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How good is the current Toyota Supra engine?


With the help of BMW, the Toyota Supra is a fast and furious machine. But how much power does the current-generation turbo I-6 actually deliver?

2021 Toyota Supra GR - Photo by Toyota

A Yamaha-built Toyota straight-six, the first 2000GT ultra-low volume sports car from 1967-70. When the time came in the late 1970s for Toyota to enter the competitive and creative business of luxury sports and grand tourers, its designers began with the four-cylinder Celica (the “Japanese Mustang”) and They enlarged the hood and front quarter. -panels to accommodate the flagship inline six-cylinder of the large Cressida sedan. The new car was badged Celica Supra for its first two generations.

Today, the Toyota Supra is in its fifth generation, with a 21-year gap between the fourth and fifth generations. The sports coupe has always been powered by an inline six-cylinder engine. But the first four generations are powered by engines made by Toyota, while the fifth generation’s turbocharged I-6 is from BMW.

2021 Toyota Supra A91 - Photo by Toyota

What are the specifications of the Toyota Supra engine options?

The new Toyota Supra Coupe, codenamed A90, has returned for the 2019 model year in North America built on the same BMW platform as the German automaker’s Z4 convertible sports car, and with its largest of two engine options. , a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder with a twin-scroll turbocharger and four valves per cylinder, dual overhead camshafts (DOHC), and variable valve lift and timing.

Available only with an eight-speed automatic transmission and requiring premium fuel, the A90 was rated at 335 horsepower at 5,000-6,000 rpm and 365 pound-feet. @ 1,600-4,500 rpm. This wide RPM range of peak torque highlights the benefits of a twin-scroll turbocharger, which is designed with a small turbo intake for low rpm starting and a larger intake for boosting rpm to avoid “turbo lag,” followed by a sudden increase in power. while accelerating. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg city, 30 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined.

A 2020 Toyota Supra A90 tested by Motor Trend accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds.

For the 2021 model year, Toyota updated the BMW turbo inline-six and added a BMW turbo inline-four for the North American market. The result is the A91 Supra, with the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine, but with the exhaust manifold moved from the inside to the outside of the cylinder head. This increases power by 17 horsepower, to 382 horsepower at 5,800-6,500 rpm and with 368 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800-5,000 rpm.

Toyota says the A91 also underwent a thorough overhaul of the chassis and suspension components, making it a very different car, even if the sheet metal looks unchanged.

Also for 21, Toyota added the turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four option that was previously only available in foreign markets. The 16-valve DOHC engine also requires premium fuel and develops 255 horsepower at 5,000-6,000 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,550 – 4,400 rpm.

EPA fuel economy figures have not yet been released for both engines. Enthusiasts who prefer the traditional sports car feel of a manual gearbox expected Toyota to bring a six-speed manual option with the turbo four-cylinder version, as is available in those foreign markets, but so far it only comes with the Same eight-speed transmission. Automatic speed as in the inline six-cylinder version.

1981 Toyota Celica Supra - Toyota Photo

A40 and A50 Toyota Supra engines (1979-1981)

The A40 Toyota Celica Supra debuted in the United States for the 1979 model year. Like many sports and GT cars offered over the years, it used the best engine available from a much larger sedan in the model range (in this case, the first two generations of Cressida), for inherently better performance in a lighter body.

The first Celica Supras came with Toyota’s 2.6-liter 4M-GE inline-six engine (“M” was the automaker’s engine code for all inline-six engines), with a single camshaft. overhead cams (SOHC) and two valves per cylinder. It did the 0-60 mph sprint in 11.5 seconds, according to engine trend.

For 1980, the A40 Supra became the almost identical-looking A50, but with a significantly improved engine; A double overhead camshaft (DOHC), 2.8-liter 5M-GE with electronic fuel injection derived from Bosch L Jetronic and the first use of Toyota hydraulic valve lifters.

The 5M-GE “looked like a Jaguar United and a three-time Supra owner.

The National Transportation and Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists a single complaint for the A40/A50 Supra engines, for a “small leak in the number six cylinder” of a 1980 model, although the complaint was from 1999 when the car had 19 years.

1985 Toyota Celica - Toyota Photo

A60 Toyota Celica Supra engine (1982-1986.5)

The second-generation Supra’s chassis, body, and interior were all new, but the engine was the A50’s 2.8-liter 5M-GE straight-six, now tuned to increase to 145 horsepower.

There were two trim levels available in the North American market; the P-type version (for “performance”), available only with a five-speed manual, and the L-type (“luxury”) version, with a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.

Although the second-generation Celica Supra was larger, heavier and wider than the A50 with the same engine, it was still a credible grand tourer (not a pure, lightweight sports car), built for spirited driving but comfortable off-road driving. -. highway ride more than straight-line performance.

There have been four complaints to NHTSA about the A60’s carryover engines, all related to overheating. “There were valve cover problems and cam cover leaks,” Ericksen admits, “but the engine was very reliable.”

In fact, all four complaints about the A60 Supra engine were filed with NHTSA when the cars were between nine and 15 years old. Toyota straight-six engines are also notorious for oil sludge problems, but only when proper oil change intervals are not observed.

1987 Toyota Supra - Toyota Photo

Toyota Supra A70 engine (1987-1993)

An all-new Celica switched to a front-wheel-drive platform shared with the Corolla sedan, while the all-new Supra remained rear-wheel drive and thus dropped “Celica” from its badge.

Toyota developed a new engine for the new car, which is offered in both naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms. The naturally aspirated Toyota 7M-GE straight-six was a 3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve engine rated at 200 horsepower, while the turbocharged 7M-GTE had 231 horsepower.

For the 1989 model year, Toyota modified the A70’s 7M-GTE with a wastegate actuator and revised the engine management system for two more horsepower and 21 additional pound-feet. of torque

The following year, Toyota lowered the redline due to a heavier crankshaft created by adding counterweights to cylinder numbers two and five, no doubt for smoother power. Thus, passionate collectors looking for an A70 Supra will probably prefer a higher-revving 1987 or ’88 model.

1998 Toyota Supra - Toyota Photo

Toyota Supra A80 engine (1994-1998)

Toyota’s fourth-generation Supra has become a heavier, smoother, and more luxurious grand touring coupe, albeit powered by its hairiest engine yet.

The “M” designation was gone, but the 2JZ-GE six was still a 3.0-liter DOHC inline engine, with four valves per cylinder, producing 222 horsepower and 209 pound-feet. in atmospheric form, very close to the power of the previous turbo engine. The manual transmission option was now a six-speed, although the automatic was still only a four-speed unit.

However, the twin-turbocharged 2JZ-GTE is Toyota’s most sought-after inline-six, rated at 320 horsepower and 315 pound-feet, with a six-speed manual transmission made by Getrag. .

Like the new Supra’s twin-scroll turbo inline-six, the 2JZ-GTE’s twin-turbo smooths out “turbo lag.” The Twin-Scroll turbos run well, Toyota Ericksen said, with virtually no lag, and the engines are very reliable, unusual among turbocharged engines of the era.


For the 1996 model year Toyota eliminated the six-speed manual option on twin-turbo Supras sold in North America due to new U.S. OBD-II (on-board diagnostics, updated for cleaner emissions standards) rules.

The six-speed manual transmission was offered again on the Supra turbo in North America for the 1997 model year, but thanks to rapidly declining consumer interest in sports coupes, it would be the penultimate year for the sport model here. Ericksen, then in Toyota regional sales and distribution, said many dealers refused to order the car for their inventory.

The 1998 Supra was the last one offered here until the new 2019 model, although Toyota continued to make the A80 until 2002 for JDM and other markets.

The motor trend recorded a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds for a 1993 Turbo Supra and a very quick 3.9 seconds for a 1997 model.

2021 Toyota Supra GR - Photo by Toyota

Which Toyota Supra engine is the best?

If you’re looking for a Toyota Supra that you plan to use as a daily driver, or even as a weekend/summer fun sports car, there’s only one option: the new A90 model, with BMW’s largest turbocharged inline-six. . It’s a modern, reliable sports car worthy of the Supra name.

Classic Toyota-powered Supras are at least 23 years old. Although known for their rock-solid reliability, 1979-1998 Toyota Supras are now collector cars for enthusiasts, and their values ​​are increasing accordingly, and they are becoming harder to find. [This article did not cover Toyota-built four-cylinder engines offered only in the JDM Supras over the years. It is possible but unlikely you’ll find one of these offered for sale in North America – non-U.S. specification cars are legally for sale here once they are 25 years old.]

A six-cylinder inline Toyota Supra is distinguished by Cooper Ericksen, vice president of product planning at Toyota. “There is no doubt that it is the biturbo”, the 2JZ-GTE of the A80. “The twin-turbo is a lot of fun. Very fast.”

Note that many classic Supras have been modified, especially under the hood. “You can squeeze over 800 horsepower ‘out of a twin-turbo A80’ without blowing a head gasket,” he says.

A series of films helped increase the value of this car, Ericksen says: “Very few people cared about Supras until Fast and Furious it came out of. Without this movie, Supra wouldn’t be Supra.


Ericksen warns that the new Toyota Supra only comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission, twice as fast as the A40-A80 automatics, with more transmission gradient and much slower shifts. It is best to look for one of the classic Toyota Supras with a manual gearbox that transmits power from its inline six cylinders.

His dream project car is an A60 Toyota Supra, with its distinctive sheet metal and pop-up headlights, which he would rebuild with the independent rear suspension from a later model and the 2JZ-GTE twin-turbo six-cylinder.

Photos: Toyota


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