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2023 Toyota GR Supra First Drive: Error Corrected, and All Is Forgiven

2023 Toyota GR Supra
Photo: D.Rufiange
Toyota has added what was missing from the Supra: a manual transmission Automotive expert , Updated:
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Front
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Front
Photo: D.Rufiange

•    Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2023 Toyota GR Supra, equipped with the manual transmission.

•    The 2023 Toyota GR Supra with manual transmission starts at $71,874.

•    The new transmission is exclusively wedded to the 3.0L turbocharged 6-cylinder engine.

•    The chassis and suspension also get improvements for 2023.

Victoria, BC - You've heard of the notion: admitting a mistake is half the battle. You could apply that to Toyota in the case of the 2023 GR Supra, which is now – finally - available with a manual transmission. 

First, the mistake. It's important to understand that Toyota may not have had a free hand when designing this model, which was done in partnership with BMW, remember. Let's not forget that underneath this car's outer shell, there are German engines. Even the interior is that of the BMW Z4. In any event, there no manual gearbox in the offering.
That mistake has now been corrected. A little over three years after presenting the new Supra, Toyota is finally offering it with a manual transmission, the kind of transmission that many buyers of this type of car have been asking for. 

When the GR Corolla was unveiled in December, we had occasion as well to get behind the wheel of the 2023 GR Supra with a manual transmission. We took it out on the road and tested it on the track to see what the gearbox adds to the driving experience. 

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Gearbox
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Gearbox
Photo: D.Rufiange

A Toyota transmission
When the addition of the manual gearbox was announced last summer, we initially thought it was a simple solution, with Toyota essentially giving a BMW a call to request a part from its toolbox. After all, the mechanics of the Supra are German. But that turned out not to be the case. The transmission the Supra now has was developed in-house by Toyota. Engineers designed a new intelligent manual transmission (iMT) specifically for models equipped with the 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine, the 3.0L Premium and A91-MT Edition variants. (In the latter case, we're talking about a limited edition of 50 units for 2023.)

Toyota says the 6-speed transmission “features a large-diameter clutch with a reinforced diaphragm spring and makes optimal use of engine power and torque to ensure precisely synchronized gear changes.” 

A fancy way to say that the gearbox seeks to make the most of the engine's 382 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque. 

To find out more about 2023 Toyota GR Supra 

2023 Toyota GR Supra - headlights
2023 Toyota GR Supra - headlights
Photo: D.Rufiange

That's all well and good on paper, but how does it perform on the road? To put it simply, it makes driving a car that was already quite fun to drive even more so. 

The basic principle of the manual transmission is that you control power delivery. You can therefore use each gear differently, depending on the situation and the desire. 

In the past, mechanical transmissions offered better performance and fuel efficiency. Today, automatic transmissions are more efficient in every way. However, it can never replace the pleasure of sprinting from 0 to 120 km/h, or of constantly waltzing between 50 and 100 km/h on a country road where you have to shift, downshift, shift, etc. 

And the sound when you make the mechanics sing and allow the rev counter to tickle the rev limiter, which is never not thrilling. 

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Headlights
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Headlights
Photo: D.Rufiange

On the track? 
It was fun to hear what colleagues had to say about the GR Supra manual transmission at the event, where it was also possible to drive the GR 86 and the new GR Corolla on the track. Many were actually disappointed with the car's handling. In my opinion, they are wrong. 

The worst thing you could do on the track on this day was to make comparisons between the models being tested. The other two GRs are small, responsive sports cars with 4-cylinder engines. They are light, agile and easy to handle. In the case of the GR Supra, we’re talking about a GT car, a road car. On the track, it could torch the others in a straight line, but in the corners, its weight didn't serve it as well. It was obvious that it was going to disappoint in this respect. 

However, don’t forget why a consumer buys a GR Supra. With a few exceptions, it's to do all sorts of things, except go out on the track. The GR Supra is a car you take out on weekends to ride with friends, to see the country, etc. To that end, a manual suits it very well.

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Three-quarters back
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Three-quarters back
Photo: D.Rufiange

More changes
All GR Supras benefit from improvements for 2023, which makes the addition of the mechanical transmission even more interesting.

Among these changes, all GR Supras now feature improved traction and braking control systems, a vehicle stability control system enhanced with an anti-roll program, and a new Hairpin+ feature. Hairpin+ allows the freewheel to spin more during tight turns on a high-friction surface with an upward slope to enhance driving pleasure. The track mode has also been improved to enhance drifting.

Finally, the suspension and shocks have been recalibrated for roll balance and comfort. Other changes have been made to make the car's behavior more incisive. 

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Logo
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Logo
Photo: D.Rufiange

The offer
There are three versions of the GR Supra: the model equipped with the 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (thus with automatic transmission), the variant with the 6-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, and this new version with a manual transmission.

The cost of the latter Supra is $71,874, the same as the automatic transmission. The Toyota website does note that availability is limited for this variant, so keep that in mind.

That’s a substantial pound of flesh Toyota is demanding, but considering what you get and given that this model will definitely become a collector's item, we're talking about a long-term investment. 

The final word
The Toyota GR Corolla manual transmission is not for everyone. However, those who dreamed of a third pedal will be happy to know that the work done by Toyota was fruitful. The GR Supra may not be the best roadster on the market, but it does have a little je ne sais quoi that is very appealing.

Much comes down to taste, for sure, but for those who are won over by the model, this new version is absolutely tempting. 

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Exterior design
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Exterior design
Photo: D.Rufiange

We like

The new, well-calibrated manual transmission
Interesting level of performance
A future collector's model

We like less

Limited visibility from inside
Limited availability
Cramped space/minimalist storage

The competition

Porsche 718 Cayman

A few of your questions about the 2023 Toyota GR Supra:

What is the price of the 2023 Toyota GR Supra?
The model is offered at a price of $71,874 on the Toyota Canada website

What is the current interest rate for this model?
Currently (end of January 2022) it ranges from 6.79 percent (purchase) to 7.99 percent (lease). 

Who developed the manual transmission? BMW or Toyota?
Toyota developed the manual transmission for the GR Supra.

Specifications sheet of 2023 Toyota GR Supra 2.0 coupe

Specifications sheet of 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 coupe

Specifications sheet of 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0T coupe

2023 Toyota GR Supra - Front design
2023 Toyota GR Supra - Front design
Photo: D.Rufiange

From this author

Daniel Rufiange
Articles By
Daniel Rufiange
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists