5. Radical 2.7L RPE V8
Have you ever heard of the Radical V8? No one can blame you since Radical is a tiny British car manufacturer that produces sports and race track cars. They base their engines on Suzuki motorcycle units. This may sound strange, but the Radical has one of the most interesting, highest revving V8s in the car industry. This makes it a sure contender on this list.
The basis for the Radical 2.7-liter V8 is two Suzuki straight four motorcycle engines. When combined, they make a V8, retaining all of the motorcycle engine characteristics. This engine makes the Radical 2.7-liter V8 rev up to 10,500 rpm and delivers 405 HP. Such a small, high-revving engine can`t have big torque figures. However, in the case of Radical cars, torque is not important, since their SR8 model weighs only 1,600 pounds.
6. McLaren 4.0-liter M840T Twin Turbo
When McLaren introduced its 650S model featuring a brand new 3.8-liter V8 unit, the whole automotive world was caught by storm. The combination of the McLaren design, a perfectly tuned chassis and the turbocharged V8 was unbeatable.
Today, there is a new model, the 720S, which features a brand new 4.0-liter V8 with same basic construction. But, it has over 40 percent new parts and components. And, you guessed it, it is sublimely good. The power output is 710 HP and 568 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to launch the new McLaren sports car to fantastic speeds.
McLaren is one of the first companies to introduce downsized and turbocharged V8 engines. And with this unit, they prove that this famous British sports car and racing outfit is still at the forefront of V8 technology.
7. Mercedes 6.2-liter M156/159 V8
They discontinued this glorious V8 and replaced it with the fantastic M178 already featured on this list. But, this naturally aspirated unit is so good and since they installed it in so many models up to 2014, this makes it modern and available on the used car market.
The secret of the M156/159 is its great construction. This is a classic, sporty V8 engine with 6.2-liters, perfect block and head construction, high revving capacity and 571 to 631 HP on tap. This was the first engine AMG designed on its own. Besides the guaranteed performance and speed, this engine had one of the best soundtracks of all time, achieving it without any sound enhancers.
Basically, the M156/159 was the last great classic V8. The engines that succeeded it had either smaller displacement or forced induction to achieve the same power level. They produced this engine in large numbers since they installed in 10 Mercedes models, including the mighty compact C63 AMG sedan and the SLS AMG sports car.
8. Chrysler 6.2-Liter SRT Hellcat Supercharged V8
One of the meanest, scariest engines on this list must be Chrysler’s crazy 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi. Chrysler produced these V8s for their Hellcat versions of the Challenger and Charger. This engine pushes the boundaries of not only Hemi design but the concept of a street-legal V8.
With 707 HP and 650 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Hellcat Hemi propels any car to sublime speeds in just a couple of seconds. This is the final and most powerful version of Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi which debuted in 2003. The secret of the Hemi engine is its cylinder head, which is bigger and hemispherical; hence the name. This concept allows the engine to burn more fuel at higher rpm delivering more power.
Even though the basic 5.7 Hemi was a decent engine, Chrysler`s engineers wanted more. With the help of larger displacement block and 2.4-liter supercharger unit, they got the monstrous 707 HP that clearly deserves the nickname, “Hellcat.” However, car fans are afraid that this is the last time they will see crazy engines like this. The trend is downsizing and the Hellcat Hemi could be the last great American V8.
9. BMW 4.4-liter S6344TU Twin Turbo V8
Behind this long, uninspiring name is a world-class V8 powerplant responsible for the stellar performance of the BMW M5, X5 M and X6 M. In the language of numbers, this 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 575 HP and 500 lb-ft of torque.
It is quite odd to see a twin-turbo V8 from BMW. BMW is a company built on the straight six naturally aspirated engine. However, modern times ask for different engines and BMW must deliver to stay on top of the car world. This highly advanced unit includes light materials and has two turbochargers; one for each side of the engine.
Despite producing enough power to make the M5 one of the fastest sedans in the world, a group of enthusiasts discovered the S6344TU delivers even more horsepower than advertised. Independent dyno testing shows this twin-turbo V8 produces up to 620 HP, which is more than the 575 HP the factory claims.
10. Koenigsegg 5.0-liter Spyker V8
The Swedish hypercar manufacturer, Koenigsegg produces bespoke low-flying jets of a car with unbelievable power levels and obsessive attention to detail. Also, they are known for producing their own engines, which every knowledgeable car fan appreciates.
Their latest creation is a 5.0-liter V8 which they will produce in naturally aspirated, as well as turbocharged versions. The N/A variant will deliver 600 HP and will go in the new Spyker model. The version with forced induction will power the new Koenigsegg supercar. The same engine when turbocharged delivers 1,350 HP in the Koenigsegg One:1 model. The factory even claims that this powerplant could produce as much as 1,500 HP with special fuel for an added boost.
An interesting thing about Koenigsegg’s engine production is that the company experiments with engine heads without the camshafts. It will be interesting to see future V8s they equip with this system.
11. Ferrari 3.9-liter F154 Twin Turbo V8
Although Ferrari is best known for its naturally aspirated V12 engines, one driver’s favorite is their twin-turbo V8. The 3.9-liter unit is in several Ferrari models, including the sublimely good 488 GTB and the practical, capable GTC4 Lusso.
However, since Ferrari is a part of Fiat, several more models use the same engine, although in a different form. The Maserati Quattroporte GTS uses the F154, as well as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. However, in the Alfa Romeo, engineers cut two cylinders off, turning the V8 into a V6 with a slightly smaller displacement.
The numbers are astonishing. This twin-turbo mill is capable of delivering 661 HP and revving to 8,000 rpm. Ferrari was one of the first major sports car companies to embrace forced induction, so future versions of this engine will have even more power.
12. Jaguar 5.0-liter SVR Supercharged V8
As a luxury and performance car manufacturer, Jaguar needs powerful engines. So, the basis for their top V8 engine was the AJ133 V8. This engine debuted in 2009 and you can find it in many regular Jaguars and Land Rovers.
However, to attract customers who wanted both performance and speed, Jaguar attached the big Eaton supercharger and reinforced the engine’s internals. This created an all-out performance monster to deliver 575 HP and 516 lb-ft of torque. Those are quite respectable numbers for an all-alloy, supercharged V8.
Interestingly, the design of the block and the heads allow more development. Since Jaguar is always craving more power and better performance numbers, you can expect an even better version soon.
13. Lexus/Toyota 2UR-GSE 5.0-liter V8
The new Lexus LC 500 coupe is one magnificent driving machine. The design and the technology are fascinating, but a big part of its appeal is the engine. In days of supercharging and turbocharging, Lexus decided to go the traditional way and introduce a magnificent, naturally aspirated V8 with 5.0-liters of displacement.
The alloy V8 delivers 471 HP and 398 lb-ft of torque. Even though those numbers are somewhat smaller than the rest of the engines on this list, the 2UR-GSE has a high-revving capacity. It also has the VVTi system and it is lightweight. That is enough to provide a vivid performance to the Lexus LC 500 coupe.
14. Nissan 5.6-liter VK56VD V8
Available in various Nissan and Infiniti products, this V8 powerplant is not your average performance engine. But that is not why it is featured on this list. This engine is a perfect balance between performance, durability and practicality. You can find it in performance models, as well as in big SUVs and trucks.
They made the VK56VD out of light alloy materials, so it features 5.6-liters of displacement. The power ranges from 390 HP to 420 HP, depending on the application. In Australia, Nissan races in the V8 Supercar championship where those engines deliver up to 650 HP in race tune.
The quality of Nissan’s V8 also shined when they installed in the Titan pickup truck. In the Titan, this light but powerful unit shows its true nature. It is also durable and trouble-free for many miles, despite the hard working conditions.
These are the best modern V8 engines today, but keep your eyes open for future updates to this famous horsepower powerhouse.