Introducing Toyota GR Supra with Bespoke Manual Transmission for Driving Purists
The GR Supra was Toyota’s first global GAZOO Racing (GR) model and from the moment of its launch in 2019 has been the perfect embodiment of the spirit of GR and the dream of Toyota President Akio Toyoda to deliver a car that is purely about the joy of driving.
Subsequently, the introduction of the GR Yaris and the imminent arrival of the GR86 coupe have reinforced the special qualities that define the GR brand – cars that are born out of a passion for motoring and which draw directly on the world championship-winning expertise and experience of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
Since launch, the GR Supra has been offered with a straight-six 340 DIN hp/250 kW 3.0-litre engine matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. A year later, a new 258 DIN hp/190 kW 2.0-litre engine was added to the range, again with auto transmission as standard.
While the car and its performance have received high praise worldwide from media and fans alike, perhaps inevitably the question of whether a manual gearbox would be available persisted.
Toyota has listened to sports car fans and customers, and can confirm that a new GR Supra with six-speed intelligent manual transmission (iMT) will be introduced in Europe soon, engineered to delight drivers who love the control and rewards offered by precisely timed manual shifts. Its addition to the line-up means Toyota will offer all three of its GR models available in Europe with manual transmission and three pedals either as standard (GR Yaris) or as an option (GR Supra, GR86).
True to the GR Supra’s thoroughbred engineering quality, this development has not been simply a matter of using an off-the-shelf solution. A new transmission, along with a new clutch has been engineered specifically to suit the power and torque characteristics of the GR Supra 3.0-litre engine.
At the same time, the GR Supra’s braking control systems and suspension have been retuned for even better performance – changes that are being introduced throughout the model range.
The new-look range also features a special new 3.0-litre Lightweight model. In addition to the lighter weight of the manual transmission, this benefits from further specification changes to cut the car’s kerb weight by almost 40 kg, adding to the car’s handling agility.
NEW SIX-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
The manual transmission installed in the GR Supra has been engineered and tuned specifically for use with the coupe’s straight-six engine.
The engineering team were 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.
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, this new component has the high performance capability appropriate for use with the GR Supra’s high-torque engine.
The iMT transmission uses an intelligent control system programmed with new software that prioritise sporty performance. When upshifting, the parameters are tuned to optimise engine torque at the moment of clutch engagement and release; on downshifts, the software has been fine-tuned for consistent performance.
The iMT is set as the default, but can be switched off in Sport mode if the driver prefers.
Final drive ratio
To avoid a sluggish take-off and a low in-gear acceleration feel, the final drive ratio has been shortened, from 3.15 (in the GR Supra automatic) to 3.46. The result is sport response and gearing appropriate for sports car performance.
SUSPENSION AND STEERING TUNING
All GR Supra versions benefit from retuned suspension, introduced to optimise performance with the new manual transmission.
The measures include more rigid vulcanised rubber in the front and rear anti-roll bar bushes and re-tuned shock absorbers. The mechanical components in the electric power steering and the system’s operating parameters have also been re-tuned.
REVISED CENTRE CONSOLE AND GEAR SHIFT
The changes to accommodate the new manual transmission in the GR Supra were not confined to the powertrain. Close attention was also paid how the new system could be accommodated in the driver’s cockpit.
This was not simply a matter of changing one shift lever for another; consideration had to be given to ensuring the gear knob was optimally placed for precise, rapid and rewarding gear changes.
The existing centre console design allowed insufficient clearance between the shift lever and the air conditioning control panel. To achieve the perfect ergonomics, the console unit and the control for drive mode selection have been redesigned. In addition the lever ratio has been changed and the effort required to make shifts and engage reverse gear has been adjusted.
The revised layout provides a comfortable 42 mm clearance between the shift knob and air conditioning panel.
The feel of the gear shift in the hand and the weight of operation are part of the human sensory connection with the car, so attention has been paid to the weight and shape of the gear knob and the quality of shift engagement. As a result, Toyota adjusted the effort level to engage reverse and opted for a heavier gear knob (200 g) for a more pleasing inertia effect when used.
The GR Supra’s traction and braking have been optimised for operation with manual transmission.
With an automatic, it’s possible to use second gear when pulling away uphill when opposite wheels are on surfaces with different grip levels – for example, when the car is parked partly on an icy road margin. Progress is smooth with no rolling back or wheel slip. With a manual gearbox, first gear has to be used and releasing the clutch brings a greater risk of wheel spin. To address the issue, Toyota engineers have tuned the car’s traction control (TRC) to achieve smooth operation like that experienced with the automatic. The system is also optimised for the GR Supra’s characteristic high engine torque, wide tyres and rear-wheel drive.
BRAKING AGILITY AND STABILITY
The car’s behaviour when accelerating out of a corner is a key element in the “Fun to Drive” quality Toyota has developed for the GR Supra. For the new manual version, the traction control has again been the focus of measure to ensure an ideal balance of agility and stability when exiting a corner on the throttle. TRC intervention has been calibrated to maintain stability – the car keeping faithfully to the driver’s intended line – while allowing the right amount of power for a sporty feeling.
NEW HAIRPIN+ FUNCTION
The ambition to make the GR Supra fun to drive in the most demanding scenarios has helped inspire the introduction of a new Hairpin+ function. This is designed to allow more freedom and reward specifically when taking tight bends on an uphill gradient (more than 5%) with a high-friction road surface, like those found on European mountain routes.
More “free” wheel spin can make such routes more enjoyable to drive, so Toyota has optimised engine torque control to allow a greater difference in the degree of wheel spin on the left and right-side tyres.
A highly agile vehicle with high peak friction tyres may be sensitive to sudden “snap-off” oversteer – something that is hard to control with the car’s vehicle stability control (VSC) alone. To counter this behaviour, an anti-roll programme (ARP) has been adopted for both the manual and automatic versions of the GR Supra. This intervenes at an earlier point with the VSC to cover any sudden loss of grip when the car’s high-response suspension setting it used.
In addition, the Track mode has been tuned to allow for easy drifting with freedom of throttle control. The vehicle remains agile, but the there is less risk of spinning thanks to specific engine and torque control.
NEW GR SUPRA LIVE LIGHTWEIGHT
Toyota has taken the opportunity of the weight saving achieved with the new manual transmission to add a new Lightweight model to the GR Supra line-up.
The 3.0-litre GR Supra Lightweight benefits from further weight-saving measures to achieve a total reduction of 38.3 kg, compared to the kerb weight of the current 3.0-litre automatic model.
Fitting the new manual gearbox and new 19-inch alloy wheels saves 21.8 kg; the Lightweight cuts a further 16.5 kg by replacing the audio system and deleting the seats’ leather upholstery, power adjustment and lumbar support. This reduction enhances the car’s handling agility.
REVISED MODEL RANGE
The new GR Supra range retains the 2.0-litre Live automatic as the entry model, available with Premium, Connect and Sport option packs, and the 3.0-litre Active automatic, with a Premium pack option.
The 3.0-litre Live Lightweight manual is expected to be the most popular GR Supra version, with the 3.0-litre Premium manual positioned at the top of the line-up.
NEW EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR COLOURS
The new GR Supra range also benefits from new paintwork options with the addition of Moareki Grey and Dawn Blue. A Matte Moonstone White has also been introduced, exclusively for the new range-topping 3.0-litre Premium manual model.
In the cabin the previous red leather has been replaced with a new tan upholstery option.
Customers can add to the sporting character of their manual transmission car with a new Alcantara Pack which uses the tactile material for gear knob and gaiter.