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Is that a (perfect) Supra?

The Toyota GR brand (Gazoo Racing, the in-house sports and racing department) expands their line-up with a manually gated GR Supra! A car the community has prayed to get. And Toyota has delivered!

What it’s all about

Since its launch in 2019, the GR Supra has been offered with a straight-six 340hp/250kW 3.0-litre engine matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A year later, a new 258hp/ 190kW 2.0-litre engine was added to the range, again with an automatic transmission as standard. While the car and its performance have received high praise worldwide from media and fans alike, perhaps inevitably the question of whether a manual gearbox would be available persisted. Toyota has listened to petrolheads, fans and customers and started to engineer a very own six-speed manually gated gearbox by their own. This means that Toyota will offer all three GR-Models available in Europe with manual transmission either as standard in the GR Yaris or as an option in the GR86 and GR Supra.

During the engineering process, Toyota has undergone an expanded treatment for the GR Supra including retuned suspension and braking control and a few weight optimizations to save up almost 40kg in its kerb weight to improve the car’s handling.

Look, we all know what the Supra is. A BMW Z4 wearing a Toyota badge. And a fancier, more extravagant dress. But I’d like to remind you that if the Supra existed without BMW’s help (and that’s a big if), the Supra's chief engineer, Tetsuya Tada, said that it would have cost a lot more. And that would have shot it right out of a reasonable price range. Not even mentioned that Toyota doesn’t build any inline-six engines now. So we might have missed that, too.

First impressions

The fans and enthusiasts have spoken. Toyota has listened and brought their GR Supra with the manual transmission. Toyota’s claim: “For the drivers” has come to reality. Especially with their GR cars. Available with a stick shift in three trims, the current Supra also gains a suspension and driveline update that Toyota promises will make the car drive even better than before. On top the Supra is available in additionally launched colors and interior trims. The exterior’s optics haven’t changed except for a red “Supra” lettering at the rear.

If you stare at this beautiful piece of machinery long enough, you might recognize a few design details that have been reinterpreted like the sweeping long hood and decent ducktail from the MK4, the squared-off nose from the MK3 or the thin looking A-pillar from the MK1 Supra. The fifth generation has a truly unique and appealing design language.

Driving experience

Although the fifth generation Supra gained a lot in popularity on the internet, it is still a very rarely seen specimen on our streets. And due to the sportscar-like shapes of the car it really stands out and is a proper eye catcher.

That one small detail is so incredibly important to the Supra’s identity as a sports car and truly fits into the whole concept as a successor to the fourth generation.

Now, the one thing that took a bit of getting used to was the car’s auto rev-match functionality. It’s not that the feature is implemented poorly, but as someone who is used to driving significantly older vehicles with a row-your-own transmission, having the car blip the throttle for you is a bit … weird. However, downshifting resulted in extremely accurate throttle blips, making those engagements buttery smooth and very daily usable. And of course, the iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) can be deactivated through the car’s settings in the menu on the screen.

With the right tire setup, the new Supra is up to hunt down some curves and make Porsche 911 Carreras sweat infront. The handling is direct and the car nimble on twisty roads. But could have had a slightly more feedback from the road.

The suspension makes up for the lack f steering responsiveness. It is a perfectly balanced compromise between comfort and sportiness with the ability to do long distance trips or mountain pass rides in the early morning when almost nobody is on the road.

To end this section of my review I can 100% promise that Toyota has reached the holy completion by adding the manually gated gearbox to the Supra.

To the interior

Getting in and out of this magnificent sports car isn’t that easy for tall drivers. Due to the low roofline, there isn’t too much headroom. And especially the side roof line can be in your head’s way while exiting the Supra.

The changes to accommodate the new manual transmission in the GR Supra were not confined to the powertrain. Close attention was also paid how the new system could be accommodated in the driver’s cockpit. Considering that the gear knob had to be in perfect place to allow precise shifting lead to a redesign.

The existing centre console design allowed insufficient clearance between the shift lever and the air conditioning control panel. To achieve the perfect ergonomics, the console unit and the control for drive mode selection have been redesigned. In addition, the lever ratio has been changed. Toyota even had an eye on the gear shifter knob by finding out its best weight and shape for a pleasing driving experience. And they did this absolutely perfect. The shifting feels precise and very engaging.

The whole infotainment system has its roots from the BMW Z4, too. Which isn’t a bad thing, either. Everything worked fine and flawlessly during my two weeklong test drive.

The materials are great. Some cheap plastic hidden here and there. But nothing big to complain about. It is all about to keep the costs in production, and of course, in the car’s price down. On the other hand, the BMW Z4 needs something it can improve compared to the Toyota. Obviously.

Thanks to the fact that the fifth generation Supra comes with only four seats, the trunk in the back is relatively big and is able to carry enough luggage for two passengers.

Now what should I buy?

Pretty simple. A new GR Supra with the manual six-speed transmission. This sportscar provides pure joy and has way enough power to wear the “sportscar” badge. Toyotas decision to get their hands on a straight-six engine built by BMW couldn’t be any better in my opinion, although the engine could have slightly more characteristics linked to the Japanese car culture. BMW surely builds some of the best engines in the world. So, Toyota did the only right thing to do this fantastic collaboration! The whole concept works flawlessly and spices up the car market.

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