From E30 Zone Wiki
This is our run-down of all the common engine swaps you can do with your E30. At the moment we're only listing swaps that use BMW engines, but there's nothing to stop you from fitting any engine you like to your E30. Nothing except time, skill and money, of course.
We've paired up the Swaps to the Technical info for each engine; that way you can read up on all the tech specs of the engines to help you make your choice. For a review of the pros and cons, have a look at our comparison table.
The Standard Engine swaps are the easiest; parts are common, and the E30 was designed to have this engines fitted from the factory so, on the whole, they drop straight in. In contrast the Motorsport engines are the real hero swaps; some serious fabrication will be required, as well as a big fat wallet to cover the parts you need.
If you get stuck along the way, the Zone will always help.
|M20 info||Swap me!||M42 info||Swap me!|
|Other BMW Engines|
|M30 info||Swap me!||M50/M52 info||Swap me!|
|M60/M62 info||Swap me!|
|S50/S54 info||Swap me!||S62||Swap me!|
Making Your Choice
It's important to know why you're swapping the engine in your E30 before you spend a single penny on the project. Engine swaps can quickly spiral out of control, and it all starts with being offered a cheap engine from a friend of a friend. Before you know it, you've spent thousands and you've got two engines, a broken car and nothing to show for it. So let's sort out the reasons of an engine swap before you get in over your head.
The reasons for doing a swap are plenty. The most common ones are Repair, Economy and Performance. However, these are counterbalanced by Skill, Parts and of course Money. With enough money you can do anything you want, but for most of us mere mortals money is limited, so we have to reign in our dreams and be a bit more reasonable.
So here's a handy table to help you weigh up the pro's and con's of each swap: