It’s Here! The 2023 Toyota GR Supra MT… Manual Transmission

2023 Supra Gr Featured Image
2023 Supra GR Featured Image

Since the debut of the Toyota Supra, people have been waiting for a manual version.

Especially race girls like me, those who spend a lot of time on the track and drivers who simply like a more involved drive experience. It is hard to argue the efficiency (both in fuel mileage and performance) of modern manual transmissions, so it seemed like an oversight when Toyota released a car as iconic and focused on performance as the Toyota Supra without a manual transmission.

Well today is the day we get to celebrate! Finally, Toyota has introduced the 2023 Toyota GR Supra with a long-awaited manual transmission, staking the brand’s place in the mission to #savethemanuals.

With its classy styling, it reminds me of the previous generation Supra that many of us millennials grew up drooling over in video games, but also embraces a modern touch. With a drivetrain designed by BMW and suspension and track tuned by Gazoo Racing (or, GR), Toyota’s performance engineering partner, the Supra gives us the dignified driving experience we would expect out of a $50,000+ car, yet it retains that sports car excitement that the luxury cars sometimes lack.

So What Is the 2023 Toyota GR Supra, Exactly?

Maybe the better question is, if the automatic Supra demands a bit more excitement, does the addition of a manual transmission bring more life into this car? The answer is…well, mostly.

First of all, we are not just talking about any manual transmission. We are talking about a great manual transmission. Available on the 3.0L, 3.0L premium, and the special edition A91 models, this is not a transmission pulled out of another car and slapped into the Supra. This transmission was designed and tuned for the car, and in turn, the car was adapted to the transmission. The manual version of the Supra has good acceleration through the lower gears. The traction control is tuned specifically for the transmission as well to help the car behave properly under hard driving.

Related: 2021 Toyota Supra GR: 2.0 vs 3.0: Living the Kart Racing Life

2023 Toyota Supra Gr Manual. Photo: Annika Carter

2023 Toyota GR Supra MT 3.0 Premium. Photo: Annika Carter

The Engine and Transmission of the 2023 Toyota GR Supra MT are a Good Match

The GR Supra’s six-cylinder engine gives a good punch in the seat when you step on the gas. While the Supra is a good car, I found myself a bit underwhelmed; driving the Supra feels so much more like driving a 4-series BMW to me than driving a well-sorted Japanese sports car. Yeah, it’s impossible to bring the same vibe of the old Supra back into a modern car. Paired with the BMW partnership, the Supra doesn’t feel like it has its own spirit.

Related: This is Why Everyone Is Gaga for the BMW-Inflected 2020 Toyota Supra 

Toyota Supra Gr Cockpit. Photo: Annika Carter

Toyota GR Supra cockpit. Photo: Annika Carter

The 2023 GR Supra is a Tight Squeeze

With sport seats designed to hug you and a low roofline, there was just barely enough space between my head and the headliner for my helmet when we took the cars out on track.

The roofline also adds to blindspots; it cuts a straight line across the side windows and right into the driver’s field of view. Even with the seat set as low as possible (I am 5’11,” for reference) it was hard to see around the blind spots (there are blind spot sensors to help you out here, though).

Related: 9 Reasons Why Every Woman Will Love the 2021 Toyota Supra

Toyota Supra Gr Seats. Photo: Annika Carter

Toyota GR Supra seats. Photo: Annika Carter

The Toyota GR Supra MT is Looking Great, and Mostly Feeling Great.

So, like the automatic GR Supra, the manual version is also a great model to revive a glorious heritage. And it delivers: it drives well, shifts are precise, the throw from gear to gear is relatively short, and the auto-rev match feature, which revs the engine when downshifting, works wonderfully even on track. I found that the tuning of the manual version of the car felt different as well. Whereas the automatic Supra’s torque peaks at 2,000 RPM’s, giving some great low-end torque without much turbo lag, the manual version demanded almost 3,000 RPM’s before zipping to life. Even if I was already cruising, stomping the pedal to the floor below 3,000 RPM’s was met with hesitation; the power kicked on between 2,800 – 3,000 RPMs.

If you like to drive on a track, you know that lag equals lost time. So it was kind of surprising to experience that.

From a handling perspective, on the track the Supra MT is very well suited. Its rear wheel drive system and track-tuned suspension, however, felt stiff and less comfortable on the road, to the point where the rear of the car feels erratic when doing something as simple as merging onto a freeway on a bumpy, concrete on-ramp.

This is How You Know a Car was Born on the Track (Or Not)

Sitting in and cruising in the manual GR Supra, it is apparent that this is a car that was originally designed to be an automatic. The cupholders lie right behind the shifter, making the cupholders an inconvenience at best (a mistake many auto manufactures make, so I can’t complain too much!). When I comfortably rest my right arm on the center console to shift, my elbow sits inside the front-most cup holder, and I would definitely knock the drink in the rear cupholder on shifts into 2nd, 4th, and 6th.

The pedal box is also a tight fit for three pedals + your feet, as it was originally designed for only two pedals. Because of this, it can be easy to find yourself accidentally stomping on the gas and brake at the same time, or knocking the dead pedal when pushing in the clutch.

Related: The Toyota GR 86 Might Be the Best Little Manual Transmission Sports Car on the Road

Toyota Supra Gr Rear Exterior. Photo: Annika Carter

Toyota GR Supra rear exterior. Photo: Annika Carter

How Much does the 2023 Toyota GR Supra MT Cost?

This new Toyota GR Supra MT (manual transmission) 3.0 base model with a 6-cylinder 382 horsepower engine generating 367 torque, starts at $52,500. It has high speed cruise control (yes, in a manual!), blind spot monitoring with rear-traffic alert, and parking sensors. It also has an active rear sport differential, 19″ wheels, sport pedals, heated seats, and special paint colors. Along with the manual transmission, Toyota is releasing a new blue color, new wheels, and standard active differential.

The GR Supra MT 3.0 Premium edition starts at $55,650 and includes everything from the base package and adds leather-trimmed seats, head-up display, and wireless charging. Keep in mind that the Supra 3.0 is also available in an automatic transmission (with the same engine specs).

Then, Toyota has added , the GR Supra A91-MT as a special package; only 500 of these will be produced. It includes everything in the Premium package but has larger wheels, unique Hazelnut colored brown leather seats, special “Supra” badging and two unique colors: CU Later Gray and Burnout (matte white). That package starts at $58,345.

The car we drove on the track with Toyota was a GR Supra MT 3.0 Premium and rang up at $57,114.

Me At The Track With The Supra Manuals. Photo: Toyota

Me at the track with the GR Supra Manuals. Photo: Toyota

The 2023 Toyota GR Supra MT is Street Car. Or is it Track Car? Or Both?

Well, it’s both. On the track, the GR Supra feels good. The stiffness of the rear end surprisingly doesn’t feel as apparent on track, but the car still feels twitchy. Despite the twitchiness, it clings to turns with no issue, and feels well balanced due to its 50-50 weight distribution, ideal for a performance car. At the end of the day, though, it still feels like a street car that capable of track driving. As a race car driver, I may be extra picky, but I like for my track-focused cars to feel like sports cars that belong on track…I want them to be born on track, not just modified to perform on one.

Overall, the GR Supra is a good car. Quick, well-handling, comfortable and luxurious. The manual transmission certainly brings back some of the soul and pure joy of the 90’s era Supra. Even with the manual, though, the GR Supra straddles the worlds of track and street driving: it feels more like a street car that can take on the track, than a purpose-built performance car. It feels more dignified than sporty, but still delivers sports car excitement that luxury cars can lack. And now, with a manual transmission, as it should be. #savethemanuals

Disclosure: I was Toyota’s guest to drive the GR Supra; travel and accommodations were provided. All opinions are my own.

Annika Carter has over four years of performance driving experience, both with and without professional instruction. She has driven... More about Annika Carter