The BMW E30 M3 is regarded by many to be one of the greatest BMWs ever built. This iconic sports sedan is considered the genesis of the sports sedan and the beginning of the BMW M Division’s influence on BMW road cars. Today E30 M3 are coveted pieces of history that impress with superior road manners and a connection lacking in modern performance cars. This leads us to our question, is it ok to engine swap an E30 M3? Well, the subject in today’s video engine swapped his E30 M3 removing the stock S14 4-cylinder engine with the S54 Straight-6 from the E46 M3.
The BMW E30 M3 was a game-changer when it debuted in 1986 blending sports car performance into the body of a saloon car. Many reference the E30 M3’s balance and ability to carry serious momentum around corners. The E30 M3 was light on its feet and relied on chassis tuning to evoke driving pleasure. The stout S14 4-cylinder engine produced a respectable 192 horsepower when fitted with a catalytic converter. Thankfully the E30 M3’s scant 2,500lb curb weight meant you didn’t need a lot of horsepower to have a good time.
By the time the E46 M3 debuted in 2000, BMW was ready to add a little more power to the M3 formula. The S54 3.3-liter straight-6 produced an impressive 333 horsepower and revved to 8,000rpm. The E46 is revered by many to be the best modern BMW combining chassis balance with a strong powertrain.
As it turns out, the E46’s S54 fits perfectly under the hood of the E30 M3. The resulting engine swap featured in today’s video sees the combination of two BMW greats to produce a car that is better than the sum of its parts.