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Best V8 Engines Ever Produced

In almost all cases, manufacturers who choose to equip their cars with a V8 engine do so knowingly and deliberately. After all, such engines represent the first big step in crossing over a threshold to where performance becomes the sole focus; efficiency and economy are often not even invited as guests for a ride-along in the back seat.

With a quick glance at the back mirror, those pesky 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines begin to disappear into the horizon. Then, with the proverbial “pedal-to-the-medal”, the V8 power plant unanimously declares “all-in” with a loud roar – because this journey is all about thrill-seeking and checking things off the bucket list.

While high-performance V8 engines have normally been reserved for exotics – and muscle cars, in the more distant past – its application has been seen more in the mainstream these days. With the proliferation of automotive technologies, the V8 engine has become a gateway into the world of attainable supercar performance; each new engine is better than the one before it. But if you prefer roaring V10s, or hearty V12s, check these links out. However, if V8s are more your cup of tea, read on.

Here’s the shortlist of 10 such engines, curated for your reading pleasure:

Ferrari F106

Ferrari F106 Engine

Ferrari’s F106 V8 engine dates as far back as 1973, where it first featured in the Dino 308 GT4. Right from the get-go, it produced an impressive 250 hp from a 2.9L naturally-aspirated engine, which featured a flat-plane crank and dual-overhead cams.

Such was the longevity and capability of the F106 unit, that it continued to be used – with significant updates and revisions along the way, including electronic fuel injection and multi-valve heads – for more than 30 years. Notable models which were equipped with the engine include the F355, 360 Modena, and arguably the most famous Ferrari of them all; the Ferrari F40, which fashioned a twin-turbocharged version of the F106 producing 471 hp.

Dodge Supercharged Hemi

Dodge Supercharged Hemi Engine

Dodge’s Hellcat series of cars have really taken the world by storm, offering almost unfathomable power in a non-exotic production vehicle – or any vehicle for that matter. It’s truly a revival of the “American muscle” movement, with the supercharged Hemi able to produce as much as 807 hp and 717 lb-ft of torque via the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Super Stock. Handling, agility, and all that other kind of stuff aside, this makes the Hellcat Challenger/Charger the quintessential American sports car which can be had for well under the 6-figure mark brand new.

The automaker is now offering the 6.2L ‘Redeye’ V8 as a crate engine (aptly nicknamed ‘Hellcrate’) through Mopar. It can be purchased at a starting price of US$21,807. The ‘Redeye’ version comes with a larger supercharger than the previous Hellcrate engine and has been tuned for more boost, a slightly higher redline, and a host of other improvements. These are what has allowed it to improve from 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque to its current 807 hp state. An absolute unit.

BMW S63

BMW S63 Engine

Like other automakers on this list, BMW is no stranger to producing some of the world’s best V8 engines. The latest incarnation would be its masterpiece ‘S63‘ – a 4.4L twin-turbocharged engine that produces at least 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque in the current-gen BMW M5 sedan.

Though it’s true that this grants the quintessential luxury-performance saloon some serious supercar credentials, a look back to days gone by reminds us that engines such as the ‘S62’ and ‘S65′ deserve just as much recognition for their contribution to the Bavarians’ V8 platform. Respectively, each engine displaced 4.9L and 4.0L and were both naturally aspirated.

Lexus 2UR-GSE

Lexus 2UR-GSE Engine

The 2UR-GSE is the latest iteration of Lexus‘ increasingly iconic naturally-aspirated V8 power plant. Currently reserved for the marque’s high-performance models – such as the IS F, RC F, GS F, LC 500, and brand-new IS 500 – the 5.0L engine blends typical Lexus reliability with a high-revving Japanese character. In its most powerful configuration, the 2UR-GSE produces 475 hp in the Lexus LC 500. Amidst an ever-changing landscape shifting towards hybridization and electrification, we hope that Lexus’ legendary naturally-aspirated V8 lives on for as long as possible

Much like our other selections, the 2UR-GSE owes much of its distinctions to predecessors such as the 1UZ-FE which debuted in 1989. This 4.0L V8 engine has proven to be bulletproof over the test of time, in addition to the universal recognition it has received for being smooth, refined, and sufficiently powerful for its intended application. It has served as the platform upon which the formidable GSE would eventually be conceived.

Ferrari F136

Ferrari F136 Engine

The F136 succeeded the legendary F106, first appearing as a 4.3L naturally-aspirated engine in the 2004 Ferrari F430, producing 483 hp. Like the F106, the F136 would see widespread application throughout the Ferrari lineup; however, it was also featured on a number of Maserati models in concert with the relationship between the two marques.

Most notably, a 454 hp, 4.7L version of the F136 featured on the Maserati GranTurismo and is widely regarded as having one of the best engine/exhaust notes to come out of the V8. The F136 would reach its zenith in the Ferrari 458 Italia Speciale, where it cranked out a massive 597 hp from its 4.5L naturally-aspirated power plant.

Perhaps the most significant (and regretful) fact about the F136, is that it is the last naturally-aspirated V8 engine Ferrari would ever produce. It was replaced by the twin-turbocharged F154 V8 engine in 2015, where it debuted on the Ferrari 488 GTB.

McLaren M830T / M840T

McLaren M830T / M840T Engine

Despite only producing V8-powered automobiles since as recently as 2011 (via the MP4-12C), you could argue that McLaren‘s engineers are truly the world’s V8 engine artisans, and few would dispute that. After all, it’s virtually all they know these days, with every single McLaren model – bar the V6-hybrid McLaren Artura – fitted with some adaptation of their M838T or M840T twin-turbocharged V8 motors.

The 3.8L M838T is found in its Sports Series range of cars, which includes the entry-level McLaren 540C and goes all the way up to the indomitable 666 hp McLaren 675 LT. The 4.0L M840T features on all of the Super Series cars, which covers the ‘700 range’ of models, plus the addition of the McLaren GT. In its Ultimate form, the 4.0L unit – dubbed the M840TR – produces 814 hp in the McLaren Senna GTR. The McLaren Speedtail hybrid ‘hyper GT produces some 1,035 hp through the combination of an M840T and electric motor.

GM Small Block LT1/LT2

GM Small Block LT1/LT2 Engine

Introduced in 2014 for the C7 Corvette, the 6.2L naturally-aspirated V8 LT1 engine is part of GM’s 5th-generation small block engine family. It continues to be used on the present-day Camaro, with a new version of the engine – known as the LT2 – carrying on the bloodline via the brand new mid-engine C8 Corvette. The LT2 retains the 6.2L capacity but is more powerful than the LT1, producing at least 495 hp and 470 lb-ft in its latest configuration.

This was achieved by designing more efficient air-intakes sand exhaust manifolds, while also featuring a better lubrication system and more resilient camshaft. While it’s not a monster-out-of-the-box like say, Dodge’s Hellcat engine, the lightweight naturally-aspirated powerplant remains perfectly suited for what the Corvette is the best at delivering – brilliant all-around performance at a fraction of the cost of comparable options. The still-relevant LT1 is now being offered as a crate engine via GM’s performance division, with its 460 hp on tap for under US$10,000. Project car, anyone?

Audi 4.2L FSI

Audi 4.2L FSI Engine

When Audi’s 4.2L FSI V8 engine was introduced, it was a bit of a departure from what Audi enthusiasts had grown accustomed to over the years. As one of the marques which helped to proliferate the use of turbochargers on production cars, the aforementioned engine first appeared in the 2006 Audi RS4 as a high-revving naturally-aspirated power plant.

Over time, it proved to be a fan-favorite in spite of its lack of forced induction and featured on such models as the RS5 and mid-engined R8. As a naturally aspirated unit, the FSI V8 was able to rev up to 8,250 rpm and had a distinctively exotic exhaust note, regardless of the model it was mounted in.

The engine remained naturally-aspirated up until its use in the 444 hp Audi RS5; since then, recent iterations of the engine are now turbocharged and produce up to 600 hp.

Mercedes-AMG M178

Mercedes-AMG M178 Engine

The modern-day Mercedes-AMG line-up is blessed with their omnipotent ‘M178’ 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8, which itself deserves all the plaudits and is a shoo-in for selection. While it’s the most advanced iteration of the automaker’s V8, our personal favorite would have to be the ‘M156’ 6.2L V8 first powered the 467 hp naturally-aspirated C63 AMG. Like its successor, the M156 would feature in almost every Mercedes-AMG model of that era, including the SL63.

The ultimate version of this V8 motor would be the ‘M159’, which was equipped in the automaker’s flagship SLS supercar, producing 622 hp. The SLS has since been succeeded by the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, which produces 720 hp from its twin-turbocharged ‘M178’, and recently set the new production car lap record at the Nürburgring.

Ford ‘Voodoo’ Flat-Plane

Ford 'Voodoo' Flat-Plane Engine

The ‘Voodoo’ engine produced by Ford is a 5.2L naturally-aspirated V8 which was made especially for cars such as the 526 hp Mustang Shelby GT350 and GT350R. Suffice to say, the Voodoo was a match made in heaven for the line-up’s most balanced and track-focused Mustang models. By utilizing a flat-plane crankshaft, the engine weighs less and revs faster and higher (to 8,250 rpm) than the otherwise standard engines in other models. Its configuration also gives it an almost-exotic exhaust note, border-lining on ‘un-American’ – but owners won’t mind, as their domestic car hangs just fine with the exotics and other high-end sports cars on the race-track.

Following the template of past flat-plane V8 engines, the Voodoo applies similar principles as engines that once powered hot-rods and muscle cars back in the 20th century – with impressive bang-for-buck, the engines produced big horsepower at a fraction of the cost of what was used in European sports cars and even domestic rivals. This provided owners with a rightfully potent automobile, and extra money left in the bank. It’s hard to argue with that!

2022 Special Edition Corvette Stingray

Chevrolet revealed a limited edition model for the 2022 model year, the Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition, only 1,000 units will be available on LHD markets with styling to mimic the championship dominating No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette C8.R race cars that took the IMSA’s sports car championship series in the 2020 season, taking the Manufacturers, Drivers, and Team titles!

During the unveiling at the Belle Isle Park Raceway, Corvette Racing’s team Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia arrived in the coupe and convertible No. 3 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Editions on the track. Teammate Nick Tandy led on track in a Corvette Stingray convertible, the official pace car of the 2021 Detroit Grand Prix while Corvette Racing’s driver Tommy Milner was behind the inspiration for the 2022 special edition, the actual No. 4 Corvette C8.R race car.

The limited-edition Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition is available in two colors, either Accelerate Yellow inspired by the No.3 race car, or Hypersonic Grey for the No.4 edition, both come with Corvette Racing team graphics package, either grey or yellow depending on the body color. The Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition is based on the 3LT trim with the Z51 Performance package, depending on the market the car is destined for, these come with the High-wing spoiler in carbon fiber, yellow brake calipers, Black Trident design wheels complete with “Jake” logo on the center caps, and black lug nuts, Carbon Flash finished exterior mirrors, black side sills and splash guards.

For the inside the standard seats for the IMSA GTLM Championship Edition are the GT2 seats, the Competition Sport seats are also possible, but the upholstery is always a combination of Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray to correspond with the exterior yellow and grey theme, yellow seat belts are standard as is a special, individually numbered C8.R plaque between the seats.

But it’s not only the special C8.R edition that’s new for the 2022 model year, on the regular Corvette you are now able to specify three new exterior shades, Hypersonic Gray, Caffeine, and an optional Amplify Orange Tintcoat that comes at a premium, if you’re not a fan of the High-wing spoiler at the rear, you can now opt for a new, low-profile rear wing too, even the Z51 front splitter can now be ticked on the options list without adding the entire Z51 performance package.

The Chevrolet Corvette is available as a coupe with a removable roof panel and as a convertible with a retractable hardtop, in either 1LT, 2LT, or 3LT trim level on both variants, the Z51 Performance Package can be added to all trim levels, the MY2022 Corvette Stingray is available from local dealerships from July 1st on, starting at $62,195, including destination freight charge, for coupe models and $69,695, including DFC, for the convertible, production of the MY2020 at the Bowling Green  Assembly plant is scheduled for late Q3 2021.

Dubai Ambulance Adds Corvette and Nissan GT-R to Fleet

Dubai has a reputation as the city where hedonistic opulence dominates. Everything is more luxurious. From the seven-star hotels to the endless luxury shopping malls, everything seems gold-plated. In an effort to maintain the city’s reputation, and no doubt in pursuit of Dubai’s show-stopping police department, the city’s ambulance service has this week announced the purchase of three high-end luxury cars.

The police force already runs a fleet of mega-expensive hypercars. The collection includes some of the most desireable cars on earth; the Bugatti Veyron and the Aston Martin One 77, two examples. Dubai’s ambulance service follows this month with the announcement that it has purchased a Nissan GT-R and Chevrolet alongside a new Range Rover.

Dubai Ambulance Corvette

If you suffer a heart attack while out shopping, or get struck watching one of the famous (but highly illegal) Tafheet drift events, don’t expect these vehicles to rush to your assistance. The Dubai ambulance service will use them mostly for patrols in tourist areas and for the odd sporting event.

The Dubai ambulance service suggests that response times can be reduced from 4 to 8 minutes using the vehicles. Each one has been equipped with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) equipment and oxygen cylinders as well as road traffic-specific resuscitation equipment.

The three vehicles join a Lotus Elvora, a Dodge Challenger and two Ford Mustangs which the service ran prior to its latest announcement.

GTSPIRIT NEWSLETTER

Customized 1000HP Yenko Corvette

The dudes over at Specialty Vehicle Engineering in Michigan are responsible for Frankenstein’s second coming. These guys will allow their customers to order a 1000 Hp customized Yenko Corvette from an authentic Chevrolet dealer. Their custom job then stitches the most aggressive and performance-enhancing aspects together to provide a real monster of the roads.

The will first let you can get a vehicle as a convertible or a coupe, as an automatic or a manual and in any standard Corvette factory paint color. As you would do if you were shopping for a regular Corvette. What isn’t regular is the extra bang for your bucks this custom job offers.

Customers of Specialty Vehicle Engineering get the perks of added displacement of an extra 0.4 litres, H-beam rods and steel crankshafts, aluminum pistons, custom supercharger, upgraded fueling and many many many more enhancements. The list is rather endless and something a real car enthusiast may like to consult.

All we need to know is it looks and acts the part.

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Mid-engine Corvette — our clearest pictures yet

Hurray, high resolution! Spy photographers have delivered the highest-quality pictures yet of the future mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette, this time as it was undergoing winter testing in the Arctic. This would seem to be the same test mule previously spotted from high-above a test track and at a McDonald’s, but these provide the best glimpse yet of what we might expect from a mid-engine Corvette, or whatever this ends up being. The only difference seems to be the wheels and tires, but that’s because of the snow.

At the very least, we can now spot that despite having its engine in the back, this Corvette maintains a removable, targa-style roof. We can now clearly make out the lines at the windshield header and across the B-pillar/roll bar. We can also spot that there is clearly an air intake underneath the square-ish black side panel — as if the enormous rear end and short front-end weren’t already enough of a mid-engine tipoff. (Question: Is the area aft of the backlight large enough to fit the removed roof and perhaps a trunk like the original Acura NSX?)

Also, from what we can make out of the fascia beneath all that black camo, there’s very little to dissuade from the ongoing belief that this will indeed be a Corvette. Whether it’s a C7 replacement or an addition to a new Corvette family is still anyone’s guess at this point.

In any event, enjoy flipping through the pics … as if you haven’t already.

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