In case it wasn’t already clear, the Toyota GR Supra is a car for enthusiasts.
If you need proof of this, just look at the fact that nearly half of all 2023 Supras sold come with a manual transmission, according to a new report from Road & Track. This seems to have surprised the Japanese marque, which expected to sell half that figure.
When Toyota’s performance sub-brand, Gazoo Racing, brought back the Supra in 2019, following a 17-year absence from the market, it did so with a ZF automatic 8-speed as the sole transmission option. As much as this may have dismayed some of the purists out there, it made sense from a business perspective. The manual gearbox is an endangered species at this point, outsold by EVs in the U.S. since the end of the last decade. Despite this, Toyota decided to introduce a stick shift as an option for the 2023 Supra—a move that now looks like a stroke of genius.
Toyota told Road & Track that it has sold 1,216 Supras with a manual since the current model year launched last fall. This number, which represents 47 percent of all examples of the model sold during that time, is double what Toyota had hoped to sell when the option was first announced, according to The Drive.
It helps, of course, that the manual Supra is one of the more exciting sports cars available, especially at its $45,540 starting price. The long-nose coupé is powered by a BMW-sourced turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six that produces 382 hp and 368 ft-lbs of torque (a stick shift isn’t available on the four-cylinder model). Its six-speed gearbox is also BMW-sourced, featuring the casing from the current 3-Series but the gearing from the M3. The current-gen Supra has earned rave reviews since its reintroduction, and the three-pedaled version might be the best one yet.
The manual transmission is experiencing something of a relative resurgence over the last couple of years. Sales of stick shifts rose last year in the U.S. following decades of decline, thanks to enthusiasts and, unexpectedly, Gen Z drivers. Some companies, including Toyota, are even looking into offering manual transmissions for EVs, even though you don’t need to shift gears when driving a battery-powered car.