Toyota Supra Manual: Why it will be amazing at autocross

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Nov 18, 2022 | Toyota, Manual, Supra, manual transmission, Toyota Supra, A91 Supra, A91 | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography Courtesy Toyota

About the only thing car culture can agree on when it comes to the A91 Toyota Supra is that it’s a polarizing car.

Built on a chassis shared with the BMW Z4, the Supra is more of a badge-engineered BMW than a true Toyota, but its abilities on both the road and especially the track are difficult to argue with.

When it was introduced for the 2020 model year, the A91 Supra came with a 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six coupled to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. That box provided lightning-fast shifts and did its best to emulate a true dual-clutch paddlebox, even though it was still a traditional torque-converter automatic.

[2020 Toyota GR Supra new car review]

But although it was a solid, easy-to-drive package with great power delivery, a certain portion of the enthusiast public still bemoaned the lack of a true stick-and-clutch manual.

Even when the 3.0-liter engine’s output was raised to a comically underrated 387 horsepower (stock Supras regularly put down more than 400 at the wheels), the lack of a manual was still a sore spot with prospective customers as well as people who just liked to complain.

Your move, whiners.

Now, Toyota has called the bluff of the stick-demanding public and dropped a six-speed into the A91 chassis. Will the dismissing public consider it a “real” Supra now? Is it better? Worse? Let’s discuss.

First, we should say that the six-speed is more than just a simple drop-in. In addition to a shorter 3.46:1 final drive versus the 3.15:1 ratio found in the automatic, the six-speed version gets a lot of specific driveline, stability control, differential and chassis tuning intended to create a more holistic experience and balance the capabilities of the chassis with the strengths of the manual box.

Come on,” you say. “Enough with copy-pasting the press release. Is it better or not?”

Fair question, so we’ll answer thusly: It’s a Supra, with a six-speed.


All the stuff the Supra did well before–the great turn-in and tenacious grip with uncanny steering feedback–the six-speed Supra still does.

But for all the similarity, the six-speed Supra’s dossier contains one different stat of note: a 71 mph second gear. And that’s with the stock rear 275/35R19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Throw a little more tire diameter on there, and you might never have to deal with the rev limiter on an autocross course again. The automatic-equipped Supra maxed out at only 54 mph on the stock tires.

Toyota says the zero-to-60 sprint actually takes a few tenths longer with the manual box due to the lazier gearing, but once locked into second, that six-speed becomes an autocross-friendly weapon that will never get caught between gears like the automatic can.

The six-speed Supra also features an excellent downshift rev-matching feature that eliminates the need for heel-and-toe, but that’s also defeatable with a single button for those times when you want to make your driving school tuition earn its keep.

We spent some time on the west loop of Utah Motorsports Campus getting a great feel for the new setup. When coupled to the manual transmission, that “387-horsepower engine” becomes easy to control. Power delivery is smooth and linear, with no driveline lash during shifts or throttle modulation.

Chassis-wise, the Supra is as excellent as always, with tenacious grip and precise steering in most situations. The front can occasionally feel light in fast entries, but the chassis does a great job of communicating not just through your hands, but through your hips as well, giving the driver a lot of confidence and knowledge of what each contact patch is doing.

The 2023 3.0-liter Supra 6MT will have a starting MSRP of $52,500–the same price as the automatic version–and all the performance goodies are available on the base-model trim. The Premium trim and 500 limited-edition copies of the forthcoming A91-MT Edition add comfort, convenience and luxury options, but no performance. The manual also shaves 22 pounds off the automatic’s 3411-pound curb weight.

The A91 Supra has always been a track monster, even with the eight-speed auto, which was exceptional in all but a very few specific between-gear situations. It’s not hard to imagine that the auto- and manual-transmission Supras will battle for dominance on track, with each configuration eking out the other at venues more favorable to its gearset.

We think it’s autocrossers, however, who get the true killer app here, since that long and flexible second gear is seemingly ideal for national-level Solo competition.

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Comments
OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
9/7/22 7:11 a.m.

Supra 6MT will having a starting MSRP of $52,500
 

Despite the grammatical error this number sounds pretty amazing for a sports car in 2022. Are Toyota dealers selling these at MSRP or tacking on and extra thirty thousand because they can?

Ranger50
Ranger50 MegaDork
9/7/22 8:04 a.m.
OHSCrifle said:

Supra 6MT will having a starting MSRP of $52,500
 

Despite the grammatical error this number sounds pretty amazing for a sports car in 2022. Are Toyota dealers selling these at MSRP or tacking on and extra thirty thousand because they can?

Holy cow... I spent less on my bloated PP GT which I bought at sticker.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
9/7/22 8:09 a.m.

These Supras had a pretty surprise showing at the 2022 One Lap of America with 4 competing.  The highest finishing was 7th (with the others finishing 12, 13, 50th out of 84) but they left a lot of cars in their wake most notably Caymans and many 911s, including multiple GT2s and GT3s

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/22 8:27 a.m.

 the lack of a manual was still a sore spot with prospective customers as well as people who just liked to complain.

Never felt so seen in my entire life...

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
9/7/22 8:36 a.m.

I've complained a lot of the Supra not being offered with a 6MT.

I'd still get it with the AT.

dps214
dps214 Dork
9/7/22 8:54 a.m.

Unless we've traveled back in time twenty years, I'm pretty sure the platform is shared with the bmw z4, not the z3.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/7/22 10:01 a.m.
OHSCrifle said:

Supra 6MT will having a starting MSRP of $52,500
 

Despite the grammatical error this number sounds pretty amazing for a sports car in 2022. Are Toyota dealers selling these at MSRP or tacking on and extra thirty thousand because they can?

If you got arrested for being a good craftsman, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

Around me if a used one pops up it's still $65k. Are people having success ordering them from the dealer for MSRP?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/7/22 10:13 a.m.

If I had new Supra money this would make me much more likely to buy one...but I'd still be cross-shopping it with a used C7.

neverknowsbest
neverknowsbest GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/7/22 10:59 a.m.

In reply to hunter47 :

and you wonder why we don't get manuals. If you don't buy it, they won't build it. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
9/7/22 12:30 p.m.

I own the last BMW sports model that they refused to make with anything but a manual trans - the Z4M. Maybe they decided that any potential 'shiftless' customers didn't deserve one?

I like the ZF 6 speed, though I'm not sure that it is the same thing being used in the Toyota - Aisin make excellent gearboxes and that may well be what is being used.  It will be interesting to see how well they sell.

I applaud the availability of manual even of it is only a run of 500 cars.  I'm not sure that I could ever bring myself to buy an automatic sports car even though they can be demonstrably a bit quicker than the manual version.  The only automatics I have ever owned were either to cars or in my big Jensens which are GT cars rather than sports models.

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