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Jay Leno Takes an E30 M3-Swapped BMW 2002 for a Spin in L.A.

A de facto predecessor to the M2 to finds its way into the celebrity's garage.

BMW 2002s have been gaining traction in the classic car community. More and more examples are being picked up for vintage racing as well as collections, solidifying its place in a growing market. Although the influx of 2002s into the market is mostly recent, people have been modifying them since they were released. Many have swapped in the S14 engine from the E30-gen M3, giving the Neue Klasse car a significant boost from its somewhat underpowered four cylinder. Jay Leno recently got the chance to drive a similarly modified example, and its reputation shows itself here in this clip.

Leno quickly notes its subtle details that help it to stand out from the other compact Bimmers on the road. Period-correct modifications include Alpina-style multi-spoke wheels that look at home on nearly every BMW, as well as widened flairs to fit a modest amount of tire under the tight-knit body. A relatively stock cabin compliments the exterior with stellar blue inlays and black leather, rounding out the car’s appearance in a tasteful fashion.

The S14 M3 engine produces 230 horsepower, double that of the standard 2002 engine. The car here is noticeably peppy without the worry of overbearing the chassis with power, resulting in a well rounded driving experience that capitalizes on the car’s strengths instead of taking away from them. It’s getting harder to find these powerplants, especially affordable examples, which makes this de facto BMW M car even more special.

Watch as Jay discusses the car with its owner and drives it through the streets of L.A., showing what it does best.