BMW Z3 M Coupe Hides Turbo 2JZ Supra Engine Under Its Iconic Hood, Can Drift

BMW Z3 M Coupe 2JZ swap 10 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
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Toyota and BMW have famously gotten together to work on the new Supra and Z4 models, but this particular car shows an unofficial collaboration between the two brands dating way further back than that.
The BMW Z3 M Coupe is the kind of car that only the brave bought back when you could have one as new, and that's because it was prone to ridicule. It has tons of nicknames, none particularly flattering - think "hearse," "bread van," or "clown shoe" - but go beyond its Marmite looks, and you'll find an excellent driver's car.

Depending on the market, the engine in the Z3 M Coupe could develop as little as 240 PS (237 hp) or, later on, as much as 321 PS (316 hp). However, it was a naturally aspirated straight-six mated to a five-speed manual, so it was more about the delivery than raw numbers.

But 300-odd horsepower isn't a lot, particularly when you feel the rest of the car could deal with more than that. That's what this BMW Z3 M Coupe owner from South Africa thought, but since these cars are becoming a bit of a collector's item, he decided not to mess with its original engine and transmission pair.

Instead, he had them removed and replaced with an equally legendary unit, though for different reasons: a Japanese 2JZ of Toyota Supra fame. Nothing was stopping the owner from turbocharging this engine, and so he did, to the tune of roughly 540 hp.

He quickly realized that might be too much for a small, light, rear-wheel-driven car with a manual transmission, so the turbocharger was down-tuned to deliver a more restrained 400+ hp. As for the transmission, it was also borrowed from a Toyota, except one of the more workhorsey type: that would be a diesel Hilux pickup truck and its five-speed manual.

The gearing on that transmission means that the 2JZ-swapped Z3 M Coupe will hit 80 mph (130 km/h) in second gear, which has us wondering what the top speed on that combo is. Since this test doesn't take place on the Autobahn or the endless runway of an airfield, that's a question that will remain unanswered.

The cool thing about the swap - apart from the fact it uses a 2JZ, which can make anything cool - is that it's completely reversible. When (or if) the owner decides to part with the BMW, he can very well sell it as completely stock, which is how these Z3 M Coupes are most valuable. And when he does, he'll be left with a lot of money and a Supra engine to slot in a new car - not a bad situation to find yourself in.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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