This BMW 3 Series E30 is the textbook definition of a sleeper. It may look fairly stock on the outside, but it’s hiding a juicy secret underneath the hood. Gone is the original engine since it’s now rocking an M50. Not just any version of the six-cylinder unit, but a turbocharged version. In addition, displacement has been bumped to 3 liters.

When BMW was installing the M50 engine in the first half of the 1990s, output varied from as low as 148 hp in the 520i E34 to 321 hp for the hotter S50 variant in the M3 E36. Those numbers pale in comparison to this tricked-out E30 since it has about as much power as today’s M3. The stroked engine delivers a healthy 502 hp, virtually matching the rear-wheel-drive M3 Competition G80.

With nearly 600 Nm (over 440 lb-ft) of torque and a low curb weight, the 3 Series is an absolute rocket. An onboard video shows the immaculate E30 being pushed hard, so much so that the speedometer can barely keep up. It’s certainly obsolete since the car is much faster than the maximum 220 km/h (137 mph) indicated by the speedo.

The tachometer isn’t working, but who needs it when you can hear the engine? A skilled driver will always know when to change gears. This heavily modified 3 Series E30 has over 265,000 kilometers (about 165,000 miles) on the clock, albeit that’s not entirely relevant given the engine swap. What matters is the car’s absurdly fast and looks excellent while doing it.

The in-gear acceleration is nothing short of impressive. The engine gives the impression it has endless resources regardless of rpm. It must be an absolute blast to drive, although likely intimidating given the overwhelming power-to-weight ratio. It might not be for the faint-hearted, but if you’re brave enough, the experience must be extremely rewarding.

Source: AutoTopNL / YouTube