When Toyota announced that the GR Supra would indeed get a manual transmission for the 2023 model year was a moment of pure bliss for many sports car enthusiasts. Much like the C8 Corvette, many fans of the model were upset by its automatic-only offering. However, the Toyota GT86 and the newer GR86 have been around with manual offerings for a decade. With all of the critical acclaim surrounding the GR86, is the Supra worth the extra money?
Does the manual Supra really warrant a $20,000 premium over the GR86?
There isn’t any official pricing on the 2023 Supra equipped with a manual transmission just yet. However, given that it’s only available on the 3.0 models, it’s safe to assume the price will be close to the 2022 model year. In that case, the starting price of the 2022 GR Supra 3.0 is $51,890.
That’s a pretty substantial jump from the GR86’s starting price of $27,700. However, given that they’re both iconic Toyota sports cars with a six-speed transmission, it seems pretty reasonable to compare them. Evidently, Top Gear thought so as well. In a recent video posted to the Top Gear youtube channel, host Ollie Kew rips both models around the track for a head-to-head comparison.
Kew explains that he had not been impressed with the most modern iteration of the Supra up to this point.
“It’s supposed to be a sports car, but the Supra felt heavy, lazy, and just a bit soft and unengaging. Forgettable, really, and that’s a crime,” says Kew.
However, he goes on to explain that the suspension tweaks and the addition of a six-speed manual transmission have improved the Supra driving experience. Overall, it seems that the manual transmission gives the Supra a more proper sports car feeling.
In comparison, Kew takes a quick tour of the interior of the GR86. He’s quick to point out that the materials used on the interior are still cheap and uninspiring. However, he does credit Toyota for the improvement on the digital cluster display in comparison to previous GT86 models. It still has some tech tricks up its sleeve.
That being said, Kew really drives home the point that the GR86 isn’t meant to be luxurious. It’s meant to be an affordable back-to-basics sports car for driving enthusiasts.
Which should you choose? The GR86 or a manual GR Supra?
Ultimately, the decision comes down to what exactly someone is shopping for.
Obviously, the Supra’s cooperative development with BMW has a few implications. One, it’s got a lot more power. Two, it has a much nicer interior. However, it’s also quite heavy, even by modern sports car standards. Then again, even the iconic A80 Supra of the 1990s is pretty hefty compared to other cars of its time.
The GR86 is, on the other hand, a lightweight car with the sole intention of having great driving and handling characteristics. It’s not supposed to have any hints of luxury or prestige. It’s a sports car, and it wants you to drive it like one.
Overall, the Supra is proving to be, effectively, what the iconic ‘90s Supra was. It’s more of a grand tourer than a sports car. It’s got great performance and solid handling, but it’s still meant to be a comfortable daily driver. If that’s what you’re after, it’s a great choice.
However, if you’re after a hardcore driver-focused old-school sports car experience, you’ll have to go with the GR86.