In an era of more fuel-efficient and less-is-more engines, it’s hard to come by as many V8 engine cars as there used to be. Sometimes, it can even be tough in the performance market, surprisingly enough. For example, the average, base-model Ford Mustang now comes with a turbocharged 4 cylinder in 2018. The automotive industry has taken this philosophy and ran with it, it would seem, as more efficient turbocharged engines are gradually replacing the high-displacement monsters.
The truth is that it’s not all bad, it’s just that the times have changed. Stricter EPA requirements, better turbochargers and advancements in engine design have created less need for more cylinders. More efficiency is now more important than displacement, as engineers are figuring out how to squeeze upwards of 300 horses out of a 2.0L turbo-four.
The fact of the matter is that you won’t come across many V8 engine cars as easily as you could have 10 years ago. Upper models of cars like the Camaro and Mustang will still offer them in their top-tier levels, while they’ll be more standard and common in the upper-level brands like Aston Martin and Porsche.
That said, it’s also not uncommon now for today’s V8s to be far more powerful than their predecessors. For example, the now-classic Thunderbird V8 engine offered 225 horsepower, which left heads spinning at that time. These days, a 2-liter turbocharged-4-cylinder Ford Focus ST comes with that and then some! Heck, even the Mazdaspeed 3 was doing it nearly a decade ago.
The days of big V8s aren’t all over though, as there are still quite a few options out there for the power hungry among us. However, they’re going to cost a little bit more. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it though.
We took a cross-section of the best V8 engine cars still out on dealer lots today to create this list of the best surviving big engines across today’s muscle car, sports car and luxury markets.
Chevrolet Camaro SS
The Chevrolet Camaro has become one of the go-to associations when you think about American muscle cars and in fact, it’s been that way for quite some time now. They might just deserve this recognition, as they’ve gotten better with the years (we admit, this point could be argued).
If you’re looking for a powerful V8 muscle car, it’s worth checking out the SS, the ZL1, or even the oft-forgotten 2014/15 Z/28, which pumped out an impressive 505 hp from its 7.0L V8. For the 2018 year, all Camaros equipped with the 8-cylinder mill will also have launch control to give an upper edge at the dragstrip.
While the 6.2-liter engine churns out 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque, the supercharged ZL1 boasts upwards of 650 horses.
If speed is important, the Camaro surely has that too. The ZL1’s V-8 LT4 engine will get you up to speed without the lag, with this Corvette engine pulling the Camaro from 0-60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds. Not bad for a muscle car, right? Didn’t think so.
The most recent Camaro is proving to be one of the most powerful and best among the American muscle market.