The New Supra Engine Might Actually be Better than BMW’s M Engine

The new 2020 Toyota Supra gets a lot of internet bashing for “being a BMW.” It’s almost as if people believe Toyota is still good at building sports cars on their own. The last “Toyota only” sports car was the MR-2 Spyder of almost 20 years ago. By partnering with BMW Toyota not only inherited a ton of free chassis R&D, but they also got to take advantage of BMW’s wonderful inline 6 cylinder engines.

BMW’s M division has always made special engines. They have also always been designated with an S in the engine code. The famous E46 M3 used the equally famous S54. The E92 M3 debuted with an amazing 4.0 V8 dubbed the S65, which was based off the M5’s S85 V10. Ask any E30 owner what engine they wish powered their car and the S50 or S52 from the E36 M3 would be on the top of their lists. The BMW M2 debuted in 2015 with the N55 engine, not a “true” M engine. But in 2017 the M2 became available in competition trim which included the M3 and M4’s S55 drivetrain. The true M engine everyone thought would find its way into the new Supra.

We now know the Supra did not get an S55, but rather the B58 engine which is found in non-M “40i” trims of the 2, 3 and 4 series models of BMW. It may not be an M engine, but in this case that may not be a bad thing.

The last Toyota engineered sports car – the MR2 Spyder. I think we can all be glad BMW assisted in the MK-V Supra!

The S55 engine was first introduced in 2013 in the current generation BMW M3 and now resides in the BMW M2 Competiton as well. It is a 3.0L twin-turbo in-line 6 cylinder engine rated at approximately 405hp depending on the trim. The B58 engine found in the Supra is rated at only 335hp. Despite being down 70hp on paper the B58 shares a lot of similarities with the S55, and even has some benefits over its motorsport derived sibling. Both engines displace 3 liters and have six cylinders. Both engines sport dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing on both camshafts and variable lift on the intake camshaft. Both are turbocharged and both utilize water to air inter cooling. Both are chain-driven engines and are clad with plastic intake manifolds that house electronic throttles. Both are closed deck designs and employ direct injection and coil on plug ignition systems. With all that said, why would BMW bother making two engines if there were no important differences?

The S55 uses 89.6mm bore with a short 80mm stroke to get to 3 liters and revs to 7,500rpm. The decidedly less motorsport inspired B58 creates 3.0 liters by way of an 82mm bore and a much longer 94.6mm stroke and only manages 7,000rpm. The B58’s smaller bore allows the engine to be shorter in overall length resulting in a stronger crankshaft, and the considerably longer stroke means longer connecting rods for reduced friction. The B58 is part of BMW’s new modular engine design. The engine block is identical to the diesel B57. Diesel’s don’t have short strokes. 

Supra B58 crankshaft. Notice the timing chain and oil pump chain drive on the rear end of the crankshaft. Keeping the chains on the opposite end from the belt driven accessories keeps the engine as short as possible.

The S55 uses tried and true twin turbocharging for fast response and big power. There are two separate exhaust manifolds using a 3:1 design that feed into their respective turbochargers. Both turbochargers then expel their compressed air into a single water to air heat exchanger mounted atop the cam cover area. After intercooling, the air enters the engine through the electronic throttle body. The B58, however, has a much different cylinder head that incorporates an ‘internal’ exhaust manifold into the cylinder head casting. The head has only 2 exhaust ports, one for each scroll of the twin-scroll single turbocharger used on the B58. Integrated exhaust manifolds are becoming common as they allow for faster heater of catalytic converters resulting in lower tailpipe emissions. As emission standards become stricter, this will probably become a more ubiquitous design. After the intake air is compressed by the turbocharger it travels directly to the electronic throttle and then enters the water to air heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is molded inside the plastic intake manifold. This makes for excellent use of space and keeps charge air piping routing very short for good response, but also means that any upgraded intercooler will require a new intake manifold as well (the current manifold is molded as one piece without a way to remove the heat exchanger separately). Both engines use the exhaust camshaft to drive the mechanical high-pressure direct injection fuel pump. Both engines have their camshafts driven by chains. The S55 has its timing chain mounted traditionally, in the front of the engine. The B58 moves the camshaft chain, oil pump drive gear, and chain to the rear of the engine. This is done to make the overall engine length shorter so that belt-driven accessories can reside by themselves at the front. 

S55 exhaust manifolds and turbochargers. Each turbocharger is fed by 3 cylinders’ exhaust pulses.

46 comments

    1. I won’t disagree that the Germans typically make complicated engines. That being said, it’s usually because they’re at the forefront of production engine design and they’re also chasing maximum efficiency and highest levels of refinement. People that buy new M3s demand a much more rounded engine than say someone who likes the idea of the 7.0 pushrod LS7 in the z28 Camaro.

      Also, this is just the way all modern engines are going. Small (relatively), turbocharged, direct injected, lots of use of plastics for NVH and weight reduction, jumping through crazy hoops to meet emissions and noise standards while still producing 400hp and giving the customer 30mpg that they all demand. It’s no walk in the park I’m sure.

    2. Typical butthurt, fan boi garbage. BMW has been making the best straight six engines for over 40 years. This engine is lighter than the 2JZ while also being more efficient, cheaper, more compact, and ultimately, more powerful through better control of the engine in stock form. People are already making huge power on this and have been making huge power for years on the N54 and S55 before that. You simply hate it because it isn’t a 3JZ which never would have happened. The new Supra is superior in every measurable and intangible metric except for YouTube likes.

  1. Points out the MR2 as Toyota’s prowess at making a sports car at a time when the public were buying SUVs but neglects any Lexus platform made from the LFA through today?
    The amount of plastic in these bmw engines is their downfall, bmw tuners have already pointed this out in the Supraforums. These will not make 1000hp without seriois modification, Papdakis is sorely mistaken by conparing it to the 2jzgte simple due to its forged crankshaft, To think that Toyota needed BMW to make a decent sports car platform is false. They wanted a cheap knockoff to slap the supra badge on and this is what they got with the MKV Zupra. Over 200 Launch editions still unsold, I dare to say its not selling well at all because they outcasted the people who made the Supras popular well after it’s production end. We were ready to spend $75k on a true JZA80 successor. We didnt want thia BMW in Toyota clothing.
    With the C8 showcasing what a car company can achieve when you let you team run free, it will further cut their forecast sales. As a Supra owner, Tada shouldnt have been given this project. I plan to spend my money on a C8 corvette in a couple years.

    1. I’d argue that Lexus has not made a sports car LFA aside. The LFA as amazing as it was, wasn’t really an attainable sports car. I put it on Enzo/Carrera GT levels, including price.

      I can almost promise you someone will make 1,000hp on a relatively stock B58 sooner or later. Keep in mind we didn’t see those numbers from a 2jz until 15-20years after the Supra Mk4 ended production. I also don’t know that anyone thinks Toyota NEEDED BMW to make a decent sports car. But they did see it as an opportunity that made the most financial sense. I agree that I wanted to see more of a true Mk4 successor though, as I’m sure a lot of purists did/do.

      The C8 really blew the top off the modern attainable sports car market. That kind of dedicated chassis/suspension layout for that little money is astonishing. I bet the higher performance variants of the C8s are going to be real bombshells.

      1. 2j comment is ridiculous. I’m mk3 guy. And was making 600hp on 7m in late 90ties. Early 2000s there were lots of mk4s making well over 1000hp. Mind you mk4 production ended in 1997. So 15-20 years after production ended is something you just made up since you obviously wasn’t in the scene. There is obvious downfall after the stupid movie ruined it. And every kid started wanting a supra with stickers for extra power. I wouldn’t argue in BMW argument, since I do like BMW engines. But plastics tend to suck. In 20 years we’ll see. Untill then… I think it is smart move one Toyotas part as most people who will but it will drive it as is. There are plenty projects that are more fun.

    2. I will agree that the C8 is a better leap forward than the Mark V, and that many of the Lexus F platforms are great cars. The 5 liter V8 they use is a real treat; however, the worship of the Mark IV is completely misplaced. People bash the B58 because the imagine a 3JZ would be some incredible, world beating engine that it never would be. The 2JZ was dramatically overbuilt simply because Toyota could afford to with the favorable Yen at the time. If they tried to build a 3JZ now, it would have been no where near as good as this engine that is vastly superior to the 2JZ in ever measurable figure except aftermarket support. The B58 is lighter, more efficient, more compact, cheaper, will spool faster in any set-up, and will ultimately make more power than the 2JZs as the aftermarket supplies more parts for them. The 2JZ does not make 1000hp in stock trim; why should the B58 be expected to do so? I would venture to say that most of the people complaining about the new Supra couldn’t afford one anyway; it probably isn’t selling well (if that’s even true) because no one wants a 50K+ Toyota when they haven’t made a car worth owning in 20 years, especially when there are many great options near that price from better badges. Instead, they buy the M2, the GT350, the Cayman S (mildly used), the SS1LE, the TTRS, the ATS-V, or the RC-F.

  2. Have to hand it to motoiq for a nice long article about how BMW’s garden-variety 6 cylinder as found in the Supra is much less technically impressive than BMW’s M 6 cylinder, end it with “well maybe it doesn’t matter that the garden variety has 70 less horsepower” and then title it “The Supra engine might be better than the M!”

  3. Are you implying the MR-2 is bad? I’ve watched the Techno Pro Spirit MR-S destroy some cars with way more power than it on the touge. It also won the battle outright at one point. It has a Stock 2ZZ engine with ITBs, coilovers, and stock brakes! It had a full interior when it set records. It has gone sub 1 minute at Tsukuba. It’s a proper weapon! 😀

    1. Nikola, MR-S bad? No. Good…ehhhh. The MX-5 of that generation smashed it in most measurable ways and was a better base chassis and suspension geometry wise. Almost any 2200lb car can be fast on a Togue but that hardly means I’d call it a sports car.

      That being said. I LOVE the idea of a modern interpretation of the SW20. Something along the lines of an Alfa 4C with a manual sounds wonderful. Alpine A110 is getting rave reviews for similar reasons, but it appears the manual gearbox is dead. Not even offered in any of these cars. Guess I’ll be sticking with an ND Miata as my current choice of small sports cars.

      1. The mr-s is an extremely capable car people now are realizing it is a much better platform than the mx-5 miata. People get caught up with specs such as 50/50 weight distribution and double wishbone suspension(which the miata has). While the Mr-s didnt have these things they still put power down and destroy many cars while being nimble and enjoyable due the mid engine layout. And contrary to belief the car is very stable and doesnt snap around any more than a typical FR layout. drive one before making assumptions and watch some videos on how they perform and how much people enjoy the handling. Just because a car looks better on paper on every “measurable way”does not mean it amounts to a better car.

        1. I spoke from anecdotal evidence. Granted I’ve only driven the MR-S in autoX environment, but it was hardly amazing compared to the NB Miata that was rather astonishing how willing and fun the car was.

      2. Like I said. Techno Pro Spirit MR-S will do 59.X seconds around Tsukuba. I wonder how much you would need to do to the new Supra to get to that same time…

  4. Interesting breakdowns by different people with different goals. I have a 91 Celica GTE Turbo Alltrac with spare Japanese 3S GTE Engine-Trans take out 92 & 93? I bought car in 91, Garaged it, bought engine in 93, and have done nothing since. Now I’m a bit old to race it . But I do enjoy tech info, and still have dreams. Probably will sell total package, including new tires installed days before garaging.

    1. Hate to see it not getting used Doug. Those ST180s are legendary. I think Bringatrailer.com is probably the best current market to sell that type of car in.

  5. Lol
    That’s all I got JDM fan boy big surprise from big Brother? Get with it clowns it’s all fixed. Jokes lol all the way to someone you guaranteed don’t know. Think about that for 72 hrs just let that sink in…

  6. Very in-depth and formulated breakdown of the two engines. I’d love to hear your thoughts more on how this engine compares to the old and loved 2JZ and what kind of aftermarket potential you think it has?

    1. Good point Miguel. The S58 is the slightly updated version of the S55, but currently only available in the crossovers. It’s also extremely similar externally to the S55 regarding manifold and turbocharger/intercooler layout.

  7. Are you kidding? the S58 ‘M’ engine is already released. Its in the X4m and X3m…. and it would wipe the floor over the B58 in the Supra.

  8. As in every conversation there is 2 sides. A bmw driver will always love bmw. And same for supra drivers. I wont call this a supra, as really its just a bmw with supra badge. Yes been a whike since toyota made something but the original 2jz was a joint venture with yamaha. Im not putting down new bmw, im sure it deserves its hype. But the engine will never be a 2jz, thicker walls up high to handle big boost pressure, simese bores for strength, nice hard cast block and forged crank from factory. I can only see this engine reaching hp numbers of supra with a after market head . As the 6 into 2 exhaust which is internal on head could pose some serious flow restrictions, until i pull the bmw engine down, i wont comment of strength of block. Internal intercooler in inlet manifold. I see as restriction. The whole importance of the 2jz was bolt on horsepower, thats all you needed for 500kw+

    1. I agree with you on the cylinder head being the potential choke point regarding exhaust restriction. However the other restrictions you mention compared to 2jz were also restrictions on the 2jz. The 2j never made huge power on the stock turbochargers, intercoolers, exhaust manifolds, etc. I assume if those same hard parts could be changed on the B58, it too will make shocking power.

    2. One word – RELIABILITY – In 10 years the B58 will show its true BMW colors with a meriad of issues, just like every other BMW engine north of the M42, M20 and S14.

      1. Now I won’t have that said! The S62 in my E39 M5 was flawless for over 50k miles after I rebuilt the entire thing to fix the connecting rod it bent…oh wait..I see your point now.

  9. No I’m not glad that BMW Assist to Toyota with the engine I think the first Super it is a much better car than the BMW

  10. I think the real reason for the cam drive at the back of the engine is a reduction in torsional rotation forces on the crankshaft which results in timing fluctuations. The cam position is monitored by the ECU and timing variations due to torsion are much greater at the no-flywheel end of the crankshaft. I really doubt any savings in length is possible by moving the drive to the rear; but I would be interested to read some reasons.

    1. That’s an good point; I wouldn’t doubt if that benefit was also wanted. I think the generally accepted purpose of moving the camdrive to the rear is to shorten the engine. Maybe shortening is a bad term, but by having the timing chain and oil pump drive up against the firewall, it allows the belt driven accessories to be mounted where they otherwise might not be able to. Generally the front of the engine bay is more cramped due to surrounding radiator support/crash structure etc and the firewall flatter and more accepting of flat chain drive cover.

      Also with a rear sump and rear oil pump, having the chain that drives the oil pump and now the camshafts, mounted back there makes sense as well.

      1. I think the space required for a cam drive is the same at the front as at the rear. As I posted earlier, I’d like to read something about it other than your opinion.

  11. If it’s better why does it make less power than the same engine in the BMW? Is so you can brag about it making 180 more hp instead of just 150.

  12. Damn, lot of fanboy’s around here. People are really oblivious to there own misconceptions….

    I’ll some up why Rob Evans & Stephan Papadakis are most likely right:
    – Papadakis:
    Anybody looked at his resume? He clearly does know what he is talking about.
    – The 2JZ is a heavy beast:
    It’s a sportscar for crying out loud. Weight is always the enemy. Especially on turn’s, acceleration and braking. Over here in Europe we have lots of them, but most people that use them can only drive in straight line.
    – Tuneability:
    If its not allready tuneable it will be eventually. It’s just a matter of time. And if its not available you can always develop an engine yourself. Or are people that lazy in that they can only tune a car with off the shelf parts?
    -Pricetag:
    It’s a European car, what do you expect? A C7 Corvette Stingray coupe is € 125.000,–. Thats about the equavalent of $ 137.000,– in US currency. The new Supra costs €82.000,–
    – Plastic:
    Why should that be a bad thing? If I had the choice I would choose plastic over metal. Simple fact: Plastic is a way better insulator then metal will ever be. That means more efficient intake temps, which equalls less strain on the engine. Or the same strain on more boost. Pick what you want. It depends on what it was designed for in the first place.

    Whats wrong with the engine:
    – Most likely the integration and cost reduction of the engine: Intercooler in the intake: Good if you keep it stock, because way less likely to leak, but from a performance perspective its a bottleneck. Then again: thats where the aftermarket is for or just build it yourself.
    – Also most likely the exhaust manifold, or the lack thereoff. The firing order should be 1 – 5 – 3 – 6 – 2 – 4, so timing wise there isn’t a real problem with manifold as it as. They fire like 2 independant 3 cilinders, with nice even intervals, It just depends on the short side radius.
    Easiest way to fix it: Get a better head or cut the manifold off, drill holes for the bolts and machine the surface. It’ll happen eventually, but just not right now.

    And don’t get me wrong: I used to work for Toyota in Germany as a motorsport engineer, so I do have a strong link with the company….

    1. These are good points. I’d be willing to bet no one is going to be swapping cylinder heads or modifying them to traditional external manifold style anytime soon though. I’d probably even say the same for the intake manifold for the average joe. People will get these, put downpipes and intakes on and MAYBE an enlarged stock frame turbo and that’ll be it. The guys that track these seriously (they’ll be few) will be the ones fabricating intake manifolds and running normal external intercooler systems.

      And yes, Papadakis’s expertise and knowledge can’t be overstated.

      1. You’re most likely right about the swapping part. And thats what I find odd about most comments. People wanting a 1000 horsepower, without an understanding about what it takes to run that stuff on a daily basis and keeping it reliable. Let alone keeping emissions in check. American road legal is laughable compaired to what we have here.

        As for the exhaust temps: They will be higher, as the head is subjected to more of the exhaust heat before exiting the head. But from an emissions standpoint that isn’t a bad thing: cats heat up quicker that way.

        Main issues arise on extraction though, as it looks like cilinders 1 and 6 have a longer runner compaired to 3 and 4. It will eventually lead to turbo bearing failure caused by uneven pressure pulses.

        What I am wondering though: How much of the people complaining now actually bought a Supra new en still drive them today? My guess is fairly few? Most of them got them second hand. So who cares if the car is expensive now? Toyota is only interested in the showroom buyers, not what happens after the warranties expire. Allmost no car company is.

        And as for the B58 –> S58 compairison: 6 intake runners, 6 exhaust runners. It actually looks like the S58 cilinder head can be swapped with the S58, as they are the same dimension wise. But I can’t tell you anything about the deck surface , if there even is any?

        1. People want whatever is cool. 500hp was cool 10-15years ago. Now people want 1,000whp. And you’re right, 80% of people that say they want it havent even driven a car with half that power before. It’s all for ‘the gram’

          S58 head swap will be the S50 head swap of
          15 years from now! Whatever keeps the wrenching and experimenting going, I’m all for.

          1. Just count yourself lucky: I’ve had to used cilinder heads of different manufacturers and make them fit (blocking/making new cooling/oiling passages) .

  13. My $.02 as a non Toyota fan….Is it an inherently good sports car, yes, by the numbers it most certainly should be. Is it anything close to what people that were most excited about the new Supra were expecting or wanted? Not just no but hell no. There have been a lot of good sports cars that never got any attention and quickly died out just because the enthusiasm and support wasn’t there. There are also many many arguably bad cars that have cult fallowing’s because they ignite a strong passion (for me it’s the RX-7 and rotaries in general, also Subaru’s with their “horrible EJ engines”) The Supra already a had strong passion from its fans but then Toyota short cut the end product thinking that nobody would care. Problem is the only people that like Toyota are either supper concerned with resale and economy, or those who still hold onto ideas of the glory days when you could get something called an Alltrac and or a bloated barge with twin turbos and leather just because it was cool. Toyota flat out missed the mark and alienated the core Supra fallowing by gutting a legitimate legend and replacing it with not just a thinly vailed imposter but one that doesnt even have a japanise soul to boot!

    1. Agreed on all counts. I think the Supra is the ‘it’ car right now, but fanfare will die down quickly by year 2-3. Same way with the ‘86’/BRZ. Was super hyped for that car, and by the time it arrived it was such a complete let down drivetrain wise that O didn’t care how nice the chassis was.

      1. Yes but no. The core of the “86” is still there…A vehicle that is most importantly s simple relatively cheap sports car with amazing potential regardless of brand or the (relative) income of the potential buyer. The most hard core Subaru and or Toyota fanatics always understood the BRZ/86 was going to be collaboration that was meant to be a multi-manufacturer/cheap yet fun car with potential. I understand why certain people that work for or are supported by certain companies are obligated to say certain things. But at the end of the day the largest auto manufacturer in the world partnering with the 14t largest to produce one of it’s most iconic performance car just because it makes financial dollars doesn’t justify alienating the strongest of its followers. Imagine if BMW asked GM or Ford to make the M6 chassis, people would be pissed but it would sell. Now imagine if they asked them to make the M3 chassis AND engine!!! ANARCHRY!!!!

        1. The difference is BMW has been making performance cars consistently since the 70s with several options available at any time. Toyota hasn’t made a real sports car in 20 years. The GT86 is a great canvas but requires a great deal of aftermarket parts and a new motor. Lexus has made two or three good models, but the Supra guys would never have accepted a Supra based of the Lexus RC-F platform. The RC-F has a 10 inch longer wheelbase and an NA V8; so, the chassis and engine wouldn’t work. The new Supra is better than the Mark IV in every measurable metric except current aftermarket options; yet, all the fan bois that can’t afford it anyway complain. Toyota is a commuter car brand now; so, they went to a performance brand for help.

  14. Now, waiting for someone to do a B58/S58 comparison since the S58 is already available on the new X3M/X4M and slated for the incoming new M3/M4.
    Btw, will the internal exhaust routing have any effects on increased head temperature and disadvantages?

    1. Maybe I’ll do this, but the S58 is extremely similar in architecture to the S55. The ‘internal’ exhaust routing isn’t really any different than each valve having it’s own port, so I can’t see any disadvantages.
      If anything, there may be cooling passages plumbed near the area to help cool exhaust valves or something of the sort.

  15. I was one of the original nay-sayers of the new Supra, assuming it was just a Z4 with a Toyota badge slapped on it. After I watched the Papadakis tear-down video, I realized how much new technology went into this development. Props to Toyota for realizing it would be better to simply go with something that works well than try to reinvent it and have to charge double the price for the same outcome.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*