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10 Of The Sickest V8s (And 10 Cars That Are Better Without It)

There are many things that car enthusiasts are worried about losing in the future. With fuel efficiency and emissions standards perpetually on the rise, automakers must adapt and create gasoline motors that manage to be powerful, clean, and fuel efficient. Even though we likely won’t lose all gas-powered motors anytime soon, there's one type of motor that's severely at risk of disappearing entirely within a decade or two. The iconic V8 motor that's powered so many cars and trucks over the years has an infamous reputation for poor fuel economy and producing literal tons of pollution. However, the V8 lives on due to its signature power delivery and effortless low-end torque that V6 motors can’t match.

Or can they? Many automakers are using turbocharger technology on their V6s to recreate V8 performance. Despite many people arguing that the V8’s power can’t be recreated, that’s simply not true anymore. Not only are there twin-turbo V6s that have comparable power and torque outputs, but some can also easily outpower their V8 competition while being cleaner for the environment. Depending on the application, these motors can even be considerably more fuel efficient than their eight-cylinder competitors. However, the V8’s signature exhaust note, power delivery, and simplicity mean that they aren’t quite ready to die off yet. So, here are 10 new V8-powered cars to buy before their signature motors disappear, and 10 cars that are better off having lost the V8.

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20 Aston Martin V8 Vantage – V8 Power

Via Wikimedia

The V8 motor is often associated with simple muscle cars. In the past, European supercars were powered by V12 and V10 motors, which allowed these lightweight cars to blow past lesser vehicles with ease. However, there was one sleek European car to use the simple V8 to its advantage. Besides being the stylish machines of choice for a certain British spy, Aston Martins have been the luxury grand-touring car for those who want something that doesn’t stand out like a Ferrari. While the current Aston Martin V8 Vantage isn’t quite as classy as its older generations, its new twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter Mercedes-AMG V8 is more than enough to get this luxury cruiser up to speed in no time. While the AMG motor doesn’t quite have the classic Aston Martin soundtrack, it still creates an amazing noise.

19 Maserati GranTurismo – V8 Power

Via Wikimedia

Maserati is one of the few exotic brands that isn’t a supercar company. It produces sexy performance cars in the form of two sedans, a crossover, and a gorgeous coupe. The GranTurismo has been with us for quite some time now, as its current form started production over a decade ago. However, that doesn’t stop this Italian sports car from being an amazing machine. Unlike many other cars from 2007, this Maserati sports a truly timeless design that still looks thoroughly modern.

While the standard model isn’t all that quick anymore, the performance-oriented MC model is able to hit 60 in a respectable 4.7 seconds.

Then, there’s the fact that the 454-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8 is a full-fledged Ferrari motor with a soundtrack to match. Even if this car is getting a little old, it’s still something special.

18 Dodge Challenger – V8 Power

Via FCA

In the past, Dodge created some of the best muscle cars to ever leave Detroit. These iconic beasts were powered by incredibly powerful big-block V8s that were ready to tear up the street. Recently, Dodge has been trying to recreate their past by offering two retro muscle cars with some incredible powerplants. While many of the other cars mentioned on this list have one or two V8 options, the current Dodge Challenger has four!

The lowest-end V8 is a 5.7-liter, 372-horsepower Hemi, and the most powerful is the 6.2-liter supercharged Demon motor, slinging up to 840 horsepower to the rear wheels.

And it uses that power to be the quickest production car in the world. Even though the Challenger isn’t the best-handling car in the world, it’s still a potent machine that’ll roast the tires on command, regardless of which V8 is under the hood.

17 Chevrolet Camaro – V8 Power

Via Chevrolet

While there have been many V8s over the years, Chevy has always built the most iconic one of them all. The Chevy small-block motor was, and still remains, one of the most versatile engines to be put into a production vehicle. It can be used as a workhorse powerplant that allows trucks to haul hefty loads, or it can be fitted into a sleek sports car, making the vehicle an incredibly fast machine. While the Corvette generally gets all the attention for Chevy small-block performance, the Camaro is more affordable and even faster than the ‘Vette in some trims.

The standard Camaro SS comes with a 455-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, allowing the small coupe to rocket to 60 in under 4.5 seconds.

However, the real headline is the ZL1 and its track-focused 1LE package. This incredible car has 650 horsepower and enough grip to outrun supercars around the track.

16 Lexus LC500 – V8 Power

Via Wikimedia

People often think of Lexus as a company that only makes soft luxury cars for old people to cruise around in and fuel-efficient crossovers for suburban moms. However, back in 2010, Lexus created the LFA—a V10-powered supercar with insane performance and a similarly insane price tag. After the LFA, Lexus decided to create similarly impressive but far less-expensive performance cars. The most recent of these cars is the LC500, a fast and sleek grand-touring car. With a beautiful exterior and a luxuriously appointed interior, the LC500 is an incredible performance coupe. However, its best asset is its 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8. This motor sends 471 horsepower through a 10-speed automatic, which propels the car to 60 in under 4.5 seconds. The LC500 isn’t your grandpa’s Lexus.

15 BMW M5 – V8 Power

Via Wikimedia

When it comes to powerful, sharp, and practical performance machines, the best brand to go to is BMW. Out of all the amazing models to come out of the company, the M5 is the best blend of speed and usable space, as it's a large sedan with a big motor under the hood. However, that doesn’t mean that the M5 is just a big German muscle car since it has some incredible suspension engineering behind its wheels. While the model originally featured a straight-six, that was replaced with a V8, then a V10. Even though the model now has a V8 again, this one is twin-turbocharged and produces 600 horsepower. It’s also the first M5 that can be optioned with all-wheel-drive. Besides being able to accelerate to 60 in under four seconds, the M5 also holds the record for the longest continuous drift.

14 Ford Mustang – V8 Power

via Wikimedia Commons

Despite American cars generally not being popular outside the US, there's one exception. The Ford Mustang is nothing short of an icon, as it's starred in many movies and is the most popular muscle car of all time. Starting off as a Ford Falcon coupe with a stylish exterior, the Mustang became an instant hit, and it kick-started a new segment of smaller, more affordable performance cars in the US. It’s also the only muscle car that's seen continuous production since its introduction.

Today’s Mustang is faster and better than ever. The standard GT model comes with a 460-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8.

However, the model’s best V8 can be found in the Shelby GT350, which has a 5.2-liter, flat-plane crank V8 that produces 526 horsepower without forced induction. The GT350 is an incredible track car that can outrun supercars, despite it being a simple Mustang.

13 Mercedes-AMG E63 – V8 Power

Via i.kinja-img.com

Despite the V8 being most commonly associated with American cars, Mercedes creates some of the most amazing examples of the motor. The brand’s obsession with the engine started when they took the 6.3-liter V8 from the heavy 600 Limo and stuffed it into the smaller S Class, creating the surprisingly capable 300SEL 6.3, which saw plenty of track time over its racing career. Mercedes’s obsession only grew from that point. The current equivalent to the 300SEL 6.3 is the E63 AMG. The E63 AMG is sold with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that’s good for over 500 horsepower. While it’s not as nimble as an M5, the BMW’s V8 isn’t quite as incredible as the Benz powerplant. And nothing sounds better than an AMG V8. Best of all, the E63 is offered not only in sedan and coupe form but also as a wagon.

12 Chevrolet Suburban – V8 Power

Via Chevrolet

With all the recognizable nameplates in the automotive world these days, it’s probably a surprise to find out that the Chevy Suburban is the oldest of them all, dating back to 1955. Needless to say, the model has changed a lot over its 60-year production history, with the model we know entering production in the ‘70s. While the Suburban remains a practical vehicle that can tow a boat and haul the entire family at the same time, it’s also one of the few remaining truck-based, full-size SUVs on the market. Of course, it’s powered by a choice of two Chevy small-block V8s. While the standard 5.3-liter model is sufficient for most uses, the one to get is the new 6.2-liter V8 offered in the sporty RST model, which produces 65 additional horsepower.

11 Audi RS 7 – V8 Power

Via Wikimedia

While Audi doesn’t tend to be as popular as the other German brands, it still produces some incredible performance machines. While the 5 Series and the E Class look like normal luxury sedans, the Audi S7 line has a unique fastback hatch design that has a presence like nothing else on the road.

There simply isn’t another four-door car that has the gorgeous proportions of the S7.

Of course, the best example of this car is the top-of-the-line RS 7. With its Quattro all-wheel-drive system, the RS 7 can use the 605-horsepower, 4.0-liter V8 to rocket this big luxury car to 60 in a mere 3.2 seconds. And on a long-enough road, it'll eventually reach a top speed of 190 miles per hour. Sure, it can’t drift like the M5, but it can cruise like no other.

10 Ford F-150 Raptor – Better Without

Via Flickr/Truck Hardware

Ford is the undisputed champion at selling pickup trucks. The Ford F-150 is the bestselling vehicle in the world—and not without good reason. This truck can be configured in just about any way the buyer wants. It can be had as a basic single-cab work truck with a simple interior or as an expensive and luxurious Platinum model with a chrome-lined, four-door exterior concealing a well-appointed leather interior. However, the most famous example of the current F-150 is the dune-jumping Raptor. This model has proven to be a sales hit due to its capable off-road suspension and its tires that hide behind an aggressive exterior. Even though its 6.2-liter V8 was dropped, the new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 manages to produce more power and torque. Even though the EcoBoost doesn’t make the same great noise, it’s still a vast improvement over the old V8.

9 BMW M3 – Better Without

Via Wikimedia

At one point in history, BMW didn’t produce many V8 motors. It wasn’t really until the late ‘90s that the company started stuffing eight-cylinder motors under the hoods of its performance models, starting with the E39 M5 in 1998. In 2007, BMW decided to expand their V8 lineup by putting a 4.0-liter V8 inside of the M3, in place of the straight-six that previously powered the model. While this was undeniably an incredible motor, the next M3 returned to the straight-six formula. However, despite having fewer cylinders, the motor has a couple turbochargers to make up the difference—and then some.

The V8 produced 414 horsepower, whereas the new six-cylinder makes 425 horsepower—or 444 horsepower with the competition package.

This new M3 is also around 100 pounds lighter than the old model, making it a faster machine than its predecessor.

8 Audi RS 5 – Better Without

Via Flickr/Ben

Audi creates some of the best luxury performance cars on the market. Its RS models are some of the best cars to tear through the autobahn due to their powerful motors and stable Quattro all-wheel-drive systems. The RS 5 is a perfect example of this, with the first model featuring a 444-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8 packed inside a beautiful two-door body. This V8 was basically the V10 motor used in the Audi R8, just with two cylinders chopped off. However, the latest generation of RS 5 dropped the V8 and replaced it with a twin-turbocharged V6 that manages to produce the same amount of power as the old V8 while making considerably more torque. As the new coupe weighs 132 pounds less than the old model, it’s simply quicker than the old V8-powered car.

7 Lincoln Navigator – Better Without

Via Flickr/Dave Pinter

If you were to name a large American luxury SUV on the spot, the Cadillac Escalade is probably what would spring to mind. The Navigator never managed to properly compete with the Escalade, let alone other, more legitimate luxury SUVs on the market, such as the Range Rover and the Mercedes GL. As the years went on, the Navigator kept falling further behind the competition, with few updates for its styling and powertrain. However, the most recent Navigator has been completely redesigned, with new styling and an interior that’s actually appropriate for a vehicle that costs $100,000, unlike the Escalade. Other than the new plush interior, its best improvement is the engine, which is now a 3.5-liter EcoBoost motor that produces 450 horsepower—a vast improvement over the old anemic V8 that was under the hoods of past Navigators.

6 Chevrolet Colorado – Better Without

Via Chevrolet

Small American pickups aren’t generally built with the most care or the best parts. While the Japanese competition is hardly made with the highest precision, they’re generally better than what the big three used put into their pickups. The original Chevy Colorado was a replacement for the S10 pickup, and it was no exception to the standard American quality of the time. Despite being newer, it was still a crude truck in both design and quality. Possibly the only benefit the Colorado had over its competition was the optional 5.3-liter Vortec V8 for better towing capacity. The new, mechanically-unrelated Colorado lacks this useful option, but it trades that motor in for a much-improved driving experience. On top of that, the new Colorado has a V6 motor that produces the same amount of power as the old V8. Plus, the new ZR2 off-road package is pretty appealing.

5 Lexus LS – Better Without

Via Wikimedia

In 1989, Lexus turned the luxury market upside down with the LS400 full-size sedan. This model featured incredible build quality and a roomy, comfortable interior that was a level above the competition at its price range. Unlike many cars from emerging brands, the LS400 was a hit from the start and has gained a large following. While the model hardly offers the most interactive driving experience, the LS has always been powered by a V8 motor, even in hybrid form. This was likely to attract traditional buyers who demanded a V8 to power their expensive luxury sedan. However, the new model is only sold with a twin-turbo V6 that produces 35 more horsepower than the V8 it replaces. Given how smooth V6 motors can be now, the LS will hardly be a downgrade.

4 Ford GT – Better Without

Via Flickr/notman05

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Ford created the GT, which was a supercar designed to be a modern rendition of the GT40 Le Mans race car from the ‘60s. It featured a 550-horsepower supercharged V8 mounted in the middle of the car. Despite being made by a normal brand like Ford, the GT had real supercar performance and was able to compete with the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of its time. 10 years after the model’s discontinuation, Ford created another GT that featured an all-new design with incredible aerodynamics and a lightweight, stripped-out interior.

Unlike the old model, this Ford GT is powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that pumps out 647 horsepower—nearly a 100-horsepower increase over the old V8.

Unsurprisingly, the new GT is considerably faster than the old model.

3 Chevrolet Impala – Better Without

Via Chevrolet

The Chevy Impala has a past of being a practical, semi-luxurious sedan, with the most well-known examples being the performance-oriented SS cars. Unfortunately, 1996 was the last year of the traditional Impala, as the V8-powered rear-wheel-drive model was discontinued and replaced a few years later by a mediocre, front-wheel-drive car with a V6 powertrain. However, in 2006, Chevy brought back the V8 powertrain for a new Impala SS. That model was dropped and didn’t return after the car was redesigned in 2014. With that said, it’s not a huge loss, as that model used its V8 to power the front wheels, which caused it to have unique driving characteristics. Besides, not only is the new car better in every way to the previous Impala, its V6 produces the same amount of power as the V8, and it doesn’t tear up transmissions.

2 Ford Explorer – Better Without

Via Flickr

Back in the 1980s, Ford introduced the Explorer, a new SUV for a market that was enamored with these new vehicles. The body-on-frame design allowed the Explorer to have usable ground clearance, and its suspension was good for off-road use. This SUV was a huge hit in the US and remains in production today. That said, the current generation of the Explorer isn’t quite the same car as it was before.

Instead of being based on a pickup, the new model is a crossover that shares its platform with the Ford Taurus instead.

While there are some who prefer the tougher, old platform, the current model is far better suited for the daily driver use that most Explorers see anyway. It also lost its V8 motor option—not that it's necessary now that it has a light, unibody design.

1 Audi RS4 – Better Without

Via Wikimedia

The RS 4 is Audi’s response to other four-door German mid-size performance luxury sedans, primarily the Mercedes C63 AMG and the BMW M3. Throughout the 2000s, this Audi was powered by a V8, just like its competition. It used the same V10-based engine that powered the RS 5. While this motor was plenty powerful for the small sedan, it was replaced by an even more potent twin-turbo V6, hooked up to Audi’s signature Quattro drivetrain that sends that power through all four wheels. Making this car even more enticing is its wagon Avant variant. While many people greatly prefer to buy a boring crossover instead of a wagon, Audi offers a practical solution for car enthusiasts who want something fast and fun to drive. It’s just a shame that Audi will never sell the Avant stateside, as Americans have an aversion to wagons.

Sources: Motor Trend, Audi, Road and Track

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