The new generation Toyota Supra is a car that has certainly caused a great deal of consternation in the enthusiast community.
People worldwide had waited for years for the new generation Supra to come along (following hot on the heels of the cult success of the Mark IV Supra -- which you can read our buyer’s guide for here).
Although reviewers have generally praised the performance and other key characteristics of the new Supra, it remains a controversial vehicle for a couple of key reasons.
One is that many parts are borrowed from BMW. In fact, many perceive the Toyota Supra to be a rebadged BMW more than anything else. We will cover this topic in another article and give our opinion on whether or not the new Supra is just a BMW.
However, perhaps the biggest reason for controversy about the new Supra is the fact that it is not offered with a manual transmission.
All previous Supra generations have been offered with a manual gearbox, and most enthusiasts agree that manual is the way to go with a performance vehicle such as the Supra. Instead, you get an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission (which by all accounts is very good, but not what the enthusiast community was hoping for).
So will the Toyota Supra come with a manual transmission?
To date, Toyota have been firm in stating that they have no plans to release a manual version of the Supra -- despite overwhelming demand (and a lot of Internet outrage).
In our opinion, the reason for this is primarily that the demographic of buyer who is going to purchase the new Supra (wealthier, older generation) is going to be more inclined to buy a vehicle with an automatic transmission. This is compounded by the advances in automatic transmission technology -- a modern auto or dual clutch box can generally shift faster and more accurately than a conventional manual, and there are other performance and economy advantages to be had with the higher number of gears.
Many enthusiasts who have called for Toyota to build a manual version are probably not in the financial position to buy a new one.
Ultimately, manufacturers will spec their vehicles to suit real world new buyers -- not the kinds of people who are probably going to buy the vehicle second (or third, or fourth) hand.
We wouldn’t be surprised -- however -- if Toyota does come along one day and announce the release of a manual version of the new Supra (possibly a limited production run).
In the meantime, some third parties have managed to retrofit manual transmissions to the new Supra -- so it is possible on the aftermarket.