2023 Toyota Supra A91 MT Review

The Toyota GR Supra A91 MT is The Real Deal.

By Chris D'Alessandro Wheels.ca

Aug 15, 2023 6 min. read

Article was updated a month ago

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Well, here it is. This is what we wanted. This is what we all asked for.

Toyota listened to us. And now you can finally shift your own gears in the newest GR Supra. No messing about. Let’s just answer the only question you really have.

Yes, shifting your own gears in the latest Supra feels good. Damn good.

Improvements over the Launch Edition go beyond just the third pedal. The 0 - 100 km/h times are lower. The engine note is louder. There are turbo noises. The tires are stickier. The chassis is stiffer. Gone are those confused chrome / black chrome faux lux rims — in place are race-y, flat black GR multi-spokes.

This is the Supra we wanted. This is the no-compromise real deal.

Toyota Supra A91 MT

And honestly? It’s almost too much. The A91 MT especially feels like nothing if not an over-correction to all the earliest criticism of the A90 GR Supra.

Back in 2020, some said the A90 was a little too soft, a little too BMW, a little too… automatic.

Even I’ll admit that my first impression of the A90 was just that. I remember thinking in the first 100 feet, “Oh, this is just a soft, lazy BMW in disguise.” Of course, my impression changed once I hit “Sport” mode and got the GR Supra on some back roads.

My first impression of the manual A91, however, could not have been more the opposite. The first 100 feet felt… aggressive. The engine note on start-up is much more pronounced. The throttle, even in normal drive mode, is far more immediate in its power delivery. The action on the shifter is snappy. The throws are incredibly short and the sync seems happiest when you’re stomping the clutch and banging the shifter into gear.

Toyota Supra A91 MT

The manual variant of the A90 Supra is a no-cost option. However, as mentioned, my tester was the limited edition A91 MT.

The most notable addition in the A91 MT package is additional chassis bracing in the form of a red strut tower brace. Also included are tan leather seats, red badging, and an Alcantara shift knob. It’s a tempting offer as a $1,580 option. Though since production is limited to just 50 units in Canada, dealer markup may harm the value proposition.

That big highlight, the additional chassis bracing, translates every imperfection in the road up through your spine, but also serves to keep the front end much more grounded… less floaty and unwieldy feeling under hard acceleration. The Pilot Super Sport tires, especially when hot, feel like driving around with super glue on your ties. With proper heat in the tires, just tapping the brake pedal rips your face off.

It’s all great for track work, but a serious compromise for use in the real world. Navigating the A91 through a merciless stop-and-go traffic jam I thought, “Wow, maybe they overdid it a bit…”

Toyota Supra A91 MT

The car feels twitchy and on edge. It teems with frustration. As if Toyota engineers tuned the whole car whilst in a bad mood. Honestly, it feels like they read the YouTube comments. All of them. And then just put it in their minds to shut everyone up for good.

Finally, I got the A91 MT out on some back roads and all the frustration was the most welcome thing in my life. All of the vicious acceleration of the automatic variant is present here, but the additional pleasure of shifting your own gears, with a clutch pedal, cannot be overstated.

It felt like the car and I were blowing off steam together.

Toyota Supra A91 MT

In Sport mode, there’s additional exhaust burble and noticeable turbo whistle over the automatic variant. Power is so abundant, at times it feels like the car is giving you a little too much. The GR Supra was always a little unwieldy at the limit, as if it was trying to escape your control. But with the manual, that limit is much lower and occurs so much more frequently.

By now, we all know that the claimed 382 horsepower from the 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged BMW-derived inline six is a big fat lie. Actual output is around 420 at the wheels and the manual allows you to feel every bit of that power all the time, not just at the top end like in the automatic variant. With a manual, you have to constantly manage the power. You’re not just accessing it when you want it, you’re learning to tame it when you don’t need it.

At the limit, I had trouble keeping up with the car. It felt just a little bit faster, a little bit sharper than my brain or body could manage. Even after logging so much time with previous GR Supras, I had to spend time to re-learn the car before I felt I could trust it.

In that respect, the MT Supra is a totally unique offering within Toyota’s GR lineup. Where the GR 86 and GR Corolla feel like they were made for you to be able to access and enjoy the limit with ease, this new GR Supra challenges you to stay there.

I did eventually get the A91 to settle down a bit and gently scythe it through traffic and downtown streets. Actually, once you feel out how to gently short-shift the car it becomes fairly well behaved as a commuter. But I do have to say, it wore me out a little in those traffic jams. The suspension, the clutch, the power progression. The engineers just didn’t have Toronto traffic in mind.

Toyota Supra A91 MT

There are other nitpicks. The GR Supra is still impossible to see out of. I hit my head on the roof every time I get into it. If you put both windows down on the highway, there is a nagging thumping of air that drives into the back of your skull. The BMW infotainment system has become overly irritating to navigate through using anything but the hotkeys and wheel located next to the shift knob.

Still, these are minor grievances, because what this car is about, what it demands from you, is that you drive it. It’s where this car absolutely excels over its closest competitor, the Nissan Z. And that was before the addition of a third pedal.

Where the Z feels soft, floaty, forgiving, passive, and overall underdamped, the Supra, now more than ever, feels tight, focused, demanding, aggressive, and buttoned up.

Yes, I know there is a Nismo variant of the Z on the way, and I’m very eager for it. But I’m judging the current landscape of these vehicles.

Toyota Supra A91 MT

If I was taking a road trip cross country, or even just selecting a daily commuter, I’d have the Z with the 9-speed automatic, hands down. But if I was buying something because I wanted to have fun, I’d have the GR Supra MT — and in fact at its MSRP of about $74,000… I think I’d rather have it over just about anything else. Sure it’s a lot of cheddar. But it’s still an almost $10,000 savings over the starting price of a Porsche 718 Cayman. Good luck touching a C8 at that price point.

The only thing that would give me pause from buying a GR Supra would be a BMW M2 — because a back seat might be nice sometimes and driving with the windows down is nice all the time.

So, I don’t know what more anybody could really want from the GR Supra at this point. It’s phenomenal fun to drive. It’s aggressive enough to turn off the layman. It looks the part. It sounds the part. It outperforms its closest competitors and is a bargain over the bourgeois alternatives. It’s rebellious in all the best ways and that’s what the Supra should always be about.

If you’re still upset by the whole BMW thing, then, whatever. Good for you. Honestly, at this point, we’re done trying to convince you and you’re missing out.


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