BMW offers very few cars with manual transmissions at the moment. There’s only the BMW M3 and M4 currently available with a manual transmission in North America. No 2 Series, no 3 Series, and no 4 Series. Only those two M cars. The upcoming BMW M2 will add yet another manual to the market but that still only makes three and you still need to buy an M car to get one. However, there may be another alternative, a way to drive a BMW-powered car with a manual transmission and it might be the best one—the Toyota Supra.
In this new video from The Straight Pipes, you get to see the new 2023 Toyota Supra with a manual transmission. Because the Supra is based on the BMW Z4 chassis, and uses the same powertrain, it’s actually the only way you can pair a BMW engine to a manual transmission without spending big bucks on an M car in North America. And because the Zupra twins are among BMW’s best driving cars, is it actually the best manual BMW on the market?
Most modern BMW manuals aren’t very good to use, if I’m being blunt. The manual in the BMW M3 is actually what I’d call ghastly. Its clutch is both heavy and vague and its shift throws are rubbery and also vague. It’s among the worst manuals I’ve used in a modern car, which pains me to say. However, despite using the same basic manual transmission, it seems Toyota tuned the gearbox and clutch to feel a bit better. I haven’t driven it myself yet (though I intend to soon) but I’m hearing very good things so far.
There’s also the fact that Toyota tuned the Supra a bit more for the 2023 model year, giving it sightly better steering feel, better traction management, and a bit more zest to its drive. It was already a very good sports car. Its only real knock was that it didn’t feel Supra-ey enough and felt too much like a BMW. However, both the Supra and Z4 are great sports cars, so I don’t really care what they feel like, as long as they’re good to drive.
BMW is coming with a Z4 manual in the U.S. market, thankfully. But it isn’t here yet and there hasn’t even been an official announcement. We know it’s coming because of our sources but it could be awhile. So, for now, the Toyota Supra remains the best driving manual BMW you can buy today. Which is a weird sentence.