I can still hear the sound of the little high powered Toyota GR Yaris with which I spent five memorable days; a car built for the out and out enthusiast, and now comes news of a new GR Supra. The GR Supra was the Japanese carmaker’s first global Gazoo Racing model, launched back in 2019.
The introduction of the GR Yaris and the imminent arrival of the GR86 coupe have reinforced the special qualities that define the GR brand. These are 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 its launch, the GR Supra has been available with a straight-six 335bhp three litre engine matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission; one year later, a new 254bhp two litre engine was added to the range, again with auto transmission as standard. Many asked the question of whether a manual gearbox would be available and Toyota has listened and can now confirm that the GR Supra with six-speed intelligent manual transmission will be introduced in Europe; engineered to delight drivers who love the control and rewards offered by precisely timed manual shifts. 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). This development has not been simply a matter of using an off-the-shelf solution. A new transmission, including a new clutch, has been engineered specifically to suit the power and torque characteristics of the three litre engine. While GR Supra’s braking control systems and suspension have been retuned for even better performance and these changes that are being introduced throughout the model range. The new-look range features two manual versions: the three litre Pro and the standard three litre, which is lighter in weight by almost 40kg compared to the standard automatic, thus adding to the car’s handling qualities. All versions, automatic and manual, will benefit from retuned suspension; 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.
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; 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 wheelspin. In order to address the issue, Toyota engineers have tuned the car’s traction control to achieve smooth operation like that experienced with the automatic. The system is also optimised for GR Supra’s characteristic high engine torque, wide tyres and rear-wheel drive. For a more fun drive, we have 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 per cent) with a high-friction road surface, like those found on European mountain routes. More free wheelspin can make a more enjoyable to drive, so Toyota has optimised engine torque control to allow a greater difference in the degree of left and right-side wheel spin.
The Track mode has been tuned to allow for easy drifting with freedom of throttle control, GR Supra remains agile, but the there is less risk of spinning thanks to specific engine and torque control. I look forward as I did with the GR Yaris to getting behind the wheel of what I can only describe as a driver’s car. In this age of constant news of EVs, SUVs and the like this is going to be prove to be a real tonic.