Launches & Reviews News South Africa

Toyota GR Supra goes manual

Before I tell you about the latest member to Toyota's Gazoo Racing road car family, I want to take you back to a few months ago when the media was first introduced to the Supra. Back then I asked if Toyota South Africa would consider bringing a manual GR Supra to our shores and was told "watch this space".
Toyota GR Supra in Sapphire Blue. Source: Supplied
Toyota GR Supra in Sapphire Blue. Source: Supplied

After waiting and watching it seems Toyota SA has listened to its loyal sports car enthusiasts, who now have precisely timed manual gear shifts at their disposal in the Supra. One blast around Zwartkops Raceway showed that this was the correct decision.

Power up

For the new model has been increased in the turbocharged, straight-six 3-litre engine from 250kW to 285kW, making top speeds of up to 200km/h on the Zwartkops straights a breeze. This also brings Supra in line with its performance oriented German cousin, BMW’s Z4 M40i.

Powerful braking into the corners and exceptional acceleration is enhanced with some turbo blip drama on downshifts thanks to Toyota’s iMT system – although you can turn off the auto blips in the settings.

The suspension has been re-tuned to optimise performance and helped Supra keep faithfully to my intended driving line, while allowing a good amount of leeway for throttle inputs.

Gazoo Racing

The GR family – 86, Yaris and Corolla – has reinforced the special qualities that defined the Toyota brand for car enthusiasts. These automobiles are born out of a passion for motoring and draws directly on the world championship-winning expertise.

Since its launch in 2019, the GR Supra has been offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While the car and its performance have received high praise worldwide from media and fans alike, there was a longing for a more connected experience.

What we get is a gearbox engineered and tuned specifically for use with the coupe’s straight-six engine. The engineering team was able to modify existing transmission housing, driveshaft and gear set and remove elements that were not required, such as the acoustic package, which further reduced weight.

Toyota GR Supra goes manual

At the heart of the transmission is a newly engineered clutch with a larger diameter and reinforced diaphragm spring. With a larger friction area and a stronger spring to cope with the demands of the 500Nm torque.

Body control

Moving from an automatic, where it’s possible to use second gear when pulling away uphill when opposite wheels are on surfaces with different grip levels, engineers had to tune the car’s traction control to achieve a similarly smooth operation.

The system is also optimised for the GR Supra’s wide tyres and rear-wheel drive.

Toyota GR Supra goes manual

These roadster characteristics make Supra prone to “snap-off” oversteer and Toyota responded with an updated anti-roll programme (ARP) that allows the vehicle stability control (VSC) to intervene earlier to cover any sudden loss of grip when the car’s high-response suspension setting is used.

Experienced racers can select track mode for more throttle freedom.

Buying options

New buyers also get some extra paintwork options with the addition of sapphire blue and iridescent metallic grey. Unfortunately, these new hues come at the expense of ice grey, prime silver and grand blue metallic, with matte storm grey also discontinued. White, red, and black remain on offer.

Toyota GR Supra goes manual

Toyota now offers GR Supra in two models (the four-cylinder variant never came to South Africa):

Manual: R1,417,500

Auto: R1,451,800

Included in the price is a 5 year/100,000km service plan is as well as a 3 year/100,000km warranty. Customers can also purchase extended service plans via their Toyota dealer.

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.
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