Toyota GR Supra: a countercurrent manual gearbox

Toyota GR Supra: a countercurrent manual gearbox

It seems certain that the Toyota Supra would never have seen the light of day without a rapprochement with BMW. While the Bavarian manufacturer was looking for a partner to support the development costs of its Z4 roadster (read our test of the BMW Z4), the Japanese had the ambition to extend its range of sports cars. The outcome was all found: BMW is a specialist in inline six-cylinder engines, precisely the architecture that aroused the craze around the fourth generation of Toyota Supra, which withdrew from the market in 2002. The foundations for a fifth generation were laid.

It remained, despite this partnership, to distinguish as much as possible between the two models. Aesthetically it is certain, the Toyota Supra stands out. His brutal and sculpted lines attract the eye, especially since the color chart is not stingy with garish colors. Inside, the similarity with BMW is more marked. Above all, it was necessary to give a specific character to the driving, and Toyota gave itself the means to do so. While the agreement with BMW provided for the Z4 and Supra to share the same running gear settings, the Japanese manufacturer, dissatisfied with the compromise adopted, preferred to extend the budget to review its copy.

A gearbox arrives on the Supra, under pressure from fans

At launch, the Toyota Supra was only available with a 340 hp straight-six engine, paired with an automatic transmission. And this last point did not fail to make purists cringe. “Regularly, we were asked if a version with manual transmission was planned”, confesses Herwig Daenens, chief engineer of the development of the Supra. “Initially, this was not the case, but we decided to meet the demand of driving enthusiasts, and to offer such a transmission”. On paper, the operation seems simple, since the BMW Z4 has a manual version… Except that on the Bavarian roadster, the mechanical gearbox is offered with the 258 hp four-cylinder, with much less torque than the six -cylinders (400 Nm against 500 Nm). So we had to design a new transmission.


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