Of course, the Supra is on the list, but did you know the 2JZ powered nearly a dozen cars?
The 2JZ engine has acquired a legendary, enduring cult status in the automotive world. Widely considered to be one of the best engines in JDM history, both for performance and versatility, the 2JZ engine is also one of the most iconic: thanks to the world-famous orange Toyota Supra in the Fast and Furious movie series, it has crossed over into mainstream pop culture, becoming a recognizable name not just for car enthusiasts but for the general public.
But the 2JZ was more than just a one-car phenomenon; and it was more than just a performance engine. In the 17 years it was produced (from 1991 to 2007), it found use in a variety of models, from sports cars to luxury sedans. Available in three variants (GE, GTE, and FSE), the 2JZ was tunable for a variety of conditions, excelling in each and lasting a lifetime, making it one of the most reliable engines ever made.
The 2JZ engine is built on a heavily reinforced, cast iron block that's one of the most durable ever produced; this is why so many examples of the 2JZ engine have lasted until today, despite having been treated less than gently by drifters and drag racers alike. But it's not just the engine block that's virtually bulletproof; the internals are also known for standing up to all sorts of abuse. A forged crankshaft and highly durable pistons make the 2JZ incredibly resilient; the connecting rods are also forged, although, in the naturally aspirated version of the 2JZ, they are a little weaker. Sequential electronic fuel injection completed the package, with the exception of the rarer FSE version, which used direct injection (more on that later).
The 2JZ-GTE version is the beefed-up member of the 2JZ lineup with a sequential twin-turbo setup delivering smooth and linear power thanks to the presence of identically sized sequential twin turbos rather than a smaller one and a larger one.
The youngest member of the 2JZ family, first introduced in 2000, is the less common FSE variant with direct injection, aimed at reducing environmental impact from emissions and improving fuel economy without affecting performance.
One of the defining characteristics of the 2JZ engine is its versatility. Extremely modifiable and well-suited to tuning, or being swapped into other cars, the 2JZ lends itself to all sorts of applications: from drag racing to drifting and everything in between. Originally delivering only 276 horsepower thanks to the "Gentlemen's Agreement" between Japanese carmakers that placed a limit on maximum power in order to reduce deaths from road accidents, the 2JZ quickly revealed itself to have much more untapped potential, and a skilled tuner can get as much as 1,500 hp out of one with sufficient modifications: when it comes to performance, the sky is the limit with a 2JZ.
The 2JZ may have become a common swap into just about any high-horsepower competition build, but it was ubiquitous in a vast range of Toyota products. Everyone automatically thinks of the Supra when the 2JZ is mentioned, but in its various forms, it is featured in a dozen cars from Toyota and Lexus.
Here are all the cars that used the 2JZ engine from the factory:
Ask anyone, whether an automotive enthusiast or simply a film buff, to name a car with a 2JZ engine, and nine times out of ten, the first one that will pop into their minds is the Toyota Supra. The Supra is by far the most notable car powered by a 2JZ thanks to its appearance in the Fast and Furious film franchise, which boosted its status as a pop culture icon.
Ironically, the car that eventually became a household name didn't even start its life as a standalone model; in the 1970s, the Japanese carmaker introduced the Supra as a higher-powered version of the Toyota Celica with an inline-six. Eventually, the Supra became its own separate model in 1986, and seven years later, the legendary fourth generation appeared on the market with a 2JZ-GE engine. A turbocharged version, dubbed the 2JZ-GTE, was also available.
The Supra rapidly became a tuners' favorite thanks to its customizability, and all sorts of weird and wonderful custom jobs have since popped up on the used car market, to the point where finding a stock Supra Mk IV at a reasonable price is extremely difficult today.
The Toyota Altezza, sold locally as the Lexus IS 300, showed the world that the 2JZ engine was not just about raw power but could also be used in a more sensible, upmarket vehicle, such as the ones produced by Toyota's premium brand Lexus. While the Altezza/IS was launched with a four-cylinder, the year 2000 saw the 2J added to the lineup. Here, the 3.0-liter engine went without turbocharging, receiving the 2JZ-GE engine with a mere 217 horsepower and 218 lb-ft of torque. This was sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual or automatic transmission.
The Mark II is one of Toyota's most prestigious nameplates, and it features a JZ-denominated engine since 1984. But it wasn't until the launch of the sixth generation X80 model in 1982 that it got a 2JZ under the hood. The 2J variant was the naturally aspirated GE, selling alongside a Mark II with the 1JZ-GTE as the only gasoline turbo model in the lineup. The downside was that this version (the Grande G trim) was only equipped with a four-speed automatic gearbox. It made the same 217 hp as the Altezza.
The 2JZ was carried over to the eighth-generation (X100) Mark II, but, again, was saddled with an automatic.
1JZ-GTE-powered Mark IIs have become popular in the drift scene, but for luxury, the 2JZ models were sublime.
In Japan, Toyota sells certain models under different names through various dealer channels. As a result, the Mark II had two sister cars, one of which was the Cresta. Mechanically identical to the Mark II, it was sold through the Netz Store from 1998 and before this, through the Toyota Vista store. However, it was effectively the same car.
Completing the trio is the Toyota Chaser, and like the two above, the X90 and X100 series Chaser both featured a 2JZ-GE engine. Visually almost identical, it was differentiated by slight trim details, like a more subdued grille and lower front bumper design, and a slightly different interior with its own colorway.
The Chaser became a favorite project car for JDM enthusiasts and tuners around the world, much like its siblings.
The Crown nameplate is the oldest in the entire Toyota family, having been used continuously since 1955. In 1991, the facelifted version of the eight-generation Toyota Crown was given a power boost with the introduction of the 2JZ-GE engine, which was available until the end of the eleventh generation in 2003. The Crown's larger sister car, the Crown Majesta, also included a 2JZ engine.
In 1999, both the Crown (eleventh generation) and the Crown Majesta (third generation) switched from the more common 2JZ-GE engine to the lesser-known 2JZ-FSE with direct fuel injection, with 225 hp on tap. This motor was paired with a mild hybrid system in the Royal Saloon model.
Known informally as the "Gentleman's Supra," the Toyota Aristo (marketed as the Lexus GS in the American and European markets) was available with both the naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of the 2JZ engine. Naturally aspirated models had 227 hp and 210 lb-ft, while the turbocharged GTE (only available in the Aristo) had 275 hp. These options were carried over to the second generation of the model, too, with 2JZ-GTE-equipped Aristos also getting a plethora of tech like VVT-i, electronic four-wheel steering, and a manual sequential mode for the automatic gearbox.
The GS 300 embodied a similar philosophy to the IS 300, moving the 2JZ away from the "boy racer" image and towards a driving experience associated with luxury and style.
The Toyota Progres (pronounced prog-ray) was a midsize sedan predating but mechanically related to the Altezza/IS. It was yet another Japan-only model that made use of the 2JZ in both GE and FSE variants. The Toyota Brevis is the Progres' twin sister of sorts, with a similar powertrain and chassis but different styling cues. The Brevis was released three years after the Progres, in 2001, and was aimed at a younger customer base. Pricewise, these cars split the difference between the Lexus IS and GS. Aside from visual differences, the two were also sold through different channels, with the Brevis sold at Toyota Store dealerships while the Progres was exclusive to the Toyopet Store.
These cars also used the 1JZ engine, but only on models with AWD.
One of the most well-known alternatives to the Supra for those craving a 2JZ was the Soarer in its third generation (1991-2000).
A sleek and elegant two-door coupe, the Toyota Soarer (sold as the Lexus SC 300 outside of Japan) produced 225 hp, five more than the equivalent nat-asp Supra of the era. It made the SC a more affordable alternative to the Supra for 2JZ enthusiasts.
In 1997, the arrival of VVT-i offered improved performance compared to conventional VVT, giving the Soarer an additional boost. The Lexus SC 300 was one of two vehicles released in the American market with a 2JZ, the other being the turbocharged version of the Supra.
Sales of the first generation dwindled towards the end of the decade, and when the second generation was launched, it could only be had with a V8 engine, a carryover from the top trim of the first-gen model.
The rarest car on this list by some margin, the Toyota Origin was produced for a single year between May 2000 and April 2001 by Kanto Auto Works. As a result, only 1,073 of them were built, all using the same chassis as the Progres discussed above. As a result, it also inherited the 2JZ-GE as its only engine option, producing 220 hp and paired to a four-speed automatic sending drive to the rear axle. Known for its retro styling, Toyota built more than the original plan of just 1,000 units. While certain models were exclusive to particular dealer channels, the Origin was sold through the Toyota Store, Toyopet Store, and Corolla Store. The retro looks inspired by the original Crown weren't the only unique bit of its design. It also featured suicide rear doors and a rearward-slanting C-pillar.
No, not all 2JZ engines are turbocharged. The turbocharged member of the 2JZ family is the 2JZ-GTE, which employs a sequential twin-turbo setup.
The main difference is the 2JZ's longer stroke (86mm vs. the 1JZ's 71.5mm), which results in a higher displacement (3.0 liters vs. the 1JZ's 2.5 liters).
The RB26 developed a legendary reputation thanks to its use in motorsport, and there's a perennial, heated debate over which one is better.
The 2JZ has a higher displacement, a newer design, and is far easier to obtain in North America, not to mention being more versatile from a tuning perspective; if what you're looking for is raw power and durability, the 2JZ might be the way to go. But if you're looking for a rarity with a generous dose of racing DNA and one of the best noises around, you'll want to consider an RB26... if you're lucky enough to get your hands on one.