Ever since we first found out that the Supra was being revived, we've wondered about whether Toyota would equip it with a manual transmission. The car that was revealed at the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is available only with an eight-speed automatic transmission. But chief engineer Tetsuya Tada seems to be open to the idea of adding a stick-shift option.
"Of course, the manual transmission has been in the development process," Tada said through an interpreter at the Detroit show. He acknowledged that, while an automatic is obviously faster, there's an undeniable pleasure in driving a stick shift.
Tada explained that the potential for a manual Supra is complicated by the positioning of the 86, which, of course, offers a stick shift. "I don't want to sound too business-y, but I also need to support the 86. Looking at the role of the 86 and the role of the Supra, I want to differentiate, make sure they each have their own identity," he said. "If the Supra had a manual transmission, there's nowhere for the 86 to go."
The Supra boss also made a point of explaining that, particularly on a car like this, development and refinement don't end when the vehicle is released. "I'm always trying to look at it, to improve it, every year," he said. Could that mean adding a stick-shift somewhere down the line? "It's not an impossibility," he said. "It's just if the demand is there."
Tada concluded our stick-shift conversation by acknowledging the fact that so many fans are clamoring for a three-pedal Supra. "On one of these enthusiast sites, there's actually a poll going on," he said. There are already thousands of votes in favor of a manual option. "I'm getting the message," he said.