Toyota Supra finally gets a 6-speed manual to compete with the new Nissan Z

How’s that for the timing? Just as Nissan is launching its all-new 400hp Z Coupe with a 6-speed manual, Toyota suddenly finds a 6-speed manual for its 3-year-old GR Supra, a car that was originally sold as a 6-speed automatic. 8 gears without manual option. The $64,000 question is, “If Toyota had a 6-speed manual, why didn’t they introduce it with the automatic transmission in 2019?”

According to a Toyota spokesperson, the answer is that BMW (which collaborated with Toyota to produce the GR Supra and Z4 using a BMW transmission) did not have a viable 6-speed manual gearbox at the time, forcing Toyota to design and build one from scratch.

That’s not to say the current 8-speed automatic isn’t good. It is fast and accesses the BMW 6-cylinder effortlessly.

But what Japan’s No. 1 automaker has used now is a gearbox that adds even more thrill to the driving experience while efficiently accessing the low-end torque of the six-cylinder engine by BMW line. Developing 387 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque mated to this new 6-speed, the turbocharged GR Supra 3.0-liter straight-six is ​​now a more equal rival to the new Nissan Z 6-speed manual, with its V6 3-liter turbocharged engine generating 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.

So what does this mean for acceleration times? The current GR Supra, equipped with the automatic transmission, is a fast car. When you put it against the Z in a drag race, as popular Youtube channel Hagerty recently did, the Z’s 260lb extra weight and the Supra’s quick-shifting 8-speed automatic (plus the grippier Michelin rubber on the Supra compared to the Z’s Bridgestones) combine to help the Supra sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 12.1 seconds for the quarter mile, while the 6-speed manual Z took 4.3 seconds and 12.8 seconds respectively.

The manual-equipped Z also loses its manual shifts to the lightning-fast Supra’s sequential gearbox. So what the addition of the 6-speed manual will do for the GR Supra range is add a whole lot of fun for drivers while bringing the car’s acceleration times in line with those of the Z 6-speed manual control.

When you compare prices at least to rival 6-speed manuals in Japan (because the US hasn’t been announced yet), you get the Z’s $47,500, which significantly undercuts the Supra manual’s $53,600, making the more powerful Z a seemingly better alternative. When it comes to aesthetics, and after all design appreciation is a subjective thing, the online census seems to give Nissan’s Z the green light over the Supra. I also lean for the Z for the look.

However, if you’re the kind of driver who likes to get exhausted behind the wheel of your sports car, you better go for the Supra. Why ? Because the Z’s computer won’t allow the Nissan to burn out. The will of the Supra.

About Irene J. O'Donnell

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