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Hands-On: The 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium front 3/4 view

Not just once. Twice. In fact, three times.

Perhaps the fourth time will be the charm.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium rear 3/4 view

You see, there are some critics that say the Supra isn't a real Supra because it's a coupe version of a BMW (like that's a bad thing). And, as I noted last time around, these cars are still pretty rare. Every time I drive one, I meet someone who's never seen one before. Again, they've been on sale for two and a half years. 2023 is the Supra's third model year.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium hood up

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium engine

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 manual transmission

The changes for 2023 are few, but satisfying. The big headline is that you can now get a six-speed manual transmission with the 382-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six. It's a different unit from the one found in the 255-horsepower GR Supra 2.0, engineered and tuned specifically for this application, with software that prioritizes sporty performance. The Supra 3.0's traction and braking have also been optimized for the new gearbox. There are so few rear-wheel drive cars left that it's always fun to sense the push rather than the pull. There's an active rear sport differential, active exhaust, a multi-link rear suspension, sport-calibrated electric power steering, adaptive variable sport suspension and 19-inch wheels on Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.

All of it is wonderful (the Supra has always been a phenomenal car to drive on winding roads), and whether the manual transmission with the more powerful engine on its own moves the needle in sales, it's a smart defensive move as Nissan rolls out its new Z.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium front seats

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium instrument panel

The base price of the 2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium with the six-speed manual is $56,745 (including destination). That includes all the mechanicals above as well as six-lens auto-leveling LED headlights, LED daytime running lamps and taillights, automatic high beams, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, traction mode, an electronic parking brake, smart key and smart entry, a full-color head-up display, heated power seats with adjustable lumbar and bolsters, driver's seat memory, a 12-speaker JBL HiFi audio system, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium steering wheel and gauge cluster

Our tester had two extra-cost options---the Stratosphere Blue paint at $425 and the Driver Assist Package (cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert and parking sensors with alert) for $1,195. So the as-tested price of the 2023 Toyota Supra 3.0 Premium is $58,365.

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium front view

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium side view

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 Premium rear view

Even though I've seen the proof that modern automatics can shift better than I do (admittedly a low bar) or even really good performance drivers do, and can deliver better fuel economy, there's something really satisfying about doing your own shifting in a performance car.

The availability of a six-speed manual (and less weight over the nose) was one of the reasons I preferred the less-powerful GR Supra 2.0 the past couple of years. Now, with the arrival of a six-speed manual in the 3.0, it'd be a tougher choice.

Guess I need to drive both some more (hint to Toyota PR).


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