Any of you lot who’ve been claiming to be holding off buying a Supra simply because it doesn’t have a third pedal will need to break out your checkbooks. This morning, Toyota announced what was teased earlier this month: the Supra is getting a bonafide manual transmission.
Well, there’s still one out: It’ll be limited to models powered by the 3.0-liter engine.
And that’s not a bad thing. The inline-six in the GR Supra is good for 382 horsepower, all of which is funneled through the rear wheels. Branded as an ‘iMT’ gearbox, this six-speed will have electronic helpers like rev-matching downshifts, plus the ability to optimize engine torque at the moment of clutch engagement and release. In other words, it’ll be smooth in the hands of people who are not as proficient with a manual transmission as the most dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast. Luddites will presumably turn the works of it off.
Toyota insists they did not simply haul a stock transmission out of their parts bin and hammer it into a Supra. According to the engineering team, they had to modify an existing transmission housing, fiddle with the driveshaft, and make alterations to the gear set. Various and sundry sound deadening was given the heave-ho in a bid to shave ounces. A newly-engineered clutch plate with a larger friction area and stronger spring are in the ‘box, this tuned for duty in this high-performance application. The final drive ratio was also changed: 3.46 for the stick versus 3.15 in the automatic. This will keep the thing feeling sprightly off the line.
In addition to the dandy new row-yer-own, a new driving function called “Hairpin+” was designed to permit more grins when taking tight bends on an uphill gradient. Toyota claims the feature can optimize engine torque control from side-to-side on the rear axle to allow a greater difference in the degree of wheel spin. This should make the GR Supra even more entertaining on the roads above L.A. and on our nation’s road-course circuits. In addition, the Track mode has been tuned to allow for easy drifting with freedom of throttle control, which is always good for a laugh or at least a particularly viral YouTube video.
The manual is set to be made available on the 3.0, 3.0 Premium, and a new limited A91-MT Edition model, the latter of which will only have 500 copies sent to America. A stickshift Supra means Toyota now offers all three of its U.S. GR models (the Soup plus the GR86 and upcoming GR Corolla) with a manual transmission. While it’s true the best automatics can do a better job of shifting than most humans, there is a vehicle connection and fun factor that cannot be ignored while wielding a stick.
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