Is that a Supraaaaaa? Why yes, yes it is, and it’s manual too! When the Gen 1 Toyota Supra (A40/A50) saw the light of day 44 years ago in 1978, it was a compact car with amazing lines that could compete with many of the established Western brands. It had looks, handling and a great price point. This car was produced until the the A60 was launched in the middle of 1981. The new generation being bigger, better and faster, it was also a model that saw more awareness and interest in the Supra range increase substantially. The A70 came about in 1986, and it was with this incarnation that the Supra was a proper standalone model having shed any ties to the Celica model that it shared components and a platform with. It’s also the car that saw the introduction of the 1JZ engine, and we all know where that development ended up - mad horsepower. Well now, not back then. The production lasted until 1993 when the Supra everyone (well almost everyone) loves today, the A80, also known as the Mk4 Toyota Supra. The sought after 2JZ also came along, and that was mated to a Getrag 6-speed transmission. When we all thought the Supra nomenclature was dead and buried, in 2019 the fifth generation Supra arrived, and everyone lost their minds. Then we found out it was powered by BMW and then everyone lost their minds again. To say that purists were upset is an understatement.
Then the tuning capabilities were discovered and those naysayers, and the ones who bought a Mk5 GR Supra and immediately transplanted a 2JZ were made to feel a lil silly. It took tuners around the world many years to get to the famed 1 000 hp mark with the 2JZ setup, and it was initially only those with big budgets who could do it. A few years down the line and the recipe is easy to find and 1 000 hp is normal for a big build, although costly still. The Mk5 was released all of three years ago and the “horrible” BMW motor can be found churning out massive numbers, easily eclipsing the 2JZ capabilities. The only downside to the GR Supra that you’d hear about among the purists and the ones who live to modify cars was that automatic transmission. As far as autos go, it’s one of the best and st SXdrv we’ve seen it hold big power, and it stays together for 9-seconds quarter mile runs in street-legal cars, but manual is manual. Drivers will likely not be able to swap cogs as fast in a manual, but it’s still a sought after setup.
The newly developed 6-speed manual transmission should result in a bump in sales amongst the purists and those outside of the States where manual transmissions are the more commonplace - yeah, that’s a lil dig at the auto-loving nation. Inside the GR Supra cabin, we find the new spherical shift knob that the press release says “...easy to grip and operate from any direction…” We suggest only using it from the driver’s side. It is, as you’d expect, topped off by the GR logo. There’s an iMT system too, it’s for optimal computer-control of the engine speed that’s matched to the clutch and shifting and also for the coolest automatic throttle blipping when shifting up or down, as needed. Other updates with the GR Supra includes newly designed 19-inch forged aluminium wheels that now share a design flair with the wheels seen on the GR Yaris as well as the GR86 and they can be had in a new shade of paint called Premium Titanium Dark Silver. There’s a 1.2 kg weight saving per wheel - we like this. Adoption of three new exterior colours and a tan interior. For the exterior paint of the updated GR Supra, there’s now Volcanic Ash Grey Metallic and Dawn Blue Metallic which are available for all trim levels, while the new matte Avalanche White Metallic will be limited in quantities and only in RZ trim. Interior changes see the option of a new tan interior for the RZ trim, and the sound system has gotten better with a option of a JBL Premium Sound System
We're told that the updates to the GR Supra will also be available in the models released in South Africa, but the manual transmission looks set to be an option with the inline-6 motor setup. Not that the 4-pot is available here anyway, and if it was, it wouldn't sell anywhere near as well as the 6-pot has been selling. The only reason to buy the 4-cylinder version is if you're planning an engine swap anyway, if our humble SXdrv opinion.