What Makes the 2JZ Engine So Good? (Explained)

The 2JZ engine is regarded as the king of engines among automotive tuners. It was built like no other engine, has immense tuning potential and a brilliant history behind it.

What Is the 2JZ?

A number of inline six-cylinder engines make up the Toyota JZ engine family. It served as the M-series inline six-cylinder engines' successor.

Dual overhead cam (DOHC) engines with 24 valves made up the JZ series.

The 2JZ engine had a bore and stroke of 86mm x 86mm and a 2,997 cc displacement, making it a "square" engine due to its 1:1 stroke-to-bore ratio.

There are several variations of this engine, with the 2JZ-GTE being the most popular. In Japan, the GTE version produced 280 horsepower, but in Europe and the USA, it produced 320 horsepower.

Toyota 2jz engine
Toyota 2JZ Engine

2JZ History

In 1978 Toyota wanted a car that would compete with Nissan's hugely successful 'Z' car.

nissan Z car
Nissan Z

They took their current Celica and gave it a cosmetic overhaul because they didn't feel like building a completely new platform.

They gave it the name Celica Supra and stuffed an inline six-cylinder under the hood. The name made more sense back then, despite the fact that it sounds funny today.

"Supra" refers to anything that is beyond and beyond its normal bounds, and the Celica Supra was just that. The standard Celica couldn't handle it.

Toyota celica supra
Toyota Celica Supra

The Celica Supra made more sense in the late 1970s since it had greater power, was bigger, and looked different.

Although it didn't manage to match the Nissan Z's sales numbers despite being a rather desirable vehicle, it did accomplish something historically noteworthy.

It established the connection between the inline six-cylinder engine and the name "Supra".

The Supra Celica received an inline six-cylinder engine as opposed to the Celica on which it was based, which had a four-cylinder engine.

Three years later, Toyota released their "M" engine, and the 80s design era soon followed, leading to a revamp of the complete Celica series.

The Celica Supra is also part of the second-generation automobiles, which are probably more different from one another than the first-generation vehicles.

The second-generation Celica Supra still had many parts in common with the original Celica while having a significantly different exterior and interior.

It sported an inline six-cylinder, was bigger, more opulent, and had superior equipment, yet it was still a Celica.

second generation Toyota Supra
Second-Generation Toyota Supra

Currently, the term "Celica Supra" is still used everywhere, with the exception of Japan.

In Japan, the Celica Supra's first and second generations were both referred to as the Celica Double X.

The second-generation Supra accomplished another significant feat by being the first Supra to use turbocharging.

A momentous event occurred in February 1986 when the term "Celica" was removed off the Celica Supra. The Celica and Supra were now two distinct models, and they took various paths.

The Supra would continue to be rear-wheel-drive, but the Celica would go to front-wheel drive.

The Supra now used the Toyota Soarer platform and was no longer mechanically related to the Celica.

The Supra had greater capacity to expand because to the Soarer's larger platform. Toyota would create the Supra into a real performance vehicle on the bigger chassis.

mk3 Toyota Supra
Third-Generation Toyota Supra

The suspension of the Supra was improved with a double-wishbone system and some cutting-edge technologies from the 1980s.

Three-channel ABS and TEMS, or Toyota-electronically-modulated-suspension, which provided variable dampening, are two examples of this technology.

The third-generation Supra gets the most advanced version of the "M" series of engines for its powertrain.

These 7M engines raised displacement to 3 litres, a measurement that would come to be associated with the turbocharged supra model.

Despite having a weak head gasket, the 7M-GTE engine produced very amazing power, making the Supra a true high-performance car.

7m gte engine
7M-GTE Engine

In addition, the third-generation Supra was significant since it was the first Supra to have a 1JZ.

Only the third version of the Supra, which used the 1JZ engine to replace the 7M engine, was made available in Japan.

It provided a snapshot of the Supra's potential future, and in 1993, we would learn exactly how magnificent that potential would be.

The fourth-generation Toyota Supra went into production. It followed the previous generation's lead but was so much more.

Toyota went all out and utilised all of its over-engineering abilities from the 1990s to produce a truly stunning car for the fourth generation Supra.

The brand-new 2JZ engine, which appeared to be quite similar to the 7M engine on paper, was located under the hood.

The only similarities between these two engines are that they were both 3-liter inline six-cylinder engines with both normally aspirated and turbocharged variations.

The 2JZ was a power unit with considerably more potential, and only time would reveal how substantial that potential was. It would not just remedy the small faults that the 7M had.

2jz engine
2JZ-GTE Engine

The fourth-generation Supra managed to be over 100 kg lighter than the previous generation despite having better safety features, bigger brakes, bigger wheels, an additional turbo, and a number of other things.

Toyota reduced the weight of the Supra by using aluminium and magnesium alloys in a variety of structural components.

The Supra had a 0-60 time of slightly over four and a half seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13.1 seconds.

fourth generation Toyota Supra
Fourth-Generation Toyota Supra

Unfortunately, the fourth-generation Supra was only produced for a short time.

The fourth generation's manufacturing was abruptly put to a stop by a rising yen and a declining high-performance automobile market.

It was over in 1996, sales ceased in Canada in 1998. It would continue for a another four years in Europe and the USA. In Japan, the supra's era eventually came to an end in 2002.

The mk4 Supra's replacement wouldn't come for another 20 years. There is a case to be made that those two decades were more important for the Supra and the 2JZ engine than the years it was in production.

The world fell in love with the Supra and its amazing engine, which was capable of incredible power, after the 2001 release of the fast and the furious movie.

fast and furious supra
Fast & Furious Supra

The 2JZ's power output was pushed in the early 2000s by tuners all around the world, although the early tuning was crude.

It was confusing since you required three distinct ECUs for three different purposes.

The 2JZ and Supra aftermarkets started to develop quite quickly, and soon it provided tuners with the resources they needed to determine the 2JZ engine's limitations.

However, it appeared that the 2JZ did not have a limit. Triple-digit horsepower soon became the standard and anticipated, and doubling the engine's horsepower appeared too simple.

Any less was disappointing. Incredibly high power outputs from engines using more stock components than anyone anticipated were recorded on dynos across the world.

Long before Toyota revealed the 2JZ as the replacement for the supra, the mythology of the 2JZ was already established.

fifth generation Toyota Supra
Fifth-Generation Toyota Supra

Toyota unveiled the fifth-generation Supra in 2019, and with it, disappointment reverberated throughout the globe.

Supra enthusiasts anticipated a 2JZ successor that would follow in the footsteps of the 2JZ.

Instead, a BMW engine was used, and despite the fact that both the new engine and the car itself are excellent, enthusiasts weren't pleased.

If this isn't proof of how amazing the 2JZ is, then nothing is. Soon, people began insisting that the 20+ year old engine be put into the new Supra.

2jz swapped mk5 supra
2JZ Swapped Mk5 Supra

2JZ & Its Anatomy

Let's now examine the 2JZ's anatomy in detail and see why it makes such a fantastic engine.

  • A pair of overhead cams

  • Block with closed deck and oil return channels

  • Cast hyper-eutectic pistons under high pressure

  • Compression ratio of 8.5:1

  • Connecting rods made of steel

  • Fully balanced forged crankshaft

  • Head gasket made of multi-layered steel (MLS)

  • heavily strengthened bottom end and engine block

  • Inline six-cylinder engine with perfect balance

  • Thermal and friction-reducing internal oil gallery pistons