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BMW E36 SWAP - what else apart from the BMW engine??

BMW E36 SWAP - what else apart from the BMW engine??

When considering an engine swap in a BMW E36, the choice of power units is not limited to just BMW engines. Here is a list of fascinating engine options from other manufacturers that can breathe new life into the classic BMW E36, each offering a unique blend of power, characteristics, and tuning potential

1. Toyota JZ 1JZ/2JZ

The JZ engine family from Toyota is a legendary lineup of inline 6-cylinder units, among which the 1JZ and 2JZ stand out from the competition. Both the 1JZ and 2JZ are solid platforms for tuning, but even in their base versions, they perform well as replacements for BMW engines in the E36 range.

Toyota's JZ series engines are known for their exceptional durability, often subjected to modifications, and the result of these changes frequently exceeds 1000HP on the dyno. Swapping these engines into the BMW E36 series offers the possibility of significantly increasing performance and reliability, making it the choice for those seeking extreme results

2. GM Chevrolet Small Block LS

The V8 engine family from General Motors, known for easy tuning and high power at a relatively low weight. LS engines are available in many variants, from 5.3 to 7.0 liters, and can offer power from a basic 300HP to over 700HP in heavily modified versions. Swapping to an LS in the E36 is a popular choice for those who desire American V8 power in a German body.

Chevrolet Small Block V8 (LS3)

Although the LS3 is part of the GM LS family, it deserves a separate mention due to its popularity and versatility. This 6.2-liter V8 engine offers 430 HP in its standard configuration, and its design allows for easy and relatively low-cost modifications that yield quick and measurable results, with high reliability of the unit."

3. Nissan RB RB20 / RB25 / RB26 / RB30

The RB series from Nissan encompasses a broad range of inline 6-cylinder engines, each with its unique character and potential. The RB20 offers a solid tuning base with a 2.0-liter capacity. The RB25, with a larger 2.5-liter capacity, provides better torque and power. The RB26DETT, famous from the Nissan Skyline GT-R, is known for its twin-turbocharging and immense modification potential. The RB30, with a 3.0-liter capacity, offers the largest capacity base for those seeking maximum power and torque. Swapping RB family engines into the BMW E36 series is a way to achieve unparalleled performance and a distinctive sound.

4. Honda K K20 / K24

Valued for their high power, reliability, and ease of modification, the K20 (2.0 liter) and K24 (2.4 liter) engines with VTEC from Honda are choices for those seeking high efficiency combined with sensational sound. These 4-cylinder units can be an excellent base for further tuning, offering great performance while maintaining a relatively low total vehicle weight.

5. Mercedes-Benz M113

The M113 is a family of V8 engines produced by Mercedes-Benz, available in capacities from 4.3 to 5.5 liters. These naturally aspirated units are known for their reliability, solid construction, and good power potential. The M113 engines are found in many Mercedes models, including AMG versions, where they achieve impressive power and torque results. Swapping an M113 engine into a BMW E36 is quite an unusual but interesting choice, offering refined V8 power and a unique sound that stands out from more popular swap options.

Mercedes-Benz M113K

The M113K engine is an evolution of the standard M113 engine, with the key difference being the addition of a supercharger (Kompressor), which significantly increases its power and torque. Typically found in top AMG models, such as the SL55 AMG or E55 AMG, the M113K offers a high output of 469 to 517 HP and 700-720 Nm of torque, depending on the configuration and model of the vehicle. This makes it an ideal candidate for swap projects where the goal is to maximize performance.

6. Volvo T5/T6 Modular Engine "White"

The T5 and T6 engines from Volvo are advanced power units from the modular series, which are very popular among tuning enthusiasts. The T5 is a 5-cylinder turbo engine with about 2.5 liters of capacity, offering excellent performance and a distinctive, deep sound that sets it apart from other engines. The T6 is a more advanced unit, often with twin charging (turbo and supercharger), offering even greater power and torque from a 6-cylinder layout while maintaining compact dimensions. Swapping T5 or T6 units into a BMW E36 is a great way to combine Volvo's reliability and innovation with the classic dynamics and styling of BMW. With solid power potential and possibilities for further tuning, these engines can significantly enhance the E36's performance, offering a unique combination of driving characteristics.

7. Nissan SR SR20DET

The SR20DET is a 4-cylinder, inline engine with turbocharging produced by Nissan, known for its high reliability and excellent tuning potential. With a 2.0-liter capacity, this engine is often chosen for swaps due to its lightness, compact dimensions, and ability to generate power exceeding 400 HP after appropriate modifications. Swapping an SR20DET into a BMW E36 is an interesting option for those looking to increase performance while maintaining good balance and weight distribution of the vehicle.

8. Saab H engine (B204, B205, B234, B235)

The H series engines from Saab are reliable, turbocharged 4-cylinder units that have become popular among tuning fans. The B204 and B205 models, with a 2.0-liter capacity, offer solid performance and modification potential. The B234 and B235, in turn, are more advanced 2.3-liter versions that provide even greater tuning possibilities. Swapping Saab H engines into a BMW E36 can bring an innovative combination of Swedish technology with German engineering, providing high performance and unique driving experiences.

9. Mercedes-Benz M104

The M104 is an inline 6-cylinder engine produced by Mercedes-Benz, known for its solid construction and good power potential. Versions of this engine had capacities ranging from 2.8 to 3.2 liters, with both naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants in later models. This engine is found in many 90s models, including the iconic E-Class W124 and W210, offering an excellent balance between performance and reliability.

10. Ford Barra

The Barra engine is a family of inline 6-cylinder turbo engines produced by Ford Australia. The most famous variants, such as the Barra 245T and 270T, offer impressive performance thanks to turbocharging, achieving power from 240 to 325 HP depending on the version. Barra engines have gained a cult status due to their durability and immense tuning potential. Like the Toyota JZ engines, the potential of Barra also exceeds 1000HP. 


11. Toyota 1UZ-FE and 3UZ-FE

The UZ series engines from Toyota are well-known among automotive enthusiasts, particularly the 1UZ-FE and 3UZ-FE models, which are highly regarded for their performance, reliability, and tuning capabilities. The 1UZ-FE, with a 4.0-liter capacity, debuted in the early '90s and quickly earned a reputation for its durability and strong performance. The 3UZ-FE, introduced in 2001, is an evolution of the 1UZ with a larger 4.3-liter capacity, offering better performance and more modern technology.


By conducting an engine swap in a BMW E36 with units from other manufacturers, we open the door to a wide spectrum of tuning possibilities. Each of these engines brings something unique to the project, from reliability and ease of modification to extreme performance. The choice of the right engine depends on the project goals, individual preferences, and readiness to tackle the challenges associated with adapting unusual units to the German classic. In the PMC Motorsport offer, you will find adapters that will facilitate the SWAP of any of the above-mentioned engines in BMW e36 - check the Full Adapter Kits