The chief engineer for the new Toyota Supra says he is “very aware” of requests for a manual gearbox option in the new rear-wheel-drive sportscar, but adds that only “persistent, overwhelming demand” would make the Japanese brand consider bringing one to market.
According to AutoGuide.com, Tetsuya Tada spoke to reporters (through a translator) soon after the reveal of the new A90-generation Supra – which at launch will be offered exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission from ZF – at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“I’m very aware of the requests and needs for a manual transmission out there, but with the new sports automatic transmission, I am very satisfied with the results of the performance of this transmission system. It is completely different from any other automatic transmission that has been released,” Tada said, according to the US-based publication.
“If there is a persistent, overwhelming demand still for a manual transmission, a sports car in itself inherently improve and to continue to improve when those kinds of things will be considered. Obviously, if the mass market demand is there, it would be something that would have to be considered. It depends on the right timing,” he said.
In September 2018, assistant chief engineer Masayuki Kai told an Australian publication that a manual gearbox had already been developed for the fifth-generation Supra, saying “there is hardware ready”.
For the record, the new Supra will be powered by a turbocharged 3,0-litre straight-six (shared with the BMW Z4 M40i) producing 250 kW and 500 N.m. Some markets, however, will also receive a 2,0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine (likewise from BMW), offered in two states of tune: 145 kW/320 N.m and 190 kW/400 N.m.