Engine swaps in BMW are nothing new, especially when the E30 3 Series is involved. Enthusiasts and tuners love to swap bigger, more powerful engines into the bay of an E30 3 Series. Doing so creates a power-to-weight ratio that’s absurd and makes for incredible fun. However, what about swapping an old E30 M3 racing engine into a more modern BMW?
Cencini Sport Cars Garage created an E90 BMW M3 WTCC racer that uses an the same 2.3 liter four-cylinder engine from an E30 M3 DTM racing car. According to the poster of this video, this racer makes 320 hp at an astonishing 8,200 rpm. While that might not sound like a lot of power, especially in an E90 M3 which is far bigger and heavier than the E30 M3 it came from, it’s plenty. This E90 M3 WTCC is stripped out and lightened dramatically, so as to go racing obviously, so 320 hp is more than enough to be fast. What helps even further is the relative lack of weight.
Compared to the old 4.0 liter naturally-aspirated V8 from the E90, which was very modern and quite heavy, the E30 M3 DTM’s four-pot is very small and very light. So that removes a significant amount of weight off the nose, making turn-in sharper and giving it better front-end grip, which will help in racing. It’s also less complicated, meaning better reliability. Remember, BMW went racing with this engine for a very long time and it’s a very durable, strong engine.
The best part, though, isn’t the power or the lack of weight. It’s the noise. Dear lord, the noise. The sound of old-school racing engines never gets old. It sounds brilliant here, shrieking and screaming all the way to its stratospheric redline. Enthusiasts often rave about the naturally-aspirated V8 of the E90/E92 M3 or the screaming V10 of the E60-gen M5. I’d rather have this. Give me an old-school, pure motorsport engine any day of the week and twice on race day. How do I get one of these engines in an E36 and into my driveway?