Car (South Africa)
SIX SUPRA HOT LAPS
The opportunity to get a taste of what the new Supra manual was all about was limited to just six laps around the Monteblanco track. It may not sound like much, yet after the first warm-up lap, the car had already made a lasting impression. It has the same recipe: a short wheelbase for agile handling, a connected rear end developed to be easily controlled beyond the limit of grip, and the sonorous Bmwengineered B58 six-cylinder engine. The addition of the six-speed transmission all but transforms the Supra into a fun skid-ready machine. Compared to the 8-speed auto, sure it’s slower, but outright speed isn’t the point here. It’s the little details that make this model stand out. The centre console has been rejigged to accommodate the new shifter while the transmission is a combination of off-the-shelf parts from ZF. Toyota also took the time to tweak gear-knob weights to find the ideal shift feel, beginning with a 68 g unit, moving to a 138 g item and then settling on a hefty 200 g knob. The result is a meaty, slick shift; the added mass provides enough inertia for changes without feeling overly cumbersome through the gate. The clutch is weighted to match with a fuss-free operation and the pedals spaced ideally for heel and toe. The IMT function will rev match automatically, but this can be turned off. After our handful of laps, it became clear the Supra manual will be an instant hit with enthusiasts. The added engagement from the manual gives an already characterful sportscar a deeper sense of personality. It now offers analogue fun and involvement that is increasingly hard to find in modern sportscars and will be available for South Africans on order only.