Buying Guides

The Best Cars With V8 Power

These are the cars with that sought after V8 rumble

Wade Thiel, Senior Staff Writer

In the age of turbocharged four-cylinders, hybrids, and electric cars, the V8 is a bit of an anomaly. However, this large displacement engine has survived because it simply offers characteristics that other engines can't. Yes, you can get better gas mileage and decent power from a turbocharged four or six-cylinder engine, but the moment you claim that it's just as enjoyable an experience as a V8 engine burbling under the hood, we're going to have to disagree. V8's may be on their way out, but that doesn't stop the ones that are still out there from being an absolute joy. It also helps that V8s tend to show up in some of the better-to-drive cars out there. The pairing of a V8 engine with an excellent-to-drive car, makes for an experience like none other, which is why we've rounded up some of the best cars with V8 power.

2017 Lexus GS F

 
  • PROS: Thrilling 5.0-liter V8, sporty driving characteristics, spacious and comfortable cabin, excellent seating position.
  • CONS: Transmission is on the slower side, smaller trunk than rivals, confusing infotainment system controls.

The GS F isn’t quite as hardcore as cars like the BMW M5, Mercedes-AMG E43, or the Cadillac CTS-V, but it still provides a satisfying experience for the money. The sedan offers a luxurious interior, an eye-catching exterior, and plenty of features. Notable amenities include a dynamic gauge cluster, Lexus Enform infotainment system with a 12.3-inch screen, a Mark Levinson surround sound system with 17 speakers, and Lexus Safety System+ with pre-collision alert and pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, high-beam headlamps, and lane departure alert with steering assist.

Under the hood lurks a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. The engine has a 7,300 rpm redline, which means you can really wring it out. Power filters through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels and a torque vectoring differential makes whipping the car around a turn even easier.

2017 BMW 650i Gran Coupe

 
  • PROS: Twin-turbo V8 engine, sleek exterior, opulent interior, long list of available features, excellent driving dynamics, rear or all-wheel drive.
  • CONS: Really only seats four, back seats can be tight, rear visibility could be better, high sticker price.

The BMW 6-Series Gran Coupe ($81,400 starting MSRP) combines the sleek lines of a coupe in a more easily accessible four door package. The 6-Series Gran Coupe comes in a couple different trim levels, but if you want V8 power, you opt for the 650i. It comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out 445 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. It also has a dynamic damper control system and available all-wheel drive to keep the car’s long shape under control at speed. Make no mistake, the 650i Gran Coupe backs up its sleek looks with substance, offering excellent driving dynamics.

The car isn’t just about looking good and driving well, though, BMW fitted the 650i with luxurious interior materials and tons of features and amenities. The most interesting features include BMW’s iDrive 6.0 system with a 10.2-inch display, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Amazon echo, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, frontal collision warning, and Wi-Fi hotspot technology.

2017 Chrysler 300

 
  • PROS: 5.7-liter HEMI V8, smooth infotainment system, available all-wheel drive, cozy and upscale interior.
  • CONS: Safety scores could be higher, not the best resale values, upgraded suspension on higher trims makes for a rough ride.

Love the Dodge Charger, but need a more upscale interior and a bit more prestige? Go with the Chrysler 300 ($32,340 starting MSRP). It’s true the 300 comes with a V6 as its base engine but you can upgrade to the raucous 5.7-liter V8 engine. Aside from that, the car can be had with all-wheel drive, Bluetooth, Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch display, Beats or Harman Kardon audio systems, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, Nappa leather seats, hand-sanded wood accents, and up to 20-inch wheels.

The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 forces out 363 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. That power is filtered through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, there’s no manual offered. Suspension and wheel upgrades are offered, but they can ruin the 300’s ride, and we’d recommend sticking with the comfortable stock suspension.

2017 Lexus LS 460

 
  • PROS: Smooth 4.6-liter V8, plush and roomy cabin, optional all-wheel drive, good list of standard features.
  • CONS: Convoluted infotainment controls, uninspired handling, rivals are much more fun to drive.

The impeccable cabin of the Lexus LS ($72,520 starting MSRP) should be enough to make you want to pay its high price tag. It’s a well-appointed car and comes with a long list of features, including Lexus Enform infotainment system with navigation, apps, and a 12.3-inch display, exclusive Shimamuku wood trim, Mark Levinson 19-speaker surround sound system, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, pre-collision system, rear-seat entertainment system, and Bluetooth.

The 4.6-liter V8 makes 386 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque in rear-wheel drive. Opt for the all-wheel drive system and you lose a little power, putting the output at 360 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. No matter what you choose, you’ll have power go through an 8-speed automatic transmission. If the LS is a little too boring in the handling department, consider adding the F Sport package.

2017 Jaguar XJ

 
  • PROS: Supercharged 5.0-liter V8, swanky interior with tons of room, good steering and handling, optional all-wheel drive, regal exterior styling.
  • CONS: Infotainment system still isn’t as good as rivals, intrusive start/stop, poor rear visibility.

The Jaguar XJ ($74,400 starting MSRP) has to compete in a tough segment filled with big hitters from German brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The car does so well, giving people a British alternative that can be had with a supercharged V8 engine. While the engine is noteworthy, so is the sumptuous interior and the long list of features, including Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, onboard Wi-Fi, leather throughout the cabin, a dynamic damping suspension system, blind-spot monitoring, 4-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, parking assist, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

When it comes to engines, there are a couple options. You can get the supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine that puts out 470 hp and 424 lb-ft of torque or the up-tuned version of that engine that boosts output to 550 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. Either way, you get a powerful large sedan that’s ready for fun driving whenever you are.

2017 Kia K900

 
  • PROS: Naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, lots of standard features, high-class interior materials, attractive exterior styling, better value than its rivals.
  • CONS: No brand prestige, uninspiring handing, vague steering.

The Kia K900 ($49,900 starting MSRP) represents one of the best values in the automotive industry right now. It comes with a V6 as its base engine, but come up a step and you’ll find a powerful V8. The V8 mill under the hood isn’t the most impressive part of the car, though. That lies in the long list of features that are standard, including Sirius XM radio, UVO infotainment system with a 9.2-inch touchscreen, heated and ventilated seats, heated rear seats, leather upholstery, a power trunk lid, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. There’s also a long list of optional equipment, including front and rear cameras, radar cruise control, head-up display, power-reclining rear seats, surround view camera system, and a heated steering wheel.

The 5.0-liter V8 engine manages to punch out 420 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque. All that power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels. With numbers like that, you might think the K900 is a luxury sports sedan, but the car simply doesn’t handle that well. It’s perfect for rocketing around people on the highway, but ask too much of the car in the corners and you’ll find it’s not much for spirited driving.

2017 Genesis G80

 
  • PROS: Strong 5.0-liter V8, available all-wheel drive, high interior style, high-class interior materials, more affordable than rivals, a longer list of standard features than the competition.
  • CONS: Brand not as well-known or respected its rivals, heavy in turns, could use more steering feedback.

The Genesis brand is the luxury arm of Hyundai, and the company has come out with two heavy hitters right away in the G80 and the G90. It will be interesting to see how the public responds and if this brand can reach to where it has its sights set. If the G80 ($41,750 starting MSRP) is any indication of what’s to come, we see a bright future for Genesis. The model is priced below the competition, offers powerful engines, good driving dynamics and a long list of standard and optional features including, leather interior materials, power heated and ventilated seats, rain-sensing wipers, a 9.2-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth, parking sensors, a power-operated trunk, automatic braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind-spot detection.

The G80 comes with a V6 standard but the there’s a 5.0-liter V8 you can upgrade to. It puts out 420 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque to either the rear or all four wheels through the help of a silky smooth 8-speed automatic transmission. While the G80 is pretty sporty, it does feel a little weighty in the corners. Still, if you can put up with that, it’s a heck of a luxury sedan for the money.

What makes a V8 special?

  • Intoxicatingly high level of power.
  • Melodious and deep engine noise.
  • Smooth and linear power delivery.
  • Not many cars use this big of an engine anymore.

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