The Power of Three

Along with the GR Yaris and GR86, the Toyota GR Supra now spearheads a powerful triumvirate of hallowed whips. It also now has three pedals at play.

The Toyota GR Supra is turbocharged and in charge.

Adding a manual transmission to the Supra was always going to be a challenge. The GR team, however, had no problem rising to it, quickly setting about to engineer an all-new six-speed Intelligent manual transmission (iMT) 

The task was then to pair it with the existing turbocharged 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine at the heart of the Supra. That meant circumventing some interesting hard points, such as the centre console, which in its current configuration would result in bashing one’s knuckles into the aircon when shifting to gears 1, 3 or 5. Not very driver-focused, I’m sure you’ll agree.  

The Toyota GR Supra is turbocharged and in charge.

So, after much tweaking and moving and expanding, we’ve arrived. I’m seated inside the driver’s pew with room aplenty for my right hand (I’m in a left-hand-drive Supra). This is the Monteblanco racing circuit in Spain, and I’ve been allowed to row my own gears for an hour or so on its immaculate asphalt.  

At the heart of this new relationship is a newly engineered large-diameter clutch. Its greater friction area and reinforced diaphragm spring ensures that it’s capable of high-performance demands – specifically the Supra’s 250kW and 500Nm payload.  

I’ve already dispatched two gears by the time I’ve hit the first corner, a right-left complex followed by a kink, before rolling onto a high-speed right hander. The exhaust note is typically six-cylinder, sonorous and linear, and since it’s a manual, I get to play conductor, dispensing and selecting keys as I desire.  

I’m grateful for the 42mm of clearance between the gear knob and HVAC, as opposed to the 4mm found in the auto. Oh, and another thing about this knob – I can tell you that it weighs precisely 200g and is perfectly weighted for shifting into third. Climb on the brakes, second, back on the throttle, pin it and go! 

The Toyota GR Supra is turbocharged and in charge.

Sorry, what was I saying? The GR Supra in automatic was perfectly engaging, but having the full measure of its drivetrain is immeasurably rewarding, turning the dice between apexes into a ballet. The iMT even employs synchronised rev-matching, and yes, it will blip the throttle for you on the downshift if you’re too lazy to do it yourself. The reward for this is twofold, an even more scintillating soundtrack and, once again, seamless performance.  

There’s also the addition of a new intuitive traction control system, a new ‘sideways’ function called Hairpin+ (said to be more entertaining than Disney+), and then there’s the subtraction of 38.3kg of weight.  

Finally, there’s a retuned suspension and a red Supra badge denoting that the model you’ve parked on your driveway is, in fact, the manual. That’s important. 

Read about the other two stars in the trio: the dynamic new GR86 and the performance-driven GR Yaris.