Toyota Announces A Manual Transmission For The GR Supra, Finally Giving The Internet What It Wants

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The GR Supra gains an extra pedal, it’s No Time To Die for the Chevrolet Trax, and Toyota issues a recall. All this on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If you’re morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Close Like Starsky And Hutch, Stick To Clutch

A teaser shot showing the rear of the upcoming manual GR Supra and its special red Supra emblem
Photo credit: Toyota

It’s about damn time. Three model years into the GR Supra’s production cycle, Toyota’s finally pulling it together and chucking in a manual gearbox. Look, the ZF 8HP eight-speed automatic gearbox that the GR Supra launched with is arguably the best conventional automatic gearbox on the planet right now. It’s fast, smooth, strong and reliable. However, when you want to go up against the Porsche Cayman in the engaging mid-priced sports car market, you need a three-pedal option. Well, if the fanboys didn’t light a fire under Toyota’s ass, the new Nissan Z might well have. Nissan updated the 370Z’s chassis, threw in a twin-turbo 400-horsepower V6 driving the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and a mechanical limited-slip differential, and made the internet lose their collective shit. No joke, at least two of my friends have orders down and one is coming out of an E39 M5. Hello promises of driving Nirvana.

Toyota took to Twitter today to tease the forthcoming manual GR Supra with a simple shot of three pedals trimmed in rubber and brushed metal. As expected, the visible arms of the pedalbox look very much like those on the current M3 – we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually the same assembly. More importantly, Toyota’s issued a picture of the back of the manual Supra showing a special red Supra badge exclusive to manual cars. A special badge for GR Supra owners who prioritize engagement over speed is pretty sweet, but I’m sure we’ll see aftermarket copies on automatic models.

As for gearboxes, the ZF S6 six-speed manual gearbox has applications that bolt right up to the B58 inline-six’s bellhousing, although torque ratings do vary. The best bolt-up gearbox would be the ZF S6-53BZ with its 600 Nm (442 lb.-ft.) torque capacity rating. This variant of the ZF S6 gearbox blends well with Toyota’s reliability-focused philosophy and has never been used behind a B58 engine. Instead, the ZF S6-53BZ found its way behind BMW’s N54 inline-six, S58 M inline-six, N62 V8, N63 twin-turbo V8, S65 M V8, S85 M V10 and S63 twin-turbo M V8. That’s right, we first saw the S6-53BZ almost twenty years ago in the 2004 model year BMW 545i and 645Ci. Perhaps more importantly, the S6-53BZ is the only variant of the S6 gearbox rated to handle the six-cylinder Supra’s torque. Of course, there’s also a slim chance that the manual GR Supra won’t end up with a ZF S6-53BZ at all – Toyota UK claims the three-pedal sports car will feature “an all-new, tailor-made manual transmission.” Just keep in mind that all-new for Toyota doesn’t necessarily mean all-new for BMW.

While we’re all eager to learn more about the three-pedal GR Supra’s oily bits, it looks like we might have to wait just a little bit longer. Toyota says that more information on the manual GR Supra will be shared over the coming weeks. Honestly, it’ll be interesting to see how a manual GR Supra does on the market. The new Z is almost in the hands of customers and likely to be cheaper while the next-generation BMW M2 is set to debut this year.

A Trax Remix

A front three-quarter shot of a silver 2021 Chevrolet Trax
Photo credit: Chevrolet

“Yes, it’s me, the Chevrolet Trax. Look, I know I’ve been a bit of a shitbox but I promise I can change. Honestly, I really can. I’ve been on a big soul-searching mission this year and I feel like it’s time that I reinvented myself. It might take a few more months, but the world will see the new me soon. I’ve been content with coasting by on my post-bankruptcy interior plastics, offering reasonable transportation to honest, hardworking people, but I feel like I can do so much more in life. You might like the new me, just give me a chance.” Suddenly, the receiver clicks. Another stranger in the fog, pleading across operator boards and down transmission lines, vanishing as soon as they appeared.

Okay, that’s not quite how it happened, but a GM spokesperson told Autoblog today that not only are rumors of the Chevrolet Trax’s death greatly exaggerated, a new Trax will actually be coming along this year. Figure a debut sometime in the fourth quarter of 2022 with production said to start in 2023. Honestly, it feels a bit strange knowing that the Trax will return. Doesn’t the Trailblazer serve the same purpose as a value-focused entry in the subcompact crossover segment? Apparently not, and as I’m never one to complain about more cheap cars on offer, I’m quite interested in seeing what GM cooks up for the next Trax.

From Code Beige To Code Brown

A front three-quarter shot of a blue Lexus NX450h+ hybrid compact luxury crossover
Photo credit: Lexus

Intentional oversteer in a safe environment can be cool and fun, but unintentional oversteer on the street can generate a serious code brown. According to Marketwatch, Toyota and Lexus are recalling 460,000 vehicles produced between 2020 and 2022 for doing hectic skids when owners might not expect. Normally, a vehicle’s stability control program should be active by default whenever the vehicle’s switched on. However, software bugs aren’t normal and certain Toyota models may occasionally disable their stability control upon switching the ignition on. While greasy, steezy oversteer in a hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai sedan sounds pretty freaking awesome, surprise terminal understeer in a Lexus NX350h compact luxury crossover sounds decidedly less awesome. The recall also encompasses the Toyota Venza, RAV4 Hybrid, RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, Sienna Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, Lexus LS500h, NX450h+ plug-in hybrid and LX600. That last one’s a bit weird as the new ginormous Lexus SUV is the only non-electrified model on the list. Curiously enough, this recall isn’t deemed a safety issue, but rather a matter of non-compliance. Customers are expected to be notified by mid-June to take their vehicles in to the dealer for a software update.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Toyota’s issued a recall for stability control faults. In 2010, Consumer Reports testing found that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV had a hilariously high stability control intervention threshold. During an emergency maneuver, the GX 460 could yaw up to 90 degrees before stability control kicked in. A stop-sale was issued and all 9,400 units were recalled. Check out Consumer Reports’ video below for hilarious low-res body-on-frame oversteer.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Will a manual gearbox actually help GR Supra sales? While it’s definitely a welcome addition for row-your-own enthusiasts, it’s entering the marketplace in a time of renewed competition. As much as I like the GR Supra, I liked the chassis of the old Nissan 370Z better. It felt a little more neutral, a little more predictable in spirited cornering, a little more usable. Assuming Nissan keeps that feel while adding heaps more horsepower, the new Z should be a winner. Moreover, the new M240i has unbelievably incredible body control and neutrality, so I have huge hopes for the next M2. If you had somewhere in the ballpark of $50-70k to spend on a new performance car, what would you drive home?

Lead photo credit: Toyota

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23 Responses

  1. And like always, the manual will be infinitely more rare, more desirable, hold value far more, and offer superior EXPERIENCE. Nobody needs a supra to drive around, it’s an emotional decision, so fitting it with an automatic was just idiotic. Nobody cares about .05 second faster shifts, or even track times. EXPERIENCE TRUMPS METRICS unless it’s an actual race car.

    For ‘enthusiast cars’, I cannot think of one single example where the automatic is worth more than the manual transmissioned version.

  2. I think enough people have made up their mind about the Supra already that adding a manual won’t make much difference.

    The “manual 4 liiiiiiiiife” types usually tend to be the same crowd as the “I’ll wait and buy it used” guys too, so I just don’t see this moving the needle too much. It would be cool if I was wrong though.

    1. Toyota sold 6,830 models in 2021 which 2022 *might* be able to eclipse with the availability of a manual. 2022 was likely going to be on par (or close) to 2021 sales, so this may be a shot in the arm it needs.

      Yet, what’s the take rate going to be? Moreover, when get people actually start to take delivery of them?

      If Toyota could move 1500 manual Supras in the US this year, I’d be impressed. If they move fewer than 1000, there’s cause for concern. If they move fewer than 600, the regulatory costs to have gotten it out the door will still be noticeable — which hopefully doesn’t result in an internal “told you so” at Toyota.

      —–

      I live in the Boston area and I have seen vanishingly few Supras. I think three total so far, two of which were four-cylinders.

  3. The Supra’s manual is likely too late. Anyone that begrudgingly bought one because they accepted it was automatic only will feel burned, while anyone that eschewed it for the same reason either already has a manual or will feel better going for one of the options that has one out of the box.

    Niche vehicles don’t have the liberty of waiting years to correct obvious mistakes.

  4. I love the way the Supra looks. Admittedly, it is a design that not everyone loves, but it really works for me. I have a nice Mercedes for long interstates, but I’m thinking about giving my city car, a Miata, to my daughter, and getting a zippy small thing for in town. Up until now, that looked like it was going to be the Nissan Z. But this changes that calculus somewhat. I’ll need to drive both to see which fits me better. They both are very compelling designs.

  5. I’m guessing that the Supra’s reputation among the kind of people who give a shit about that sort of thing (who are also many of the same people who buy sports cars) is already pretty shot. Giving it a manual option will help, but probably not nearly enough.

  6. “If you had somewhere in the ballpark of $50-70k to spend on a new performance car, what would you drive home?“

    Of the choices given, M2>Supra>400Z, assuming they refresh the Supra handling with the manual. But realistically I’d rock a Cayman T.

  7. Probably the M240. Plenty of performance, my left knee isn’t getting any younger, and the rear seat is bearable for adults for around town.

    So the Trailblazer is too high end and Chevy needs a cheap subcompact crossover. Likely they also had unused capacity in Korea. Makes sense to give the people what you’ve convinced them they need.

  8. Among the options you listed? The new Z. Because I like Japanese cars and how they’re built, I’ve had bad experiences with BMW (an M3 and a Z3), and I think the new Zupra is a phony and ugly to boot.
    Not among those options? Maybe the S650 Mustang GT; we’ll see what it ends up looking like.

  9. I am assuming they’ll just use the manual transmission out of the new M3/M4.

    My pick in the 50-70k range is either the CT4 Blackwing or the [not quiiiite in the range] aforementioned M3. Because they’re awesome and #savethemanuals.

  10. Man, that Supra would be a lot more desirable if it lost 800 lbs. It has a good engine, and the potential transmission going into it is well made. But not everyone is a 400 lb lardass that is too lazy to walk and rides the electric scooters whenever they go to the grocery store, yet seemingly every single car in existence made within the last 20 years is built to not only fit this demographic, but lather them in luxury features that do nothing but detract from the car’s performance by adding unwanted mass and hike the sale price further up.

    At 3,300-3,400 lbs, the new plastic-fantastic 400Z and new Supra are approaching the weight of a massive rolling bank vault of a Mercedes Benz 300SDL I used to drive, and weigh nearly twice as much as my steel-bodied Triumph that is currently lugging around hundreds of pounds of batteries after being converted to electric.

    Even with a manual, hard pass. And this is knowing that a manual will improve it significantly. It’s still just too damned BIG of a car.

  11. A manual Supra would have been great a year or so ago while I was still car shopping! I’ve since pulled the trigger on a 6 speed M2 Competition and there’s no going back after that.

    Overall it’s better late than never as new shoppers have more to choose from.

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