Most research on the predictors of successful reading comprehension in a second language (L2) has been focused on cognitive factors. Very few studies exist on how motivational factors impact L2 reading comprehension. In this study, 179 Chinese college students read passages in English (their L2) and answered either literal, relatively superficial questions reflecting text-based comprehension (TBC) or deeper, inferential and critical questions reflecting higher order comprehension (HOC). The participants also completed a survey on their reasons for studying English and perceptions of their abilities. Multiple regression analyses indicated that intrinsic motivation had more predictive power on HOC than TBC, whereas extrinsic motivation had more predictive power on TBC than HOC. The educational implications of these interrelationships between different components of motivation and L2 comprehension levels for English language learners are discussed.