When Toyota introduced the 5th generation Supra, they started on the wrong foot in my opinion. That’s because it wasn’t available with a manual transmission, just an automatic. But now in 2023, we finally have a Toyota Supra with a 6-speed gearbox.
Engine – Just like the automatic version of the Supra, the manual version gets the same 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 engine. This is capable of producing 382 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque (285 kW & 499 Nm), according to Toyota. This BMW sourced engine has been proven before to produce a little over 400 hp. But with the addition of the 6-speed gearbox, the 0-100 km/h sprint is a bit slower than that of the automatic version. It is now 4.2 seconds instead of 4.0 seconds. The engine though still produces peak torque at extremely low rpms with power delivery being gradual and linear. It won’t surprise you with a big burst of turbo lag
Fuel Economy – The 6-speed also hampers the fuel economy. The 2023 Supra MT is rated for 12.7 L/100km (18.5 MPG) in a city and 8.8 L/100km (26.7 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the car, I averaged 10.5 L/100km (22.4 MPG).
Transmission – This 6-speed manual transmission is sourced from ZF but Toyota’s engineers have tweaked it a bit for the 2023 Supra. The shifter is easily the best feeling of all remaining manual cars on sale today. Dare I say, even better than the Mazda MX-5. There’s a bit of force required to initially get it into the next gear but half way through the push, it slots right in like a spring-loaded ball bearing. The shifter weight is perfect and in the week that I drove the car, I never once mis-shifted. The clutch actuation is just as good. The pedal has a bit of a long travel but the bite point is distinct with it being about ⅓ of the way up from the bottom. The pedal is not too heavy but not too light.
This transmission also has an active rev-match feature. When downshifting, the engine is automatically revved (blipped) to match the rpms of the lower selected gear. This feature is flawless with the computer knowing exactly how much to rev the engine by whether you’re downshifting by one gear or by two or three.
Braking – The 6-cylinder version of the Toyota Supra comes equipped with 4-piston Brembo calipers on the front wheels and single floating piston calipers on the rear wheels. For everyday city traffic and backcountry road driving, these brakes provide ample stopping force. However, I have heard that on race tracks, particularly heavy braking tracks, the brakes can start to fade quickly. So perhaps a change to more aggressive brake pads could be required.
Handling – The Toyota Supra has quite a lively chassis. If you push hard to its limits, you’ll find that the back end will want to overtake the front end. In other words, spin out. But because of this unique characteristic, the car feels agile and can quickly turn directions. The steering is electro-assisted with a pretty good amount of feel and sharp response. This 6-cylinder version is equipped with a limited slip differential and adaptive dampers. The traction & stability control systems are not as sophisticated as those found in newer BMW M cars. With one push of the T/C button, some of the restrictions are reigned in and a 5 second hold of the button will turn off the systems. In all, this car is quick but somewhat scary on a backcountry road. Its natural habitat is a race track.
Ride Comfort – This being a sports car, the ride is firmer than most others. That being said, the adaptive dampers provide just enough damping to make the biggest city street potholes or manhole covers not feel as though a wheel fell off. The ride is a bit more jittery over smaller bumps and not as supple as the one in the Nissan Z but it’s a small compromise for a car like this.
Interior Space – Though the Supra has a shorter wheelbase than the GR86, there’s quite a lot of space for the driver and passenger. For my above average height of 6’4”, my legs don’t feel squished and there’s plenty of headroom. In fact, I can sit comfortably while wearing a helmet for a track day. The one thing that may be a hamper to some is the low roofline. You may bonk your head against the roof when getting in or out of the car. Additionally, this low roofline hampers the outward visibility. This is made doubly worse by the rearview mirror. But worst is the right-rear visibility in the car’s blind-zone. Thankfully blind spot sensors are standard.
The trunk has a decent amount of space at 290 L (10.2 cu-ft). However, the opening of the trunk is narrow so it will make loading long items tricky. But my biggest pet peeve about the trunk is that there’s only 2 ways to open it instead of the usual 3. It can be opened with the button on the remote and with the button on the driver’s side door. But it does not have a button underneath the trunk lid like all other vehicles. So if you walk up to your locked Supra and want to open the trunk first, you have to fumble in your pocket for the key or walk around to the driver’s side door, push the button, and then walk back to the trunk to open it. You don’t realize just how much you miss something until it’s gone.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – The inline-6 engine makes some good noises but, as is the norm these days, some of the noises are fake. What you hear in the cabin is augmented by the audio system. There are also some pops when lifting off the throttle pedal which is a trademark of modern BMW engines. When the engine is not revving past 2,000, the most prominent noise into the cabin is road noise from the tires. It is very loud.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – Getting your hands on a 2023 Toyota Supra with a 6-speed manual transmission will not cost you a premium over the automatic version. The car is $69,000 CAD ($53,600 USD) but the A91 package will tack on another $1,630 CAD to that price. In the United States, the A91 is packaged differently which is why it costs $2,695 USD.
Gadgets – The A91 Toyota Supra is a fully loaded sports car with every convenience feature that is available on this car. These include leather upholstery (tan, unique for the A91), heated & seats & steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry & push button start, built-in navigation system, power adjustable seats, a head-up display, front & rear parking sensors, and a 12-speaker audio system.
The infotainment touchscreen is 8.8” diagonally in size and is running the old BMW iDrive 6 infotainment system. Wireless Apple CarPlay is available but it does not have Android Auto connectivity. The system is responsive and allows for a little bit of customization of the home screen with different widget tiles.
Interior Design – If you’ve been in a BMW vehicle in the last 7 or so years, the interior of the Toyota Supra will feel familiar. This car uses the same iDrive controls, same headlight switches, same turn signals, same climate controls. It feels very much like a BMW vehicle and there’s nothing “Toyota” about the interior. But at least all of the controls are physical buttons and knobs with every function placed where you’d expect it to be.
Exterior Design – The 2023 Toyota Supra A91 manual looks no different than a regular Supra. I actually like the look of the new Supra. It looks exotic. But what i don’t like are all the fake vents in the bodywork. It would be nice if they were functional from the factory. This A91 manual receives a red Supra badge on the back and is only available in one of two colours; “CU Later” grey and “Burnout” white.
Safety – In addition to the blind spot sensors, in Canada we also get lane departure warning with lane keep, pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, rear cross traffic alert, and road sign assist. In the United States, blind spot sensors, rear cross traffic alert, cruise control, parking sensors, and a few other convenience features are part of the Safety & Technology package.
Warranty – Although this is essentially a BMW vehicle, the 2023 Toyota Supra A91 is covered by a 3 year / 60,000 km basic and 5 year / 100,000 km powertrain warranty just like any other Toyota vehicle. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For information on USA warranty, click here. (Scroll to bottom of page)
Conclusion – So how has the 2023 Toyota Supra A91 changed with the addition of the 6-speed manual transmission? Well, it’s not as fast as the automatic, it’s not as fuel efficient, and it is a bit more tiring when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic. But when you find yourself on a twisty road, the manual transmission makes you feel connected to the car. To me it makes it feel like I’m actually doing something. It’s a feeling that is almost gone from today’s cars. Hopefully the manual transmission doesn’t disappear anytime soon.
Thank you to Toyota Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Toyota.ca