Toyota GR Supra manual 2023 long-term test

The three-pedal ’box clearly took some time to perfect – hence why it had to follow the auto to market. It is only offered in tandem with the BMW-sourced, 335bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged ‘B58’ straight six: a unit that, since you can also find it powering cars as different as the Ineos Grenadier and Morgan Plus Six, must by now be becoming one of Munich’s more popular customer engines.

Without a turbo straight six, of course, no modern Toyota Supra would feel quite right; and, much as it’s clearly some way off matching the outright power and flexibility of, say, a BMW Motorsport six-pot, the B58 is one major mechanical that seems to suit the Supra well. I’ve only had the car for a few days as I write these words, but it certainly seems fast enough, and briskly torquey, and it revs well.

It’s the Supra manual’s ride and handling I’m equally keen to explore, though, with Toyota having used the three-pedal model’s development for a second go at calibrating the car’s adaptive dampers and power steering, and having respecified its anti-roll bar bushes.

We wrote several times in praise of the car’s unexpectedly compliant touring ride four years ago, but less positively about its body control on rougher roads, or the driver’s tactile connection with the front wheels. And there are plenty of country roads in the Midlands, near to me, that should reveal how much progress has been made here.

But what really interests me is the process of dialling into the dynamic character of a really analogue sports car – one of a classic, front-engined, rear-drive, three-pedal make-up the likes of which few manufacturers bother to offer any more – and spending weeks and months fiddling with drive mode settings and tyre pressures to bring out the perfect driving experience.

Aside, perhaps, from with our own cars, we road testers seldom get to do it. Test cars come and go again within just a few days, and besides, there are fewer and fewer cars with a sufficiently straightforward mechanical temperament that invite you to bother in the first place.

The GR Supra is not a complicated prospect when it comes to ordering it either, you might be pleased to read. If you are having the bigger engine, there are standard and Pro equipment specifications, as well as those manual or automatic gearboxes to choose between, but if you want the simpler, cheaper trim, you have to have the manual.

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