pedal Supra would be coming to the UK.

The manual Supra is ‘a car for driving purists,’ according to Toyota and will be an option for the 3.0-litre straight-six. It’s a six-speed manual transmission and is badged as an iMT like that in the GR Yaris, meaning upshifts and downshifts are rev-matched by software. Toyota says manual Supras will be set apart by the application of a red badge on the rear end.

supra manual rear end

It’s interesting to see Toyota apply a manual here, linking this with the GR86 and the GR Yaris. Other car makers have seen dramatic drops in manual transmission sports car uptake, removing them entirely from certain markets or keeping them for base models. BMW in certain European markets sells a Z4 sDrive20i with a manual ‘box, and did for a while in Australia. But BMW reportedly only sold two manual cars in Australia in two years, so demand could be described as wobbly in different markets. Even so, Toyota’s pressing on.

Read on for more on the Supra, including the new manual variant and 2022 model year changes.

Toyota Supra: the CAR debrief

The Toyota Supra is a sports coupe from Japan, and the fifth to carry the Supra name. Toyota worked in partnership with BMW to get it off the ground, with Munich working on making the Z4 roadster.

The two share a platform and engines but, visually, there are far more differences than similarities. Toyota says the styling comes under its ‘Condensed Extreme’ design language, with a stretching bonnet, double-bubble roofline and stubby rear all present and correct.

The Condensed Extreme name points to the short wheelbase, low and wide footprint and massive wheels that fill the bulbous arches. Europe will have those black-and-metal alternating 19-inch rims as standard. The headlamps are heavily stylised while the grille, front and bonnet are punctured with numerous cooling vents to feed the engine, brakes and radiators with air.

toyota supra front static

The footprint of the car is in what’s apparently called the ‘Golden Ratio’ for handling prowess – the ratio between wheelbase length and wheel tread width – with the bookends being 1.5 and 1.6. The Supra is bang in the middle at 1.55.

‘We wanted to make it so at a glance you recognise it, so we went through many discussions with the designer of the car and this is how we came up with the design,’ says Chief Engineer, Tetsuya Tada. ‘There were some focal points or cues of the design taken from the previous Supra. For example, the rear fender, where we had that kind of volume; we said that’s the sexy part of the design, so we tried to have some cues.’

Inside, it’s a properly driver-centric cockpit inside, with enough Toyota bits to make it less obvious where the BMW bits are. Like the headlight buttons, iDrive screen and centre console switchgear, gear selector and air-con dials.

Give me engines and specs!

There are two engines on sale in the UK: a 2.0-litre 4cyl version and 3.0-litre straight six.

The former joined the range in January 2021 and uses a single twin-scroll turbocharger coupled to an eight-speed, ZF ‘box, It isn’t exactly feeble, still putting out 255bhp and 295lb ft, with 0-62mph taking just 5.2 seconds. Engineers have managed to achieve an equal weight balance between front and rear, and say a 100kg saving compared to the straight-six could mean the car is even better through the tricky stuff. There doesn’t look to be any exterior differences though.

‘To achieve agile steering and stable cornering, we worked very hard to reduce the new car’s weight, while aiming for a 50:50 weight balance,’ said GR Supra chief engineer Tetsuya Tada. ‘This presented us with huge challenges, but we did not want to compromise on our targets.’

supra overhead driving

The other engine is a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six making 335bhp and 369lb ft for the GR Supra. If those power figures sound familiar, that’s because they’re the same as the M40i version of the BMW Z4. Toyota claims the 3.0-litre GR Supra will hit 62mph in 4.3 seconds. There’s also launch control and Euro-spec Supras also feature an active differential for the driven wheels.

The straight-six features an eight-speed automatic gearbox by default, but a new six-speed manual will be available later in 2022. Toyota says the gearbox has rev matching on up and downshifts, which can be switched off. The gearbox housing of the automatic has been used, but modified it along with the driveshaft and gearset to remove what it thinks are bits that ‘were not required’, including some sound deadening. The final drive ratio has also been shortened to 3.46 (compared to 3.15 in the auto).

supra manual gearstick

For 2022, Toyota says it’s revised the suspension setup with tougher anti-roll bar bushes and retuned shock absorbers and tweaked the steering. A new ‘Hairpin+’ setting for the traction control also joins the 2022 model year revisions, allowing for a little more wheel slip in tight turns. Toyota also points out that the 3.0-litre manual is 38.3kg lighter than the auto.

Twinned with BMW: why the Z4 and Supra share DNA

It has been no secret that BMW and Toyota teamed up to create the new Z4/Supra platform, and the reasons behind the collaboration were largely financial. It’s a reflection of a shrinking global market for sports cars that two giants of manufacturing are teaming up to get the efficiencies of scale required to get the project off the ground.

supra interior

However, it appears that the initial desire to save costs and share parts meant the joint project got off to a less than ideal start. ‘We started discussions with BMW saying “Let’s increase the amount of shared parts, let’s make everything efficient” – that was the starting point,’ explains Tada-san. ‘It didn’t quite match, and there was one instance where BMW came up and said – what do you want? It seems like you’re making compromises for the sake of efficiency.’

After that, Toyota and BMW began to develop the individual cars it both wanted, and then looked for common areas where it made sense to share hardware.

Toyota Supra UK price and release date

The Supra is on sale now, with prices starting at £47,505 for a basic 2.0-litre four-cylinder model, or £55,880 for a 3.0-litre. The 3.0-litre manual version doesn’t have a price yet, but expect it to be a smidge cheaper than the auto.

By Jake Groves

CAR's deputy news editor, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

Comments