Why We Have Always Loved The V8

October 29, 2018 4:04 pm

Of all the engines that have ever been designed and fitted to cars, the V8 has been the most versatile. From the early muscle cars in America, to the small B-road specialists in the United Kingdom, the V8 has been the workhorse of everyday driving. Now we see this engine has gone through a major transformation and is now the firm staple of the largest most successful manufacturers in the world. Jaguar, Land Rover, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and more have charged the V8 to new heights. It’s not just sports cars that have used this engine successfully, it can now be the choice of a family car too. Although the V4 and the V6 have made awesome comebacks, they have arrived late to the party and the V8 is still the king. But why do we love this engine so much?

A shot of testosterone

The V8 engine is actually relatively small, at least compared to the V10 and the V12. However, it’s able to be compact, strong and have small displacement. The early muscle cars proved that this engine could be supercharged to staggering power. The Dodge Challenger, Charger, the Chevrolet Camaro and of course the Ford Mustang have long since been the image of the dragster cars. The V8s that were designed for these cars focussed on torque which is needed for acceleration and pulling power. They lacked in sustained acceleration, not having a very high speed but they could get to 60 or 100 mph quicker than anything else. A shot of speed, adrenaline soon became the ‘man’s car’ option.

Britain’s love affair

The UK is known for making two engines perhaps better than anyone else; the Straight-six and the V12. almost on the opposite ends of the spectrum, these engines caused a gap in the middle and something needed to be done to bridge it. Enter the Rover V8, which was fitted into so many cars but chief among them the TVR Griffith. Fitted in such a small car that only weighed a little over 1-tonne, you can see how fast this 375 bhp car was back in the day. Jaguar also designed it’s own V8 choosing to supercharge it. The latest Land Rover cars also use the Jaguar 5.0 supercharged V8 to provide excellent pulling power and torque. Since they are strong engines, even a used range rover is well worth the money. These engines produce around 500 bhp and a fantastic 500 ibf of torque making it light work to pull these heavy luxury off-roaders.

The new age

Why shouldn’t manufacturers love the V8 when they can now push the bhp/litre ratio to almost 200 bhp? Look at the McLaren P1 and it’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 that pushes out 727 bhp and 531 ibf. That’s a groundbreaking 191 bhp per litre achievement. The Ferrari 3.9 litre engine pushed out 710 bhp but 568 ibf of torque. Small displacement and huge power thanks to the latest V8 and turbocharging technology. This is the new age of supercar engines.

The V8 has been the working man’s horse for a long time. That automatically makes us fall in love with it because it’s affordable and exciting at the same time. In this new age of monster power, this engine will continue to surprise us.

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