A manual transmission isn't some magic formula that instantly makes a car more fun to drive. There are plenty of bad manuals out there and some great automatics; drive any Hyundai N product and you'll see what I mean. For an enthusiast car like the Toyota Supra, though, a manual gearbox is, if not a must-have, a definitely-want.
Toyota, thankfully, knows its audience better than most. And although it took a few years too long to come to market, the 2023 GR Supra 3.0 is finally getting the six-speed manual fans have been waiting for. Praise be.
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|Quick Stats||2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium 6MT|
|Engine:||Turbocharged 3.0-liter I6|
|Output:||382 Horsepower / 368 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH:||4.2 Seconds|
|Base Price:||$52,500 + $1,095|
Gallery: 2023 Toyota Supra Manual First Drive Review
Row, Row, Row Your Own
The fact that a manual exists on this car at all is a great thing. Toyota says it researched tirelessly and consulted with the smartest German engineering experts to find a gearbox that best fit the personality of this car. The outcome? A ZF-sourced six-speed with minor tweaks.
Sure, the ZF is essentially the gold standard for over-the-counter transmissions, but it feels completely unspecial here. The catch point is narrow and a rubber band-like clutch action means this car will be a chore in traffic. And the throws are moderate in length but pretty notchy; the six-speed in the Nissan Z still feels snappier by comparison.
The good news is that rev-matching technology comes standard, and the manual does have a tighter final drive ratio than the automatic, dropping from 3.15 to 3.46. The shift lever itself is interesting, too; the perfectly circular shift knob weighs just 7.1 ounces.
But more than anything, there is an undeniable satisfaction to rowing your own gears in the Supra at high speeds. The sublime turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six – the only way to get the 6MT – still produces 382 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque here. Although it takes the manual model 4.2 seconds to hit 60 as opposed to the automatic's 3.9-second sprint, your butt dyno won't be able to tell the difference. This car is still stupidly quick.
But more than anything, there is an undeniable satisfaction to rowing your own gears in the Supra at high speeds.
Dynamically, the Supra goes unchanged, with a taut but not-too-firm suspension making it still fun to fling around in the corners. Toyota says it made minor tweaks to the traction control and stability control on the manual model, even adding a Hairpin+ setting that tweaks the torque distribution allowing for more free wheelspin on twisty roads. But in a dozen or so laps around the Utah Motorsports Park, it was hard to notice any difference.
The manual Supra, though, could have really separated itself from the automatic if Toyota improved the brakes. The same four-piston Brembo calipers and 13.7-inch rotors carry over unchanged; the pedal feel is still vague and they have a tendency to fade on the track. But that's a small criticism in the larger scope.
Give A Shift
Keen eyes will be able to point out the manual Supra’s updated looks. The new 10-spoke, 19-inch rims sharpen up the wheel wells and the handsome Stratosphere Blue helps brighten up the Supra’s exterior. Matte White and the cleverly named CU Later Gray are also available on the A91-MT Edition, which is limited to just 500 units in the US and adds a fancy Cognac leather-trimmed interior.
But the manual transmission is still the biggest draw – and Toyota won’t ask for any extra cash if you want one over the automatic. The 2023 Supra costs $53,595 with the $1,095 destination fee included, and the limited A91 edition asks $59,440.
The six-speed manual doesn’t immediately make the Supra a better car, and there certainly could have been more significant tweaks added beyond the gearbox (ie: the brakes). But the Supra was already a solid sports car; the do-it-yourself shifter makes it that much harder to ignore.
Supra Competitor Reviews:
2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium 6MT