Toyota Supra gets a six-speed manual, but only with the (updated) six-cylinder engine

Toyota Supra gets a six-speed manual, but only with the (updated) six-cylinder engine

Toyota Supra gets a six-speed manual, but only with the six-cylinder engine

Image for article titled Toyota Supra gets a six-speed manual, but only with the six-cylinder engine (updated)

Picture: Toyota

The sun shone a little brighter when Toyota teased that the Supra was getting a manual transmission. The lack of a gear stick disqualified Toyota’s halo sports car for many enthusiasts, and while it’s still a big machine, it always felt like something was missing. That changed on Thursday, as Toyota finally confirmed the Supra manual is real – for some buyers.

Updated April 29, 2022, 4:20 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with new information about the origin of the Supra manual.

First, the good news. Toyota says it went to great lengths to design this drivetrain and make it fun with BMW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. BMW doesn’t offer this engine with a manual transmission, so Toyota had to do a lot of legwork to make a manual Supra. Here’s what that entailed, Toyota’s press release:

The engineering team modified an existing transmission case, driveshaft and gear assembly and removed items that weren’t needed, such as the acoustic assembly, which reduced weight. At the heart of the transmission is a newly designed large diameter clutch with a reinforced diaphragm spring. With a larger friction area and stronger spring, this new component has the appropriate high performance capability for use with the GR Supra’s high torque motor.

The newly developed 6-speed manual gearbox also includes an Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) programmed with new software that prioritizes sporty performance. When upshifting, parameters are adjusted to optimize engine torque when engaging and releasing the clutch; during downshifts, the software was fine-tuned for consistent performance. iMT is set by default but, if the driver prefers, it can be switched off in Sport mode.

To avoid sluggish start-up and poor acceleration feel when engaging gears, the final drive ratio has been shortened from 3.15 (in the GR Supra automatic) to 3.46 (in the GR Supra MT). The result is response and drivetrain tuned for sports car performance.

The limited-edition A91-MT Supra, of which only 500 will be sold in North America.

The limited-edition A91-MT Supra, of which only 500 will be sold in North America.
Picture: Toyota

Following Toyota’s announcement, The reader separately reported Friday that the six-speed is, like the Supra itself, BMW-sourced. This is a “Toyota-tuned” ZF unit, in that the Japanese automaker replaced some parts with others, like the aforementioned large-diameter clutch, heavy-duty spring, and shift knob design. gear shift :

“The parts used in the gearbox are from a combination of manual transmissions manufactured by ZF, but the combination of parts is exclusive to GR Supra,” a Toyota spokesperson said. The reader. “Toyota partnered with ZF and BMW on shifter/pedal design/layout, final gear ratio decision, iMT tuning [rev-matching and upshift smoothing] shift function and feel.

This Supra-specific gearbox even gets its own unique transmission code in BMW’s parts catalog: GS6L50TZ. For what it’s worth, the manual code found overseas and less powerful BMW Z4 sDrive20i happens to be GS6L40LZ, according to this SupraMKV forum post. According to BMW transmission designation rules, the difference between “L50T” and “L40L” indicates a discrepancy in transmission “type” and gear train. The “GS6” and “Z” bits of the codes indicate a six-speed manual and ZF as the manufacturer, respectively.

Speaking of the shift knob, Toyota says ergonomics were also a consideration. Making room for a manual in a car that wasn’t originally offered with one can be a bit of a bear. Again, from the manufacturer’s version:

Particular attention was also paid to how a manual gear lever could be accommodated in the driver’s cockpit. The gear ratio has been specifically tuned to minimize the effort required to shift gears and engage reverse. While the weight and shape of the 200g gear knob, as well as the quality of gear engagement, have all been precisely defined. Ergonomics were also a priority, as the console and drive mode selector position were adjusted to provide 1.7 inches of clearance between the shift knob and the control panel.

Toyota has not announced pricing for the manual Supra. That news will arrive this fall, shortly before the 2023 models hit showrooms.

Here’s the catch: this six-speed won’t be offered on the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Supra in any capacity. Honestly, I don’t know if a manual could have saved this car; I don’t know if anything could save the lesser Supra when the GR 86 and now the long-awaited GR Corolla also exist in the Toyota range. My colleague Steve thinks no one would bother buying a Supra 2.0 with a manual against these options, and he’s probably right.

Image for article titled Toyota Supra gets a six-speed manual, but only with the six-cylinder engine (updated)

Picture: Toyota

To me a 3.0 manual makes the 2.0 Supra an even worse proposition than it already was, a car that lives in the shadow of his big brother. Maybe it just exists as a base for mods, but how many 2.0 owners do 2JZ trades anyway? I’m all for a cheap entry into performance – especially for those skilled enough to make up the difference with the tear-off – but the 2.0 is only about $8000 less than the 3.0, and that’s is Toyota’s flagship product. It should be a competent sports car in all its variants.

Toyota will also offer a limited-edition Supra with the manual fitted, called the A91-MT. Only 500 of them will be built, with the required gearbox and a cognac interior exclusive for North America. Whichever Supra model you order, if you specify yours with a gear stick, you’ll get a red badge on the back, so everyone knows you’ve bought the best Supra – and, maybe , to twist the knife a bit when someone fires in an earlier, automatic-only Supra.

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