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Driven: 2023 Toyota GR Supra Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.

Driven: 2023 Toyota GR Supra Manual
Itís the GR Supra we all know and love, but now it comes with a car enthusiast-friendly six-speed manual Ďbox. Does that make this the Supra of choice?


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2023 Toyota GR Supra Manual

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The Supra was always billed as a car for enthusiasts, but it took a while for the manual version to arrive in the UK. Available solely in conjunction with the most powerful 3.0-litre versions of the Supra, it's sure to be the desirable option for fans of the brand, but is the six-speed 'box really the best choice for Toyota's 340hp sports car?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual
Pricing: £54,485 as tested
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Body style: two-door, two-seat coupe
CO2 emissions: 198g/km
Combined economy: 32.1mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Power: 340hp
Torque: 500Nm
Boot space: 290 litres


At a glance, itís hard to tell the manual Supra from its siblings. Look closely, though, and youíll spot the sole visual clue: the red Supra lettering. We should point out, though, that we arenít complaining about the lack of visual differentiation Ė the Supraís an attractive-looking thing in any form, and few cars receive so much positive attention, particularly at this price point. But the red lettering does grate slightly, giving the Supra a slightly Max Power-esque look that doesnít sit with the classy lines.


Naturally, the manual Supraís cabin is slightly different, but itís only really the area around the gear lever that has changed. Toyota had to move the gate slightly so you donít punch the climate control every time you change gear, and that meant redesigning the whole centre console to accommodate all the related switchgear.

That aside, though, the Supraís cabin is exactly the same as before, with the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system, as well as the rotary controller that makes the aforementioned touchscreen easier to use on the move. Of course, much of this stuff is inherited from the BMW Z4 on which the Supra is based, which means while the Toyotaís cabin is beautifully made, thereís an odd sense of deja vu.

Thereís an increasing sense of age, too. The Supra was launched in 2019, and the intervening years have not been especially kind to the cabin. The plastics just feel a little bit old-school and some of the designs feel a bit last-gen. Thatís no slight on the quality Ė when the Germans and Japanese get together you know the car is going to be well built Ė but the Supraís cabin does feel a bit drab.


Space in the Supra is at a bit of a premium, with just two seats and little in the way of interior storage space. Of course, the same is true of the Porsche 718 Cayman and the Jaguar F-Type, neither of which is especially spacious. The Supra falls into the same bracket, with a boot that measures just 290 litres, or about the same amount of room as you get in a Ford Fiesta. The difference is, of course, that the Fiesta's boot is a more practical shape.


The manual gearbox is only available in conjunction with the Supraís most powerful 3.0-litre petrol engine. Although, of course, we call it the Supraís engine, itís actually the 340hp straight-six from the BMW Z4 M40i. Itís an incredibly smooth engine Ė possibly too smooth for its own good Ė and it provides ample pulling power.

But it was designed to be used with an automatic gearbox, so Toyota had to build its own manual from a kit of parts. Despite the bodge-job background, the result is absolutely brilliant. But then what do you expect from a company that kept fiddling with the weight of the gear knob until it was perfectly happy with the feel of the lever?

Admittedly, the manual Supra isnít quite as quick as the automatic, simply because no amount of fiddling with the knob will allow a manual to change gear as rapidly as an automatic. So where the auto Supra gets from 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, the manual takes another three-tenths. Itís hardly the end of the world, though, and it does add some much-needed engagement.

Thatís because the silky six-cylinder engine doesnít really give you the aural feedback a sports car really should. The engine note is almost muted, which is a bit disappointing when youíre hooning the car down a country lane, but quite pleasant when youíre just trying to get home on a wet Thursday afternoon.

Ride & Handling

And thatís a bit of a metaphor for the Supra in general. The Toyota has always been a little bit soft around the edges, with the engineers prioritising stable handling and a fluid ride, rather than the slightly firmer attitude of some other sports cars.

The manual Supra is supposed to be a little more hardcore, with tweaked suspension and reduced soundproofing, but it canít hide the Toyotaís inherent maturity. Donít get us wrong Ė the car drives beautifully, with fabulous balance and direct, linear steering Ė but itís still quite supple, which makes it pleasant to drive on longer journeys.

Of course, thatís more of a statement than a complaint, because who doesnít like a car that can do a bit of both? But the Supra definitely doesnít feel as focussed as some of its rivals, and that might not sit well with the sort of enthusiasts who like a manual gearbox. If, on the other hand, youíre going to spend most of your time in traffic, the automatic might be a better bet.

Nevertheless, the Supra remains a stunning car on a good road, and the manual gearbox is oh-so sweet when the carís on song. And the electronic systems feel as though theyíre looking after you without intruding. The rev-matching technology ensures you donít unsettle the car with dodgy downshifts and the traction control allows a little bit of drift before it cuts in to keep you safe.


The Supra range starts at just over £50,000, but that only pays for the basic 2.0-litre version. If you want the 3.0-litre, you'll have to spend £54,485 for the manual, which is £4,000 cheaper than the automatic. That said, the auto version comes solely in range-topping Pro form, which means you get more kit, including a head-up display and a JBL sound system. But the standard 3.0-litre Supra Manual comes with enough toys as standard, with navigation, wireless phone charging and two-zone climate control all included in the price.


Whether you choose the manual or the automatic versions of the Supra, the Toyota remains a great sports car. Admittedly, it doesn't have the class of a Cayman or the beauty of a Jaguar F-Type, but it's competitively priced, comfortable and great to drive. And though the manual's a bit heavy in traffic, it adds a great extra dose of engagement on a good road, which will give the car added appeal for enthusiasts. The problem is, the Supra still feels like more of a GT car than an out-and-out sports coupe, so perhaps it's better suited to the automatic transmission.

James Fossdyke - 5 May 2023    - Toyota road tests
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2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Manual. Image by Lee Brimble.


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