Does a manual make the Toyota GR Supra a better sports car?

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Nov 29, 2023 | Toyota, Supra, FIRM, New Car Review, GR Supra, Track Test, Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

Photography by Chris Tropea

Soon after Toyota offered a manual transmission for the latest Supra, a question arose: Which is faster, manual or auto?

After finally running a manual-equipped Supra at our official test track, we can confidently say that the answer to that question pretty much matches our original supposition: “Well, it depends.”


We’ll start by saying that the manual-equipped Supra posted the second-fastest time …

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Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
4/13/23 9:31 a.m.

Manual or automatic, it sounds like you can't really go wrong with the Supra.

KSB
KSB New Reader
4/13/23 9:52 a.m.

Good article, I was just looking at pricing and specs of a manual Supra. Just for the joy of driving I would pick the manual version. After spend a half day driving a Z51 C8, which I really enjoyed, it felt so go to slip back into my '04 Z06 and manually shift the gears. Of course the new car is better in the track, but just for the joy of driving around town and on the back roads the manual felt so much better. I was surprised by the difference as I literally step out of one car and back into the other.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/13/23 11:07 a.m.
Colin Wood said:

Manual or automatic, it sounds like you can't really go wrong with the Supra.

But I feel like with a manual version offered now.....the auto version feels a little more wrong.  cheeky

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS Reader
4/13/23 11:35 a.m.
KSB said:

Good article, I was just looking at pricing and specs of a manual Supra. Just for the joy of driving I would pick the manual version. After spend a half day driving a Z51 C8, which I really enjoyed, it felt so go to slip back into my '04 Z06 and manually shift the gears. Of course the new car is better in the track, but just for the joy of driving around town and on the back roads the manual felt so much better. I was surprised by the difference as I literally step out of one car and back into the other.

i wonder how readily available the cars will be this summer?  Last year the supra commanded over MSRP and/or required a healthy wait for an allotment.  Even used examples are still commanding close to MSRP.  Also if you're paying MSRP+ is it worth a few extra bucks to step up to the BMW M2?  

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
4/13/23 11:55 a.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

I hate to admit that I kind of feel the same way–though the auto is still really nice.

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/13/23 12:29 p.m.

I'm currently ignoring that my local dealer for some reason has a twin (blue 3.0 MT) to your press car on the lot.  

Not that I'm at all in the market for a near 60k 2 seater.  

 

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/13/23 2:24 p.m.

Comparing the data traces of the auto Supra vs. the manual Supra, the auto lost all the time on the brakes- consistently braking earlier than in the manual.  And the rate of deceleration seemed to be about the same.  And the acceleration seems to tip in favor of the auto.  Any reason why the driver was braking earlier in the auto?

Taking this on it's face, it suggests that compared head to head on the same day with the same driver and the same tires, the auto would be consistently faster.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/13/23 2:28 p.m.
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) said:

Comparing the data traces of the auto Supra vs. the manual Supra, the auto lost all the time on the brakes- consistently braking earlier than in the manual.  And the rate of deceleration seemed to be about the same.  And the acceleration seems to tip in favor of the auto.  Any reason why the driver was braking earlier in the auto?

Taking this on it's face, it suggests that compared head to head on the same day with the same driver and the same tires, the auto would be consistently faster.

I wonder if engine braking combined with the far-forward brake bias on modern cars with ABS means that the manual has better braking overall with the rear tires doing more work?

Edit: In manual mode the auto should still get some engine braking but I don't know how that compares to the H-pattern.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/13/23 3:44 p.m.

It seems like the drivetrain would be applying a similar amount of engine braking to the rear wheels off-throttle regardless of the transmission?

For reference, here is the data plot for discussion:

The blue is the MT, the red is the AT.  In all the brake zones the driver initiated braking earlier and brought the car down to a lower minimum cornering speed.  All the area between the curves (basically lap time difference) that disfavor the AT is in the brake zones.  The area between the curves in the acceleration zones all favor the AT.

It would be interesting to know if the drivers were working the ABS in the brake zones, or if they were just judging the threshold by feel.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/13/23 3:55 p.m.

It does look like overall braking power is generally similar. If there's any difference it may be that on the 6MT, it looks like there's more initial brake bite as the speed starts to fall off more sharply, possibly due to throttle mapping differences rather than anything with the brakes (manual = sharper transition to engine braking?). Another issue worth considering may be weight difference, could the 6MT have a lower weight allowing higher cornering speeds?

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