The MR2 Supra Debate – Which Is Best? (3rd Gen MR2 vs 4th Gen Supra)

Petrol heads are ever loyal to their favorite brands and there has been a huge amount of past evidence for disputes in the Japanese car manufacturing space. Mitsubishi vs Subaru comes to mind. One side battling the other in a constant war of won vs lost rally championships and off-roading prowess.

One thing we can pretty much all agree on though is that the Toyota Supra is one of the absolutely iconic vehicles of the past 40 years. But, once again, we must fall into the age-old trap question – which is better? The 3rd Gen MR2 Supra vs the 4th Gen Supra – The ultimate comparison.

Introducing The Toyota Supra

The Toyota Supra first entered the motoring world in April 1978 with the original Celica Supra. What was at the time a bold change in style and mechanical engineering has since become almost commonplace and dare we say it, ordinary. But naturally, that was not always the case.

The Supra has evolved, morphed, died, and been reborn again for the past 44 years. With many design changes and mechanical alterations included the Supra has managed to maintain its individuality and its popularity has never wavered. The latest Supra was the 2021 GR and while it is obviously very different from its ancient ancestor the Celica, they still look pretty darn alike. You can tell they are family.

The Third Generation MR2 Supra

So, the scene has been set, we are all well aware of the heck a Toyota Supra is and why they are so special. But in the battle for the top spot, what makes the MR2 Supra stand out? The Mr2 is the successor to the wildly popular Mk2 MR2 and it launched in late 1999. Clearly, Toyota intended to end the millennium with a bag. And they did.

The MR2 Supra came with an automatic retractable roof, a luxury interior, lowered suspension, and a car that focused on comfortability and precision rather than pure power and speed. Not that it was lacking in the latter.

The Fourth Generation Supra

Naturally, the fourth follows the third and we now have the 4th Gen Supra hitting the mean streets. The fourth generation of Supra’s began way back in 1993 but the 4th gen MKIV didn’t hit the markets until late 2002. Obviously, Toyota was taking its time with perfection in mind. The MKIV was available in coupe or Targa, both with a front-mounted engine and rear-wheel drive. The 4th gen supra focused on being aerodynamic and swifter, at the cost of luxury. And at the cost of being able to retract the roof.

Which Is Faster MR2 Supra vs 4th Gen Supra?

In terms of horsepower, the winner is unequivocally the 4th gen Supra. The MR2 Supra, while fast and reasonably agile, maxes out at about 182 brake horsepower, in the most recent models. Across the entire generation of MR2 Supra’s, it ranges from 134 bhp to 182 bhp but for the sake of this argument let’s use the top figure.

Now, compared to the 4th gen Supra’s the MR2 Supra shows its age. The MKIV Supra’s can have as much as 321 horsepower. Something to note is that while the 3rd and 4th gen vary substantially in actual horsepower their top speeds are not overly different. In the United States at least. The reason is that outside of Japan all 4th Gen Supra’s are limited to 155mph whereas in Japan they can hit 177mph. Even while being held back the 4th gen is clearly faster.

Which Is More Powerful MR2 Supra vs 4th Gen Supra?

Torque is power and these cars have got a lot of it. The MR2 Supra has a pretty impressive torque to weight ratio but still only weighs in at 126 lb-ft of torque at 4400rpm. Which is nothing to turn your nose up at. In a convertible no less. But, unfortunately, the 4th gen Supra’s come out on top once again as the newest models of the MKIV line have as much as 315 lb-ft of torque. Which is once again absolutely nothing to turn your nose up at.

Which Is Cooler MR2 Supra vs 4th Gen Supra?

Cooler is subjective so that’s hard to provide a firm answer. However, they both fit very different aesthetics so which is cooler very well may depend on what it is you want to do to your car. If you are looking for a convertible to cruise around in mid-summer, taking in the rays, and looking cool doing it. Obviously, the MR2 Supra stands out. An automatic soft top made with luxury in mind, even if it’s early 2000s luxury, is always a winner. Conversely, if you are looking for something a little tougher. Something you can lower, fit a custom spoiler too, and push to its breaking point. The 4th Gen Supra is definitely cooler.

Which Is Best And Which Is Best Value For Money MR2 Supra vs 4th Gen Supra?

Again, the best is hard to put your finger on. We all value different things more. However, in terms of raw power and performance. The 4th Gen Supra takes this competition by a landslide. And shouldn’t it? It’s a whole generation newer. No wonder it’s quicker. No wonder it’s more powerful. It may not have quite worked out how to become convertible yet but that’s beside the point!

If you are looking for something a little more subtle, and you do like the idea of cruising around with the top down taking in the sights, the MR2 Supra is surely the winner. In terms of value for money though? The MR2 Supra has to win. Sure, it is not quite as fast or as agile and it may start to feel a little tired 15 years later. But it is so much cheaper and so much more accessible than the MKIV. The MR2 Supra has to be the best value for money.


Hopefully, this has given you something to think about if you were on the fence about buying either of these amazing vehicles then your decision might be a little easier. It’s not an easy one and this article alone probably won’t sway you one way or the other. But, given they shine in very different ways, it almost certainly comes down to the “$:BHP” ratio you are most comfortable with. And how much you value the idea of a soft top.

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