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Why Is the 2JZ Engine So Good? (Explained)

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Last Updated on: 7th September 2023, 12:38 am

Hello fellow engine heads, in this article, I cover a truly iconic engine, the Toyota 2JZ. I will dive deeper into the details of the anatomy and learn about the mechanics of the 2JZ engine.

So after reading this article, I promise you that you will have a complete understanding of what makes the 2JZ engine so good.

What Is the Toyota 2JZ Engine?

The Toyota JZ engine family is a series of inline six-cylinder engines. It was a replacement for the M-series inline six-cylinder engines.

The JZ series of engines were 24-valve, dual overheads cam (DOHC) engines.

The Toyota 2JZ engine was a 2,997 cc engine with a bore and stroke of 86mm x 86mm, making it a “square” engine due its 1:1 stroke-to-bore ratio.

There are a few types of this engine, the most sought after type being the 2JZ-GTE. The GTE version had a power output of 280hp in Japan, and 320hp in Europe and the USA.

Toyota 2jz-gte engine

What Makes This Engine So Good?

The Toyota 2JZ engine, particularly the 2JZ-GTE variant, has not only earned a legendary status among car enthusiasts but also carved a place for itself in automotive history due to its performance, durability, and tunability.

  1. Strong internal components
  2. Inline-six configuration
  3. Cast iron block
  4. Twin sequential turbochargers
  5. Tuning potential
  6. Aftermarket support
  7. Legacy and performance
  8. Non-interference engine design
  9. Oil system
  10. Wide power and torque band

1. Strong Internal Components

The engine was over-engineered for its stock power levels, meaning that the internal components such as the connecting rods, crankshaft, and pistons are incredibly robust.

For instance, the forged steel crankshaft and heavy-duty rods can handle substantial power increases without failing.

Additionally, the stock pistons are crafted from a high-strength alloy that can withstand high amounts of boost pressure.

2. Inline-Six Configuration

The 2JZ’s inline-six configuration is inherently balanced, which reduces vibrations and wear on the engine. This contributes to smoother power delivery and reliability.

The linear arrangement of the cylinders ensures even firing pulses and optimal exhaust scavenging, which in turn lead to improved power and efficiency.

3. Cast Iron Block

The 2JZ’s cast iron engine block is significantly stronger compared to aluminum counterparts.

The denser material is able to handle higher cylinder pressures and heat, allowing tuners to run high amounts of boost pressure without the need for significant reinforcement or worrying about cylinder wall integrity.

4. Twin Sequential Turbochargers

The 2JZ-GTE variant features twin sequential turbochargers, which allow it to produce a massive amount of power while retaining relatively small displacement of 3 litres.

The sequential setup minimizes turbocharger lag and ensures a more responsive powerband, as opposed to a large single turbo which may suffer from delayed spooling.

5. Tuning Potential

The 2JZ engine is renowned for being tuner-friendly.

With relatively simple modifications such as upgraded turbos, injectors, intercooler, exhaust, and a proper tune, it is possible to significantly increase the power output without sacrificing reliability.

Some highly-modified 2JZ engines have been known to produce over 1000 horsepower.

6. Aftermarket Support

The immense popularity of the 2JZ engine has led to a burgeoning aftermarket industry.

Numerous companies specialize in producing performance parts, upgrades, and even swap kits that allow the 2JZ to be fitted into a wide array of vehicles.

7. Legacy and Proven Performance

The 2JZ engine, especially the 2JZ-GTE, gained worldwide acclaim through its use in the Toyota Supra.

The engine’s involvement in motorsports such as drag racing and drifting, as well as its portrayal in popular media like the Fast and the Furious franchise, has contributed to its legendary status.

8. Non-Interference Design

The 2JZ’s non-interference design is a safety feature wherein, in the event of a timing belt failure, the pistons won’t collide with the valves, thus avoiding catastrophic engine damage.

9. Oil System

The 2JZ engine features a high-flow oil pump and large oil passages, ensuring optimal lubrication under high-performance driving conditions.

Moreover, the engine benefits from an oil cooler, which helps to maintain optimal oil temperatures.

10. Wide Power and Torque Band

The engine produces a broad torque curve across the rev range, due to its efficient cylinder head design and variable valve timing (VVT-i in later models).

This broad torque band makes it adaptable and usable in various driving conditions, from daily commuting to high-performance track use.


The Toyota 2JZ engine, with its combination of strength, reliability, and performance potential, has left an indelible mark on automotive culture.

Its legacy continues to thrive among enthusiasts who value the sheer capability and versatility of this iconic engine.

  • Andy Lewin

    Andy Lewin is a senior mechanic, ASE qualified master technician, and an experienced automotive engineer. He's passionate about serving the automotive community with the highest-quality and trustworthy information on all things automotive. He loves to write about car repairs, maintenance, car modifications and tuning, faults, and much more.

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