June 1

These are two of my favourite things from the 90s coming together. A Mercedes – Benz W124 and a Toyota Supra 2JZ engine. The W124 is a late 80s and early 90s E class and is a byword for German reliability and over engineering. It can take quite a beating and still work flawlessly for many more decades. And the 2JZ engine from the Toyota Supra is yet another nineties legend. This 3.0L straight six with twin turbos was known for its strong construction and could take quite a lot of horsepower, often twice or thrice that of the original. Like the 124, this is another epitome of reliability and over engineering.

Put the two together and you get this one. This is the creation of KS Motorsport in Mumbai. What they have done is, taken a standard E220 and put a 2JZ GTE engine in it. I have been itching to drive this car for so long, well ever since Karan told me, he is building one.

The 2JZ is unlike any other engine – it’s a big, strong, cast iron block capable of insane boost. Toyota doesn’t make anything robust like it now a days except for their trucks. And get this, the engine weighed around 220kilos and that’s what makes the front end sit so low on this. Only the rear has lowering springs.

Like the E38, this wasn’t complete when we did our shoot. It is still an automatic and that shifter will be better integrated the next time you see it. But it already gets D2 brakes 8 pot at the front and 6 pot at the rear, lowering springs in the back and Bilstein B6 dampers all round.

Unlike the BMW 7 series, this is more of a cruiser. The engine and transmission are so well suited to driving with one arm hanging out of the window line. When you give it the beans, the car gets up and going where you point it at. It is so out of character for something as stately as a W124 to make loud turbo noises and pull out hooligan antics. The surge of power as the turbos spool up one by one, makes it totally different to any other W124 you have seen. It can stay with some very fast cars on the road. This may very well be the fastest W124 I have driven.

The 2JZ GTE first made its appearance in the Toyota Aristo aka the Lexus GS300. To understand the name better, JZ is the name of the engine family, G stands for the performance spec twin cam setup, T means it is Turbocharged and E stands for Electronic Fuel Injection. The GTE models had different aluminium cylinder heads with unique intake and exhaust manifolds with high flowing injectors. It also had recessed pistons with lower compression ratios to enable it handle more boost and oil squirters to keep the pistons cool.

It had dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cyl, distributor less ignition system, liquid cooled sequential turbos and an identical bore to stroke ratio. This square setup meant it was the ideal compromise between low end torque and high end power and the twin turbo setup gave it a very broad powerband. The block is tough and comes with forged internals. The closed deck construction means it can take extreme cylinder pressures. The crank shaft and the bearing can handle a lot of power and very high speeds.

Toyota said it produced 276bhp as was the gentleman’s agreement in Japan at that time but US spec models had over 320bhp and 430Nm. It could do 0-100kmph in just over 5 seconds which was blazingly fast in its day. And that’s before any tuning. An enormous 67mm single turbo conversion is a popular mod for these as is swapping the intake, exhaust, injectors, intercooler etc. It can take upto 800bhp on stock internals and the 2JZ is no stranger to four digit horsepower figures.

A W124 with Supra engine is the best hot-rod build you can have. A part of me, wish this was a manual and I could fully exploit the performance on tap but Karan who lives in Mumbai says he wouldn’t have it any other way.  Doesn’t matter what transmission it has, this engine in that car makes it one of the best builds we have ever covered. As for the 2JZ, the stories are real and nearly quarter of a century after it first made its debut, this legendary engine continues to be on top of list of best engines ever.

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Vivek Venugopal is one of India’s top automotive writers with over a decade’s experience in road-testing and reviewing cars. He is currently the Editor of Quarter Mile magazine and a columnist in several leading magazines and newspapers. He is also a highly sought after consulting engineer and market analyst for many automobile manufacturers.





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