Few performance cars are as revered as the original BMW M3. We’re talking the E30, built in the 1980s with understated styling and an S14 four-pot screaming away under the hood. It’s a formula you just don’t mess with, and yet, here we have an E30 M3 packing power from … Toyota? Maybe now the BMW enthusiasts understand how Supra fans feel.
The engine in this race-prepped BMW is a 2JZ, so it’s certainly not hurting for power. In fact, it’s really not hurting, because this iconic inline-six isn’t remotely close to being stock. We aren’t privy to a list of engine modifications, nor do we know other mods on this BMW. Per the video, the mods list alone would likely require a 10-minute feature all its own, but here are some takeaways. It’s a dry-sump setup with a fuel cell using E90 race fuel. The car is gutted, caged, and a sequential transmission sends power to the rear wheels. How much power? No less than 1,300 horsepower to the wheels. So yeah, this E30 moves.
That fact is made abundantly clear within just a few seconds of entering the Nürburgring. The car accelerates from 30 to approximately 130 mph in 10 seconds, and it wasn’t a full-throttle blast as we see the driver’s right foot floating on the pedal through the pull. Fortunately, traffic is light on the Nordschleife, so we enjoy more in-car action of the E30 clipping apexes and accelerating out with very impressive speed. The car reaches 163 mph early on at Kottenborn and nearly matches it going up the hill at Kesselchen, hitting 159 mph. And frankly, the speed looks conservative in this context.
We’d love to tell you the awesome bridge-to-gantry time for this Toyota-powered Bimmer, but race car gremlins brought the lap to an early close. On the back half of the track near Brünnchen, the driver slows considerably. Some discussion takes place between the driver and co-driver, at which point the video cuts to the pits. Apparently, the M3 sheered two lug studs on the left rear wheel, and there could’ve been some driveshaft issues as well. Such is life with a 1,300-hp race car.
So yeah, there might be some irony in a classic BMW M3 tearing up a race track with a Toyota engine. But there’s no denying this old E30 is supremely quick.