Toyota Supra 2.0 vs 3.0 – Which is Better?
Austin holds a technical writing degree and has 5 years of experience working as a Technical Product Specialist at BMW. He is an avid car enthusiast who is constantly watching F1, consuming automotive content, racing on his simulator, and working on his Toyota’s and BMW’s. Austin’s technical writing skills, extensive automotive knowledge, and hands-on experience make him an excellent resource for our readers.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of the Toyota Supra. If you’re over 50 years old there’s a good chance that one of your neighbors had a Mark II or Mark III back in the 80s. If you’re under 50, the Mark IV has likely made its mark on you through the countless references and appearances that it has made since its release in 1993. The bottom line is that the Supra proved that Toyota knows how to make a sportscar.
The newest generation A90 Supra has been in production for four years now, and along have come some additional trim levels, engine options, and transmission options. One of the biggest decisions that you’ll have to face when purchasing a new Supra is which engine option will suit you best. Funny enough, both of the engine options come from BMW. Initially, the United States received only one option: the 3.0L BMW B58 twin-scroll turbo inline-6. However, in 2020, the 2.0L BMW B48 twin-scroll turbo inline-4 was also made available for stateside customers.
With that choice comes a significant amount of nuisance. Both of the BMW powerplants can hold their own, as proven by their stellar performance and reliability (so far at least). In this guide, we’ll compare and contrast the 2.0L and 3.0L A90/J29/MkV Supra models and determine if the 3.0L Supra is really worth having.
Fast forward 26 years past the introduction of the MkIV to 2019 and the Toyota Supra is back from retirement. With the previous generation Supra, no one doubted that Toyota’s sportscar would be reliable, but many doubted it would be good. With the newest A90 Supra, the tables were reversed a bit.
If you haven’t heard, the Mark V Toyota Supra is a joint venture between Toyota and BMW. From the outside, that’s a bit of a strange partnership. There’s quite a bit of distance between Aichi and Munich. But, the Supra isn’t actually the first venture between the two. In fact, Toyota assisted BMW with their hydrogen-powered iX5 experiment a few years back too. So, Toyota and BMW get along nicely.
Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer of the MkV Supra and Toyota’s performance boss, was initially set to develop the MkIV Supra back in the 1990s. While the MkIV project with him in charge was scrapped, the A90 Supra is Tada’s brainchild. He chose to bring BMW on board for a few reasons. Some of which directly pertain to the engines that BMW was able to provide for the project. Developing, testing, and refining a new engine design is a very costly process.
Due to the fact that Toyota didn’t want to develop a gas-powered straight-6 from the ground up, when companies are moving towards hybrid and electric power, Toyota decided to source one from the company that is arguably best at straight-6s. BMW offered a number of straight-6 engine options that worked with the Supra chassis,
Toyota Supra 2.0 BMW B48 Stats and Performance
For the 2021 model year, the 2.0L BMW B48-powered Toyota Supra was offered in the United States for the first time. Despite being the base model MkV Supra, the 2.0L Supra isn’t a slouch by any means. In fact, it still puts up some Porsche 718 Cayman-rivaling figures, producing 255 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The BMW B48 4-cylinder engine is a fan favorite in the BMW community for good reason. The B48 engine is a very versatile one that has been used in a wide range of BMW vehicles, from 3-Series models to their larger crossover SAV X3 models.
Since B48 production began in 2014, the 2.0L BMW 4-Cylinder has been offered in 12 different variants, all putting out different power figures. The 255 horsepower B48 engine variant that the 2.0 Supra uses is shared with the BMW G20 3-Series, BMW G29 Z4, BMW G22 430i, and a few others. All of the BMWs that have used the B48 engine have been praised for their quick-spooling nature, due to the single BMW twin-scroll turbo, and reliability.
One of the strongest arguments for the B48’s reliability is the fact that it has forged internals. The BMW B48’s connecting rods and crank are made from forged steel, making them exceedingly strong and able to withstand a fair bit more power than the engine can produce from the factory. The fact that the B48 engine features forged internals and is an extremely easy engine to tune means that it is possible to get far more performance out of your 2.0L Supra than the factory-rated 255 horsepower.
Toyota Supra 2.0 – BMW B48 Specs
|Engine||BMW B48 Engine|
|Displacement||2.0L (1,998 cc)|
|Aspiration||Single Twin-Scroll Turbocharged|
|Valvetrain||DOHC Double VANOS VVT|
|Bore x Stroke||82.0mm x 94.6mm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||295 lb-ft|
Toyota Supra 3.0 BMW B58 Stats and Performance
As the first engine option available in the United States MkV Supra, the 3.0L turbo straight-6 engine is likely the easier option to find at this point while also being the more powerful engine option. Like the 2.0L straight-4 engine found in the 2.0 Supra, the 3.0L straight-6 is another borrowed engine from BMW.
Typical of BMW’s convoluted engine code naming strategy, the 3.0L engine is called the BMW B58 engine. In many ways, the B58 is extremely similar to the B48. The B58 is essentially a B48 engine with two additional cylinders. As such, the BMW B58 found in the 3.0L Supra puts out significantly more horsepower. With 382 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque, it’s no secret that the 3.0 Supra is the superior machine from a high-performance perspective. The extra 127 horsepower and 73 lb-ft of torque truly does transform the 3.0L Supra into a completely different animal.
Like the 2.0L straight-4 found in the Supra 2.0, the 3.0L B58 is a well-proven and celebrated engine in the BMW lineup so far. While the 2.0L B48 is used in many of BMW’s entry-level cars, the 3.0L B58 is used in many of the brand’s performance models. The B58 can be found in the BMW G20 M340i, BMW G22 M440i, BMW G29 Z4 M40i, and multiple other models.
The B58 is often said to be one of the most reliable engines of the modern turbocharged era. While it has only been around for 7 years at this point, that claim is still yet to be truly proven. However, BMW built the B58 to last, using a forged crank and forged connecting rods. Perhaps even more than the B48, the B58 is an extremely modifiable engine that can withstand far more horsepower than it comes with from the factory.
Toyota Supra 3.0 Transmission Options
One of the biggest gripes amongst the enthusiast crowd about the MkV Supra was its lack of a manual transmission. While the Supra’s sister car, the BMW Z4M40i, has had a manual option in Europe since its release in 2018, the Supra has lacked an option for a 6-speed until this year. For 2023, the Supra 3.0 is finally getting a standard transmission option. Purists rejoice!
Since BMW doesn’t have any B58-powered cars with manual transmissions, Toyota went through the trouble of designing and manufacturing a manual transmission, especially for the MkV Supra. The 6-speed intelligent manual transmission is equipped with a number of snazzy features. One of the main features is an automatic rev-matching feature that automatically blips the throttle when a downshift is made. The Supra 3.0 manual option will also have a shorter final drive of 3.46 versus the automatic car’s 3.15. The center console also needed to be slightly redesigned to accommodate the gear stick. The number of manual-equipped Supra 3.0 variants has yet to be released. However, Toyota is also releasing a manual-only special edition called the A91-MT which will be limited to 500 units.
Toyota Supra 3.0 – BMW B58 Specs
|Engine||BMW B58 Engine|
|Displacement||3.0L (2,998 cc)|
|Aspiration||Single Twin-Scroll Turbocharged|
|Valvetrain||DOHC Double VANOS VVT|
|Bore x Stroke||82.0mm x 94.6mm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||369 lb-ft|
Toyota Supra 2.0 vs 3.0 – Performance/Drivability Differences
While the Supra 2.0 vs 3.0 have more in common than they do differences, there are still a few performance-related differences between the two that help explain the $12,000 difference between the two variants of the same car. Obviously, the difference in engines between the two accounts for a large portion of the price discrepancy.
Supra 2.0 vs Supra 3.0 – Suspension
Standard suspension is another difference between the 2.0 Supra and the 3.0 Supra. Unlike the 2.0 Supra, the 3.0 variant gets adaptive variable suspension as a standard option. Adaptive active suspension is a common trait with BMW models, and there is clear BMW-DNA in the active suspension system that Toyota uses for the Supra’s active suspension system.
In fact, the 2023 Supra 3.0 features the majority of suspension components as its BMW Z4 sister car. While control arm lengths and anti-roll bars are different between the two, almost all of the other suspension components are the same between the 2023 Supra 3.0 and the 2023 BMW Z4M40i. With that being said, the suspension is tuned differently between the two companies. The goal of that was to make each of the cars handle uniquely.
Ultimately, the 2023 Supra 3.0 has an overall advantage in ride quality over the 2023 Supra 2.0. While some people dislike the infusion of German technology into the Japanese classic, it is undeniable that the adaptive suspension makes bumpy roads much more tolerable. The electronically controlled dampers on the Supra allow it to have multiple different suspension stiffnesses depending on the driving environment.
In contrast to the 3.0 Supra, the 4-cylinder 2.0 Supra is fitted with fixed dampers, meaning that they cannot be actively adjusted in the same way that you can with the 3.0. That shouldn’t necessarily be a dealbreaker either, with many reviewers claiming that the 2.0 Supra has better suspension characteristics. Not to mention, the fixed dampers cut some of the unsprung weight present with the 3.0 Supra.
Toyota Supra 2.0 vs 3.0 – Handling
One of the most significant differences between the Supra 2.0 and Supra 3.0 can be found in their handling characteristics. The fact that the Supra 3.0 has an additional two cylinders under its hood actually plays a significant role in terms of chassis dynamics. When it comes to weight balance, the MkV Supra 2.0 takes the crown. With a perfect 50/50 weight distribution empty, the 2.0 Supra beats out the 3.0 Supra which relies on the driver and passenger’s weight to distribute weight evenly between the front and rear. That has a dramatic effect on handling characteristics, especially on tight and twisting roads.
It isn’t just about weight distribution, either. Due to the 2.0 Supra’s more barebones attitude, it is around 220 pounds lighter than the 3.0 Supra. While that might not sound like an extreme amount, it’s certainly a weight difference that you’d be able to feel. Granted, many of the weight savings come from the reasons why the 2.0 Supra is less expensive. For example, the 2.0 has less power, smaller brakes, and no E-LSD. However, while the 2.0 Supra might have fewer features than the 3.0 Supra, the result is a slightly better handling car, which I would personally rather have.
Supra 2.0 vs Supra 3.0 – Wheels and Brakes
Another big ticket item that separates the 2.0 Supra vs 3.0 Supra in price is the 3.0’s seriously beefed-up brakes. It’s no secret that if you are intending to do any performance driving, good brakes are one of the key requisites. The 2023 2.0 Supra comes standard with 13-inch discs with single-piston calipers in the front. That is likely plenty of stopping power for weekend duty for most people. However, single-piston calipers are likely to reach their breaking point during heavy track use.
Compared to the 2.0 Supra, the 2023 Supra 3.0 has a much more involved setup. The 3.0 sees an upgrade to 13.7-inch rotors and Brembo four-piston calipers for herculean brake response. Obviously, when Brembo enters the mix, there are very few better options. While you might need to think about a brake upgrade if you are planning on abusing your 2.0 Supra, the 3.0 is ready to go right out of the box.
The discrepancy in brake size also has an effect on the size of standard wheels for both Supra’s as well. The 2023 2.0 Supra comes with 18” forged aluminum wheels as standard. Due to the massive Brembos need for additional clearance, the 3.0 comes with 19” forged aluminum wheels. Despite the difference in wheel size, both variants feature the same tire size. That means that the 2.0 Supra has a bit more sidewall, translating to a slightly more plush ride.
Supra 2.0 vs Supra 3.0 – Interior, Drivability, and Gas Mileage
From the outside, both the 2.0 and 3.0 Supras are nearly identical. The only distinguishing characteristics are the 3.0’s brushed stainless steel exhaust tips and larger wheels. Unsurprisingly, the 2023 3.0 Supra comes with a good deal more standard features than the 2.0. Most of the interior items on the 3.0 Supra are electric. On the other hand, most of the same features on the 2.0 Supra are manual i.e. seat controls.
The 3.0 Supra also comes standard with a number of creature comforts that the 2.0 Supra lacks. The 3.0 introduces heated seats, wireless device charging, a 10-speaker HiFi sound system, and an 8.8” touchscreen display. Upping the ante even further is the 3.0 Premium, making a 12-speaker JBL sound system, full-color heads-up display, Apple Car Play, and Brembo brakes standard.
While some people might not mind the stripped-back nature of the 2.0 Supra as a track/weekend toy, that sentiment might change if you plan on daily driving your Supra for an extended period of time. If you do fall into that camp, the additional power combined with the upgraded amenities might be worth springing for the 3.0.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, both Supra variants are some of the most efficient cars in their class. Due to the fact that the 2023 2.0 Supra has two fewer cylinders, it’s no secret that it is the more fuel-efficient option. The 2.0 Supra has a 25/31/27 city/highway/combined split, which is pretty dang impressive for a sports car. By contrast, the 3.0 Supra is rated at 19/27/21 city/highway/combined. Still pretty good for a 382-horsepower turbo 6-cylinder.
2023 Toyota 2.0 Supra vs 2023 Toyota 3.0 Supra Summary
While the 2023 2.0 Supra and 2023 3.0 Supra look nearly identical at surface level, there are actually a substantial number of differences between the two. That is to be expected, I suppose, with the $10,000 price disparity between the two. While these differences matter quite a bit as far as how the two cars handle and behave, both the 2.0 Supra vs 3.0 Supra have their own strong suits.
Obviously, the most glaring and important difference between the two Supra models is the engine found in each. Both 2023 Supras have BMW-sourced powerplants that make adequate horsepower and have been proven reliable by the number of BMW vehicles that have utilized both the B48 and B58 engines so far. While the B48 engine is the less powerful engine option by a significant margin, the BMW B48 is known to be highly modifiable and strong. The same can be said for the BMW B58 as well.
Looking at the two side by side, it is clear that each MkV Supra is intended for a different consumer. The 2.0, while slightly lazier in the performance department, is the perfect weekend toy with a chuckable nature due to being significantly lighter than the 3.0. The 3.0 Supra, on the other hand, is ready out of the box for heavy track duty. Ultimately, the 3.0 does most things better and is the preferred option for a daily driver. However, the 2.0 undoubtedly has a place in the Supra lineup and is a good option for those looking for a capable sports car.