How’s that for timing? Just when Nissan launches its all-new 400hp Z coupe with a 6-speed manual gearbox, Toyota suddenly finds a 6-speed manual for its 3-year old GR Supra, a car that was initially sold as an 8-speed automatic with no manual option. The $64,000 question is, “If Toyota had a 6-speed manual, why didn’t they introduce it together with the automatic transmission back in 2019?”
According to a Toyota spokesperson, the answer is that BMW (who collaborated with Toyota to produce the GR Supra and Z4 using a BMW drivetrain) did not have a viable 6-speed manual gearbox at the time, forcing Toyota to design and build one from scratch.
That’s not saying the current 8-speed automatic gearbox isn’t good. It’s quick shifting and accesses the BMW 6-cylinder effortlessly.
But what Japan’s No 1 carmaker has employed now is a gearbox that adds loads more thrills to the driving experience while efficiently accessing the bottom end torque of BMW’s inline-six cylinder engine. Packing 387-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque mated to that new 6-speeder, the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six powered GR Supra is now a more equally matched arch rival to the new 6-speed manual Nissan Z, with its 3-liter turbocharged V6 generating 400-hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
So what does that mean for acceleration times? The current GR Supra, fitted with the automatic is a quick car. When you put it up against the Z in a drag race, as popular Youtube channel Hagerty did recently, the Z’s extra 260 lbs of weight and the Supra’s quick shifting 8-speed automatic (plus the grippier Michelin rubber on the Supra vs the Z’s Bridgestones) combine to help the Supra sprint from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and 12.1 seconds for the quarter mile, while the 6-speed manual Z took 4.3 seconds and 12.8 second respectively.
The manual fitted Z also loses out on its manual gear shifts when compared to the lightning fast Supra’s sequential box. So what the addition of the 6-speed manual will do for the GR Supra lineup is to add a heap more fun for drivers while bringing the car’s acceleration times more in line with those of the 6-speed manually operated Z.
When you compare the rival 6-speed manual prices in Japan at least (as U.S. haven’t been announced yet), you come up with the Z’s $47,500, considerably undercutting the Supra manual’s $53,600, making the more powerful Z a seemingly better alternative. As far as aesthetics go, and after all design appreciation is a subjective thing, the online census appears to give Nissan’s Z the thumbs up when compared to the Supra. I lean towards the Z too for looks.
However, if you’re the type of driver who enjoys doing the odd burnout when you drive your sports car, then you’d better opt for the Supra.Why? Because the Z’s computer won’t allow the Nissan to do a burnout. The Supra’s will.