The mighty V8 engine. Loud, powerful, and simple. It’s truly a recipe for success. But, unfortunately, the V8 is a dying breed, being replaced by turbo 4-cylinders and awkward V6’s. But why?
In this article, I’m going to relight the fire of the V8!
Camaros, Corvettes, nd SUV’s, oh my! The LS platform powers just about everything GM makes, and for good reason, too. The LS family of engines are known to be both reliable and powerful, with potential that’s through the roof. You want an economy build? Okay. Here’s 40 miles per gallon. You want a power build? Okay. Here’s 1,000 horsepower. You want a cheap swap? Okay. Well, people have done it for free.
How? Well, buy a wrecked car and salvage the engine out of it and sell off parts from the rest of the vehicle. Because, you’ve got to remember, LS engines came in so many different types of cars trucks and even vans!
The LS engine is perfect for swaps because it’s a light engine with crazy potential. Because of this the LS is seen in many forms of motorsport, like Formula DRIFT, drag racing, autocross, and even all-out track racing.
So, while the LS engine is cheap, reliable, and very tunable, the next engine on this list isn’t the same. It’s expensive and temperamental, but she screams. What motor am I talking about? The Ferrari F154.
Huh? What motor is that you ask? Well, it’s the one that powers the legendary Ferrari 488. Remember how you could get an LS motor for essential no money? Well, the same can’t be said about the F154. I mean, it is a Ferrari after all. More than you can afford, pal.
Buying a F154 used is going to be more than $40,000. Nevertheless, this is a list about the best V8’s out there, and the F154 is definitely one of the best, considering Ferrari strapped two turbos to it just upped the fun factor to the next level.
And if you chop off two cylinders from the Ferrari F154, it’s essentially the engine that powers Alfa Romeo Gulia Quadrifoglio. So, the Ferrari F154 is good both as a V8 and as a V6!
But, it’s still pretty pricey. In fact, it costs more than a new car that this next engine comes in. Yes, that’s right, you could buy a brand new Mustang GT powered by the awesome Coyote 5.0 V8 engine for $35,000.
$35,000 for a Ford Mustang GT is $5,000 less than the Ferrari F154, for a brand new car! And while the Coyote is mostly known for its Mustang applications, Ford even threw the Coyote in their F-150 pickups. And if you want to know about the most badass F-150’s ever produced, you can watch our video all about them!
But the Coyote engine was developed with the Mustang in mind. Made to rival the likes of GM’s LS motors and Dodge’s Hemis, the Coyote was the new kid on the block, debuting on the 2011 model year Mustang, trumpeting that glorious exhaust note ever since. And they still reign as the Mustang’s standard V8 powerplant to this day.
These can be built up to some serious power numbers, numbers that could rival this next engine on our list, the McLaren M840T.
The M840T is another engine that’s better known from the car, the McLaren 720S. Yea, that one, the supercar with hyper-car performance! And that’s all thanks to its badass 4.0-liter 90-degree twin-turbocharged flat-plane crank V8, so powerful that the 720S does 0 to 60 in 7.8 seconds! That’s twice as fast as most cars. And that’s thanks in part to it’s 710 horsepower.
McLaren liked the engine so much that they developed it for the 765LT, the more bonkers version of the 720S. And that one ups the power to 755 horsepower! But if that’s not enough for you, you might just need to phone Koenigsegg to get their 90-degree twin-turbo V8.
This V8 powers the fastest car on the planet. That’s thanks in part to its 1,160 horsepower. Yeah! A whole 1,160 horsepower! Bonkers! So, if you want one you’ll have to call up Koenigsegg with a load of cash, just to get a hold of the right guy. Some guy named Mats.
Mats is the only human on Earth that’s trusted with these masterpieces. And unfortunately, there’s only 25 of these floating around. So, chances are you’ll never be able to get ahold of one of these, much less even see one.
But I bet you’ve seen this next badass V8, the SRT Hellcat.
With a name like Hellcat, you know it’s one rowdy dog. And with 707 horsepower on tap, the Hellcat gives anyone a fun ride for a cheap entry. Not to mention, its got tons of supercharger whine! And it comes with a factory warranty bought directly from a Dodge dealership.
It’s also offered in a coupe, sedan, and SUV, all for less than $100,000! And considering you can buy both a Challenger and Charger Hellcat capable of 200 miles per hour for less than $40,000, I’d call this a semi-affordable beast! And if you want more utility, you could go with a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk for $60,000.
So, the utility is there, and it’s also practical and powerful. But what if you wanted that in the 1930’s? You’d go get a Ford Flathead V8!
Ford Flathead V8
Molding new technologies into a small lightweight and powerful V8 engines, not only was the technology revolutionary when it came out, but it stayed relevant for over 20 years! And even to this day, it’s a go-to for early hot rod enthusiasts.
Ford’s Flathead V8 is literally the V8 that made V8’s relevant for people other than just the super rich. And not only that, but Ford developed the heads of the motor so that they were a lot more efficient and made a significant amount of power easily and cheaply.
This next engine isn’t cheap, but it does make a heck of a lot of power, and with very little displacement. The Ferrari F136.
What? Another Ferrari engine? That’s right, this is the one that powers the 458. High-revving? Yeah. Lots of power? Yeah. A really cool exhaust note? Yeah. Does it come in a really cool car? Of course! This is Ferrari we’re talking about!
The F136 has 562 horsepower and a 9,000 RPM redline! Considering it’s only a 4.5-liter V8, the engine outputs 125 horsepower-per-liter, making it the highest amount of power-per-liter of any naturally-aspirated engine! Pretty badass, huh?
What if I told you one of these powered another bright red car? One with less supercar roots, and more of a drift car history. Yeah! It’s been done! Thanks to Ryan Tuerck, who put together a F136-powered GT86, which he codenamed the GT4586.
And man, does this car like to go sideways. Same with the car that has this next engine, the Mercedes SLS AMG.
So, what powers the SLS? The legendary Mercedes M159. Not only will it execute flawless drifts, but it sounds good doing them. Just listen to that thing. It’s a beast! It shreds tires and drinks gas fast, and that’s why we love the M159.
Not only that, but it’s also used in the AMG GT3 racecar. The M159 takes what we love about that standard AMG M156 engine in most 63 and 63S AMG models, and turns the excitement up a notch. And the 622 horsepower comes all natural, baby!
But, it’s not all great, because if you want to swap one of these into your car, you’re looking at at least $20,000 in parts. But, if you ask me, it might just be worth it. From the looks of things, the M159 started off reliable, but the more miles people put on these engines, the more they seem to have issues.
Well, that’s not the case with this next motor, it’s got that whole reliability thing handled. Known to have powered a few cars over 1,000,000 miles, say hello to the Lexus 1UZ-FE!
Not only is the Lexus 1UZ-FE reliable, but it’s got silky smooth power delivery, while being a high-revving V8. It’s also ridiculously strong. Some say these motors are the Japanese equivalent of the GM LS motors, but if you ask me, they might be better! Sorry, America!
Now, while the 1UZ-FE was never offered with a manual transmission, most of them powered rear-wheel drive cars. The Lexus 1UZ-FE doesn’t only like to power things on the ground, it likes the air too. Lexus strapped two turbos to a 1UZ-FE and developed an aircraft engine! Not only that, but this new engine, the FV2400-2TC, was FAA certified! And they even had some flight testing!
Unfortunately, this project was canceled a year into production, but it’s still pretty cool that Lexus has been a part of aviation history.
Not only is the 1UZ used on land and on air, it’s a common swap into boats. Why? Because of its huge tuning potential! Coming with forged internals and a rock solid design, these engines were able to hold some serious power. 800 horsepower without upgrading the bottom end, cams, manifold, ring gap, or even porting! And considering you can pick these motors up for around $1,500, it’s perfect for a swap too.