Although some were originally critical of the E9x M3 going V8 and, as they perceived it, a bit soft, the car’s ‘S65‘ 4.0-litre engine has nonetheless gone down as one of the all-time BMW greats. It’s one of the best, most unique things about the car – the company never used the engine again in a road-going setting. So, imagine my surprise when a colleague messaged me about an E92 M3 he spotted for sale in Cape Town, South Africa with something else under the bonnet.
Its naturally-aspirated S65 is long gone, replaced with a Nissan 2JZ-GTE packing a single turbo conversion. This inline-six drives the rear wheels via an E46 3-series six-speed gearbox and is good for 400bhp – a little less than the stock V8 this car left the factory with. The engine management system comes from South African firm Dicktator.
2JZ-converted E92 M3s aren’t actually anything new, but all of the examples we’ve seen before have been drift cars. Dropping the more highly strung, fragile S65 for the burly, tried-and-tested Nissan lump makes sense, particularly as its iron block allows for ridiculous figures to be extracted.
Our classifieds find certainly isn’t a drift sledge. Outwardly, it looks damn near stock, save for a drop in ride height from some BC coilovers, and a Vorsteiner carbon fibre boot lid. The whole shebang has been resprayed in Fire Orange, the same hue as the mighty E92 M3 GTS. It’s said to be in good condition overall and is listed on Facebook Marketplace for 320,000 Rand, which is just over £16,000.
There might well be more to the story here that would explain this curious conversion. The M3 could have suffered some kind of engine issue that prompted the switch – S65s can be susceptible to rod bearing failure, after all. Or perhaps the owner merely dropped the 2JZ in for the sheer hell of it.
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Whatever the reason, you’d think a hefty increase in power would have at been planned originally. Perhaps the next owner will oblige.
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