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Would a Manual Transmission Make Buyers Want the Toyota Supra?

The Toyota Supra is the epitome of the stylish Japanese muscle car, and Toyota has recently spent a lot of time and effort trying to restore the brand’s popularity to the glory days of the ’90s. The 2020 Toyota Supra GR had some promise, but there is also a long list of issues to resolve before the vehicle can reliably be a daily driver. Toyota is running through a long list of ideas to revive the Supra, and its latest might be one of the most promising.

Toyota’s idea for the next Supra

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Car and Driver recently reported on rumors that Toyota planned to add a manual version of the Supra to an upcoming year’s lineup. If this is true, it’s a great idea. The Supra is still intertwined with its previous fast, stylish image. Testing the previous year’s model showed that the vehicle appears to be limited at around 150-160 MPH, but the engine could potentially go even higher. Toyota wasn’t shy about putting a powerful engine in the 2020 Supra, and it went a long way toward attracting drivers who love power.

Along with power, Supra drivers also love control. And Toyota adding a manual transmission to the next round of Supra vehicles would cater to the folks who love to stay in control of the car whether they’re driving to work or trying to break 0-60 records. Historically, manual versions of cars had plenty of advantages versus the automatic models – fuel economy, control, maintenance costs, etc. But over the course of the 2010s, automatic cars started to catch back up. Now the two variants are roughly equal, and it’s truly up to the consumer to decide which version suits them.

What a manual could do for the Supra

That’s what Toyota is banking on. The segment of the population likely to be interested in the Supra is also probably willing to splurge on a car that has a manual transmission. In the 2021 version, Toyota bulked up the engine with the following (courtesy of Car and Driver): “turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection”. It appeared that the upgraded engine stirred interest in the 2021 Toyota Supra, though we’ll need to wait for sales numbers to see how significantly.

But regardless of sales numbers, Toyota has already proven they’re willing to take risks to give the new Supra a shot at success. The 2020 model was popular, but Toyota has already made so many updates that it almost seems like 2020 buyers missed out.

Buyers of the 2021 model can enjoy better handling, a smoother ride, and most importantly: more power. But will the 2021 buyers be in the same shoes come next year? Toyota has demonstrated that they’re willing to improve the Supra year after year. A manual transmission may be the biggest upgrade in 2022, but who knows what could come next?

Other Supra upgrades and the future

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Since the 2020 version of the Toyota Supra was unveiled, it’s clear that upgrades are coming quickly, but Toyota isn’t cutting corners. Surprisingly, the 2020 Toyota Supra scores high points in safety to go along with its high speed and power. Toyota took the Supra’s time off seriously and they’ve come back with an absolutely killer vehicle. But they’re not taking a break anymore. 

Every year of the Supra that’s rolled off the production line so far has shown huge improvements. Toyota is going a long way to make buyers feel like they’ve stepped back in time to an era where the Supra ruled the road. A manual transmission is a great next step.