Toyota introduced the GR engine family in 2005 as a replacement for the outdated MZ, JZ, and VZ engines. Like the engines it replaced, the 2GR uses a 6-cylinder design, although not in an inline configuration like the JZ series, and has proven to be a very reliable engine.
The 2GR-FE doesn’t have the same cult following as the 1UZ or 2JZ, but it’s still a great engine with lots of cool features. Toyota uses the 2GR-FE in various applications, from daily drivers to British supercars, making it extremely versatile.
2GR-FE: Engine Basics and Specs
The 2GR-FE uses an open deck V6 with an aluminum cylinder block and aluminum cylinder heads. This all-aluminum design helps save weight and improve thermal efficiency, ultimately increasing fuel economy.
Inside the 2GR-FE, Toyota uses a DOHC design with 4-valves per cylinder to improve power and efficiency. It also features advanced technologies such as forged steel connecting rods, cast aluminum lower intake manifold, and Toyota’s Dual VVT-i system.
The dual VVT-i system helps increase power and torque while maintaining good efficiency. This VVT system works by adjusting both the intake and exhaust camshaft timing on the fly, allowing the ECU to optimize valve overlay on the fly.
The 2GR’s open deck helps improve the cooling system’s efficiency. However, the open deck design can become a limiting factor when making a ton of horsepower. The open deck design isn’t a problem as long as you aren’t trying to make 600hp or more. Plus, the open deck provides much better cooling, which means better thermal efficiency.
Later versions of this engine used Toyota’s direct injection system, further improving power and efficiency.
- Production Run: 2005 – Current
- Cylinder Block Material: Aluminum
- Cylinder Head Material: Aluminum
- Valvetrain: Dual Over Head Cams – Four-Valve per Cylinder
- Stroke: 83mm
- Bore: 94mm
- Compression Ratio: 10.8:1, 11.8:1, 12.5:1, 13:1
- Horsepower: 268hp to 296hp
- Torque: 248 lb-ft to 260 lb-ft
Cars That Came With The 2GR-FE
Like pretty much every other Toyota engine, Toyota used the 2GR in lots of different vehicles over the years. Why develop an entirely new engine when you can just adapt the current one for different models.
Lotus even used this engine in their Evora S model, which outputs 345 horsepower thanks to its supercharger.
- 2004 – present: Toyota Avalon
- 2006 – 2012: Toyota Aurion
- 2005 – 2012: Toyota RAV4
- 2006 – present: Toyota Estima
- 2006 – present: Toyota Camry
- 2006 – present: Lexus ES 350
- 2007 – 2015: Lexus RX 350
- 2007 – 2016: Toyota Highlander
- 2007 – 2012: Toyota Blade
- 2007 – 2013: Toyota Mark X Zio
- 2008 – present: Toyota Alphard
- 2008 – 2016: Toyota Venza
- 2009 – 2016: Toyota Sienna
- 2009 – present: Lotus Evora
- 2011 – present: Lotus Evora S
- 2012: Lotus Exige S
2GR-FE: Known Problems
In the past, many Toyota engines were known for excessive oil consumption, such as the 2AZ-FE engine. Piston rings and valve stems are the most common cause of this issue. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty expensive repair, so keep an eye out for this issue if you’re ever buying a car with the 2GR!
Luckily, the oil burning issue doesn’t affect the 2GR-FE as badly as other Toyota engines.
After some research, the idler pulley was the only real problem we could find that was consistent across multiple 2GR engines.
When this pulley starts to go bad, it can cause belt squeak or load rattling noises. Toyota has a heavy-duty version of this component available, and many owners upgrade to that part to fix the issue.
2GR-FE: Tuning Potential
With Honda engines, most people will go for a naturally aspirated build. The trend with Toyota engines seems to be superchargers, and the 2GR-FE is no different.
After some research, it appears most 2GR-FE owners agree that a supercharger is the best bang for buck way to get power out of the engine. Toyota even offered some cars with a supercharged version of this engine, using their TRD supercharger.
If you can find a good functioning TRD supercharger, that’s a great option since Toyota quite literally designed it for this engine. If you can’t find a good used TRD supercharger, a ROTREX supercharger kit is also very common and pretty easy to install. A supercharger running around 6psi of boost increases power output by 40hp and 40lb-ft of torque.
That’s with stock everything other than the supercharger. With a full exhaust and some other mods, you can imagine just how much power the little 2GR-FE can make. Some people turbocharge this engine, but that’s a lot less common. The 2GR-FE reacts surprisingly well to performance upgrades, so you may be satisfied with a basic bolt-on build.
The FSE variant of the 2GR brings some nifty advancements which increase power and efficiency. The biggest upgrade for this engine is Toyota’s D4S twin fuel injection system. This system combines direct injection with the standard port injection, which Ford is also doing on their latest EcoBoost engines.
You might be wondering why Toyota would use both port and direct injection, and that’s because they both have minor flaws but can work together to cover each other’s flaws. Port injection is simple, cheap, and helps keep carbon buildup off the back of the intake valves. On the other hand, direct injection offers much better precision to the fuel spray and timing.
With this twin fuel injection system, power is increased to 305 horsepower. That may not sound like a huge amount, but you must remember this is a naturally aspirated 3.5L engine.
Kia’s new stinger GT only achieves 350 horsepower with a twin-turbo V6, so achieving 305 horsepower without turbos is pretty darn impressive. That’s not exactly a fair comparison since the Kia engine also produces significantly more torque than the 2GR-FE, but the point stands: 305 horsepower is pretty great for a naturally aspirated 3.5L engine.
If you combine it with a supercharger, power is increased to 350+ horsepower. However, depending on the size of the supercharger pulley and what other mods are done to the engine, you can make even more power. With some additional modifications such as an intake system, exhaust, and tuning, you can squeeze the 2GR-FSE over 400 horsepower. Not bad for a Toyota V6!
Just like the 2AZ-FXE, the 2GR-FEX uses an Atkinson cycle design. This works by effectively reducing the compression stroke and leaving the exhaust stroke as it was. This improves efficiency by a massive amount without introducing any unnecessary complexity.
On top of the Atkinson cycle design, this engine also uses VVT-i like the other 2GR variants and adds an EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) cooler.
By cooling the EGR system, Toyota increased the compression ratio up to 13:1 without having to worry about the exhaust gases becoming excessively hot. The highest power achieved by this 2GR variant is 292 horsepower in the Lexus GS 450h.
If you’re still craving more information on the 2GR engine, check out the Wikipedia Toyota GR page!