By on June 24, 2010

As we all know, those oblivious to history are bound to repeat its mistakes. Longtime readers also know I’ve gone down this road before, but the powers of my Twitter news feed shoved extra grist into this particular mill. Behold: Alain Raymond’s blog about the death of the V8 engine. Raymond’s weakest argument revolves around one fact: V8’s did lose mainstream appeal shortly after the demise of the Butterfly Collar. But Alain wishes to beat this dead horse for some misguided reason.

So here are my counterpoints. First, the V8 is crucial for the success of high profit, low volume luxury and performance machines. Second, everything a “high tech” four or six cylinder is privy to, shall work just as well in a V8. Third, if you have a mainstream family car with a V8, you’re might be a cop or a cabbie.

So let’s go Between The Lines:

When you think V8, you think American car, and when you think American Car, you generally think V8. But things are starting to change. Radically. To the point where it’s starting to look like beginning of the end for the venerable 8-cylinder V engine that, for decades, has made the American automobile famous.

Welcome to mid-1970s, Alain. Except for perhaps India and China, everyone makes a V8 engine. But let’s stick with America: outside of Corvettes, Pony Cars and Panther Chassis, nobody associates American cars with the V8. In response to consumer demand, Detroit’s made cars like the imports. But Alain wants to squelch a niche product that makes Mustangs roar and Ford’s profits soar. So let’s go there.

Some will think I’m nuts or maybe just a doomsayer, but let’s take a look at the facts. The arrival of electronics has breathed new life into the internal combustion engine. The progress made in terms of reliability, power and pollution reduction in the past 20 years has been significant.

Alain isn’t nuts, just misinformed: every improvement to the internal combustion engine has an equal benefit to all members. Electronics, advanced metallurgy and manufacturing, variable displacement engines and induction systems are no strangers to the V8 engine. What was once exclusive to the 1990 Corvette ZR-1 is now available in a 2011 Mustang 5.0, but with even more goodies (variable valve timing) this time ‘round. And many V8s are just as “dirty” as the hi-po V6s in the same market: is the Infiniti G37’s economy and carbon footprint significantly better than a Hyundai Genesis? If you have the green to buy a $40,000 luxury vehicle, the extra nickels and dimes needed to feed a V8 is far from relevant.

Take Volkswagen’s 2-litre, direct injection turbo engine, for instance: it now produces 200 hp, 100 hp per cylinder, while a few years ago we only managed to wring out 50 hp per litre.

Ricer Math: the bullshit notion that horsepower per liter means something, anything in the real world. Chassis weight, area under the torque curve, gearing (double overdrive Corvettes) and even aerodynamics screw up that argument. Let’s overlook the Ricer Math: direct injection doesn’t hate V8 engines. The DI units from Jaguar are kicking butt: the fuel/carbon specs of a 5.0L Jag XF and a 4.2L S-type are disturbingly similar. But the 5.0L has over 80 more ponies underfoot. Add a turbo (or two) to the mix, and you have the stunning performance of BMW’s latest 5 or 7-series. The Laws of Thermodynamics don’t lie, so wait until the M5 gets direct injection and a pair of turbos.

Another telling example is Ford’s EcoBoost family of engines, four-cylinder and V6 mills with direct injection, turbochargers and variable valve timing.

The four bangers have promise, as Hyundai’s latest Sonata proves: the direct injected and turbocharged I-4 could care less about the V8, its enemy are V6s found in everything from a Toyota Camry to a Nissan 370Z. Ford’s EcoBoost V6 requires all-wheel drive: making a Lincoln MKS just as terrible as a Hyundai Genesis V8, per Fueleconomy.gov ratings. And while Ford plans to put an EcoBoost V6 in something without fuel robbing AWD, an Ecoboost F-150 or Mustang is gonna be interesting from a pricing and availability standpoint: with a motor that expensive and complex, don’t hold your breath on it making waves with people who buy trucks and Pony cars for their intended duty. Who wants a $33,000-ish Mustang or $27,000-ish work truck without a V8?

In its 4-cylinder, 2-litre incarnation, the EcoBoost produces 230 hp (115 hp / L) and 240 ft-lb of torque. When you consider that the 4.6-litre V8 engine of a 2000 Mustang generated 260 hp (56.5 hp / L), it’s obvious that things have evolved quite a bit in just 10 years.

Stop the presses! Did Alain compare the Modular two-valve V8 (introduced with the 1991 Lincoln Town Car) to a modern design, using Ricer Math to tell the story? Because over time, the V8 gets better: take the new, 412hp, 5.0 Mustang with a 2-3 MPG improvement over the 2000 model. To quote Ricky Bobby, “Does that blow your mind? That just happened!”

This is a good time to mention that today’s V8s (especially those with direct injection) run with the modern four/six bangers, without the added expense, weight and durability issues of turbochargers and their associated plumbing. Not to mention without the power and economy killing disadvantages of forced induction in summertime heat soak conditions. And without the requisite upkeep (not found in owner’s manuals) that’s reduced a number of turbocharged VW/Audi products to sludged-up carcasses.

And it’s not over, as the next engine revolution will be coming from Italy in the shape of Fiat and its ingenious MultiAir system, which will be featured in the new lineup of Chrysler models. On the 1.4-litre Alfa Romeo MiTo, MultiAir enables a 170-hp output. That’s over 120 hp / L. If we extrapolate these numbers to the new 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, we get a theoretical engine output of 432 hp.

Chrysler’s ability to remain financially solvent aside, new technology is always great…until it’s not. But even if FIAT’s electro-hydraulic variable valve actuation technology works flawlessly for the next 10 years, wouldn’t a Chevy LS3 (@6.2L) make an eye-popping 753hp with such a ludicrous, baseless extrapolation? And who needs a Ferrari Enzo after that?

Will the V8 become obsolete? “Yes,” says Professor Rinaldo Rinolfi, inventor of MultiAir. “No one really needs more than 400 hp in a family car. The V8 is doomed to extinction.”

Looks like Rinaldo sold himself short: your design shall make any V8 far more desirable. Why narrow your appeal by excluding a demographic with insane amounts of disposable income? Buyers of V8 machines aren’t your average Camry/Fiat consumer. Reconsider your stance Professor, thinking of all the royalties you’ll earn on AMG’s stellar V8 portfolio! Because it’s all about the money, honey.

And if I told you that I tried the prototype of a Fiat 500 powered by a 900-cc (0.9-litre), 2-cylinder MultiAir and that it handled like a great 1.6-litre four-banger, would you believe me?

I’m speechless, trying to find the relevance of this (direct) quote in Alain’s argument. But two can play this game: what if I told you I sampled a 2004 Corvette that retails for less than a new Scion tC, has Ferrari-like handling and acceleration, 32 MPG with the air conditioning on @75mph and has 25 cubic feet of cargo in the hatch? The C5 Corvette is a fine alternative to wanna be sports cars for $18,000 or less. You know, for the performance minded individual who wants to spank every challenger they find on the road.

Back to some semblance of reality: the V8′s claim to fame is here to stay, be it in a Mustang 5.0, AMG-something, BMW-whatever, Hyundai Tau-anything or the obligatory Chevy LS-X. And as technologies like direct injection go mainstream, the V8′s dominance in the performance/luxury market will remain. And remain unquestioned. So repeat after me: long live the V8.

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55 Comments on “Between the Lines: Wither The V8?...”


  • avatar
    Signal11

    I’ve always thought butterfly collars were neat, but was born too late to wear shirts with them. Well, except in the ironic hipster sense and most ironic-dressing style hipsters I know are complete douches.

  • avatar
    ott

    Well, I guess Mr. Raymond will think twice about ragging on V8 engines again…

    Truthfully, I think you both have valid points. The V8 engine is not dead, nor will it die anytime soon. It will live on in trucks, sports cars, luxury cars, etc. However, if one were to take an overall neighbourhood snapshot of what’s in the driveways of any given street in the mid-Seventies vs. what you would find in those driveways today, you would probably see a 10-1 reduction in the number of V8-powered vehicles from then compared to now. So while it’s not dead, it’s numbers have certainly decreased dramatically, mostly because most people today just have no use for a V8 beast when a 6 or a 4 will do. Plus, automakers currently aren’t offering affordable family vehicles with V8 power. There’s no need or demand for them for basic transportation for the masses anymore. Advances in automotive engineering have seen to that. But V8 engines will always be around. Enthusiasts would demand it, and the first of the big three to offer their pony car with just a V6 as the top engine choice, no matter the output, loses.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Um, back in the late 80s, Saab was making 100+ hp/l in their 9000 Turbo, so VW doing the same 20-25 years later is hardly news.

    • 0 avatar
      MarcKyle64

      Ford already proved that pony cars with only a V-6 suck. Doesn’t anyone remember the Mustang II Cobra with the V-6?

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      *Everybody* remembers the Mustang “Cobra II”.

      Tho the Ford guys really hate to admit it.

      Given the choice of a completely neutered Mustang II or the line going dead (like the Camaro), it’s really hard to say which is better or worse.

      But gawd, it’s funny to see a Mustang-lover cringe when you mention them…

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Butterfly collars are “out” already? Dang. I’m going back to turtlenecks and a curly perm. Like V-8s, they never go out of style.

  • avatar

    I thought you guys meant a carburetor valve.

  • avatar
    segar925

    With the performance of most 24 valve V-6 engines these days, how many people really need a V-8? I’ll never buy another V-8 powered vehicle, but I’m not a potential buyer for an F350, or a LS430 either. Honestly, if gas prices go north of $4.00 again, the V-6 has one foot in the grave too.

    • 0 avatar

      Pairing a V6 to a mid-fullsize performance car is neither a recipe for awesome performance or awesome fuel consumption.

      Many vehicles that still offer V8s perform much better and use about the same amount of fuel as the powerful V6s. Other than the higher sticker price you might as well have a V8.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    “With a motor that expensive and complex, don’t hold your breath on it making waves with people who buy trucks and Pony cars for their intended duty.”

    Excellent point, backed up by history. In the mid eighties Ford offered the Mustang SVO using a turbocharged 4 with horsepower specifications that compared (on paper) to their V-8.

    In the marketplace, the V-8 powered Mustang dominated the SVO Mustang.

  • avatar
    twotone

    “Take Volkswagen’s 2-litre, direct injection turbo engine, for instance: it now produces 200 hp, 100 hp per cylinder, while a few years ago we only managed to wring out 50 hp per litre.”

    Shouldn’t that be “100 hp per liter”?

    Twotone

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Eh, whatever. Sajeev is correct on all his points. V8s will march on in high performance, luxury, and work applications. Till when? Who knows, but not as quickly as Rinaldo thinks.

  • avatar
    rdeiriar

    Unfortunately, i think yes. The V8 layout is on the way out, at least for volume applications. Just like V12 engines right now, it will live on in low-volume applications. The problem is twofold.

    1. More parts = more friction = less efficiency
    2. The 90 deg. crankshaft layout that makes for a smooth V8 (and for that delicious exhaust note) implies an uneven bank to bank firing sequence, this means an additional 3 to 5% efficiency penalty. Of course, there is the alternative 180 deg. “flat” layout used by Ferrari, that doesn’t have this drawback, but there goes the smoothness.

    Modern V8′s are also too powerful for plain standard cars, the weakest you can buy now gives what?, 300+HP? .Another problem for high volume automakers is the need for a dedicated transfer line to make the 90 deg. blocks, a line that you cannot reuse for a smaller engine unless you are willing to make a compromised V6, i.e. one that needs a balance shaft for smoothness.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      An OHC V-8 is simply two I-4s with a common crank, so you can share parts that way. :D

    • 0 avatar

      rdeiriar: name me one volume application (like a Camry, not a Mustang) that runs a V8. Go back 20 years, if you need. Your conclusion became a reality a long, long time ago.

    • 0 avatar
      rdeiriar

      SVX: Well, in theory yes, a V8 is two I-4 with a common crank. In practice, however, the parts you can recycle are relatively limited:

      -Pistons
      -Conrods & big-end bearings
      -Valves
      -One head (the other one would need to be mirrored)
      -One camshaft/ set of camshafts if DOHC

      This, unless you would want to build a V8 with separate cylinder blocks for each side, with a common crankcase, like this WWI Hispano-Suiza aero engine and use a separate camshaft drive on each side of the block

    • 0 avatar
      rdeiriar

      Sajeev: Of course you are completely right.

    • 0 avatar
      mistrernee

      All V6′s need balance shafts to run smoothly. (edit: I think I might be incorrect on this, 60 degree engines don’t need them though I was sure most of them used them). In fact, the only reason V6′s are bothered with at all is because they are shorter and fit into FWD cars. Take that away and they are complicated and expensive engines requiring multiple balance shafts and can’t get much larger than 3.5 liters without starting to annoy people.

      The increasing power of small 4 cylinder engines means that the days of the V6 are numbered. The V8 will stick around long after the V6 is gone because the V8 engine is a much more flexible layout for larger vehicles.

      The 4 banger will be around as long as their is a gallon of gas somewhere.

      The I6 might come back in a big way once most family cars are using I4′s because what’s the point of building a low volume swiss watch V6 when you can just add two cylinders to the 4 banger?

      Yeah, that last paragraph really wandered into la-la land.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      “name me one volume application (like a Camry, not a Mustang) that runs a V8.”

      What about all the full sized pick ups and SUVs?

    • 0 avatar

      Robert: Raymond’s editoral was only about cars. And unless the F-150 shrinks down to a Ranger size, it will always need a V8. Or some sort of modern (i.e. very expensive) reincarnation of the 300cid I-6.

      Point is, there’s no car that fits this bill. The Chrysler LX cars are a red herring, they sell in WAY higher volumes with V6 motors. Even with fleet sales, they barely measure a blip on the sales radar compared to Camrys, Accords, Fusions, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      @rdeiriar: You missed the cylinder liners, fuel rail, and ICE. ;)

      Also, I’m totally agreed that the V6 is simply a packaging compromise. I wouldn’t buy one if I could avoid it.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    He’s fascinated by meaningless hp/liter measurement, yet makes no mention of the naturally aspirated 120 hp/liter available in an S2000 in the year 2000. Some turbo engines were making even more back then.

    But he misses the important part: whether smaller engines can put out the same power at a lower price, either through better fuel economy or lower initial cost. Only then will the larger, naturally aspirated engine become obsolete.

  • avatar
    stationwagon

    In my opinion what took V8 engines out of mainstream family application was the forward wheel drive and high gas prices. Sure you can shoe-horn a V8 into a FWD engine bay, but torque steer, severe understeer and very front bias weight distribution, will kill most of the V8 fun. I think when SUV’s and trucks were the rage among the conspicuous consumers. a decent number of them were equipped with V8 engines. If gas prices were dirt cheap and more family cars were RWD and with a V8 option, I think most people would buy V8 equipped car. Mosty people don’t care about HP/liter or the inefficiencies or or complexity of an engine, I think this issue is being analyzed from an engineer’s perspective, rather than a consumer’s perspective. My next car would probably be a V8 if gas wasn’t so expensive. Also it usually cost more to insure a V8 car, especially if the owner is young.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    V8 engines have attractive qualities not related to horsepower. The rumble, the smoothness, the under hood appearance. Even if CAFE goes over 40 MPG, nothing prevents the development of small-displacement (2-liter?) fuel-sipping V8s. V8 hasn’t been the volume passenger car configuration for decades now, but it won’t die as long as internal combustion engine is alive.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Efficiency goes down with small bore sizes. A 2-liter V-8 would be a huge disappointment in both power and fuel economy because of the excessive cylinder surface area to volume relationship.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      Why should a 2 liter V8 be any less efficient than a 1 liter inline 4? Even smaller 4 cylinder engines are common, in both cars and motorcycles.

  • avatar
    mcs

    There is one scenario where the V8 would disappear from the performance and luxury markets. If the issues around electrics were to get resolved, it would start to get scarce pretty quickly. Nothing out-v8s a v8 like an electric motor. It’s quiet for the luxury market and loads of torque for performance. I realize we’re not there yet, but it is one scenario where I feel the V8 just wouldn’t survive.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Mmm, low end torque. Waftability is a great trait in luxury V8/V12′s, and electric motors would definitely be a great alternative or even add-on.

    • 0 avatar

      And that’s been pushed by electric car fans for long time, citing Moore’s Law as proof. Unfortunately, the V8 (especially the 1949 Kettering OHV V8 and it’s LS-X future) is a far better example of continuous improvement, a far better keeper of the Moore’s Law flame.

      Not that it can’t happen, but internal combustion innovations keep pace with the electric motor stuff.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I’d hate to see the V8 gone, but it is going to have fewer applications in the future. But who really knows? If gas becomes cheap again, the number of applications will increase. A basic V8 is inexpensive to build and reliable; compare to an Ecoboost for example. While I really don’t see any reason why the Ecoboost can’t be reliable, it certainly can’t compete on cost of manufacture. And why must it saddled with the unnecessary burden of AWD? Perhaps when I retire to “snow” country I will want such an option, but not now.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I have an idea that most people are happy with a car that has something in the neighborhood of 16 pounds per horsepower. Pretty much every V8 made today is waaaay outside of that envelope, except in 3-ton trucks and SUVs. V6s are falling out of that envelope as well, and will be all but gone from mainstream cars by the end of the decade.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The V-8 is already gone as the dominant power source for mainstream personal vehicles. For the moment, it lives on primarily in full sized trucks and specialty vehicles. But, the market share of V-8s today is already but a fraction of what it was in the 1950s and 1960s and said share will continue to diminish. Yes, V-8 engines will be made a sold for long to come, but then so will silver based photographic film.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I will admit that I’m intrigued by the idea of an Ecoboost V6 Mustang.

    A stock 350hp Mustang with a factory-installed forced induction system would have sky-high potential considering the amount of aftermarket and OEM support the nameplate enjoys.

    • 0 avatar

      We already have the Shelby Mustang for those forced induction fantasies. And while I wouldn’t bet on it, I’m expecting an EcoBoost V6 Mustang SVO to be priced somewhere in between the 5.0 GT and the Shelby. There’s just no way to make it affordable and relevant. Hell, who needs EcoBoost when the N/A base V6 does so darn well in economy/performance/value?

      And 5.0 twin screw blower kits are just around the corner. You can almost smell them in R&D labs like the one in Edelbrock’s facility.

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Sajeev,

      Kenne Bell already has one for the GT500 5.4L.

      Though I didn’t spend any time checking at PRI, I’d bet rather good money that everybody has their kit about done by now for the upcoming 5.0.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      We already have the Shelby Mustang for those forced induction fantasies.

      Well, the Gt500 is a bit out of my price range.
      ——
      I’m expecting an EcoBoost V6 Mustang SVO to be priced somewhere in between the 5.0 GT and the Shelby.

      I was thinking an Ecoboost V6 Mustang could start around $27K. If they can’t make it cost less than the GT then they shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.
      ——-
      Hell, who needs EcoBoost when the N/A base V6 does so darn well in economy/performance/value?

      Well, the 3.7L doesn’t have the modification ease or potential of the Ecoboost, nor does it have the same power delivery.

      ____

      Maybe I’ll just wait for Hyundai to make a better turbo version of the Genesis Coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      If the blog rumors are true (and it makes sense) a 5.0L Tau-V8 is the future for a hi-po Genesis Coupe. And if it’s direct injected, the American Pony Cars are screwed.

  • avatar
    itsgotvtakyo

    Honda has been building 100hp/l engines for more than two decades, I don’t see what Mr. Raymond’s infatuation with that stat is all about. Impressive, yes. New, no.

  • avatar

    Nobody needs it, but I hope it doesn’t go away.

    Even if you’re not using the wallpaper-shredding flat-plane-crank of a Ferrari, the cross-plane sound of most American V8s is really something to behold.
    It sounds like motherfudging Victory.

    That being said, nobody really needs a car with a p/w ratio of greater than 0.05.
    -So your ~170-ish HP in a 3400lb car is just fine for the average person.
    Especially if you use engine materials of at least a ~similar metallurgy/lightness to the LS9 or better.

    And as efficiency, power and mileage reqs go up, perhaps even 6s will seem unnecessary.

    .
    But thank GOD there are a few Mustangs around to drown out the freaking ARMY of G35 Coupes over here. :<
    !-That freaking exhaust note sounds like a cheezed-off walrus poweryodeling 'We Are The Champions' through an aluminum Vuvuzela.
    -blergggh!

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    The new Bentley Mulsanne has a V8 – with de-activation of 4 cylinders under light load. So, the Bentley basically has a four cylinder engine, and no one seems to be complaining.

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      These 4-6-8 firing configurations never seem to have hit big time, back in the 80s there were a bunch of Caddys but failed miserably, Merc seem to sell a unch in EU during recent times but never see any in this side of the Colonial market.

  • avatar

    I never thought I’d see the term “ricer math” used on TTAC.

    While right, in this case, I’d say that the fact that small four-banger turbos can provide over 100 hp per liter overshadows the fact that they produce the same amount of torque as an engine 1.5 times the size over a wider spread.

    And V6s? Not smooth? there’s a reason Japanese manufacturers were obsessed with small sixes (1.8 – 2.5 liters) for a while back in the 90′s. They’re creamy-smooth compared to your regular four-banger. When they started figuring out how to make big, long-stroke fours idle smoothly, and when they figured the extra complication wasn’t worth the cost, they dropped them.

    The proliferation of turbo fours may put paid many sixes. While the actual, real-world economy benefits may not pan out, the promise of economy benefits and “green marketing” may soon push other manufacturers to mimic Hyundai’s use of a turbo-four as the “halo model” for a particular model line. (Though Subaru and Mazda have long been doing this with the Forester/Legacy and the Mazda6/CX7).

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    I once read that BMW calculated the optimal displacement per cylinder to be 500cc. More than that apparently adds to NVH as the revs rise, which is why we’ve got a lot of 3L six-cylinders, 4L V8s, and 6L V12s. Given this limitation, and the fact that more cylinders are inherently smoother, I don’t see any reason to expect the disappearance of the V8, or the V12 for that matter.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Of course, an optimum means there’s room to the small side. The V8 has such a visceral appeal in American cars that I’m sure that sub-4 liter territory will be exploited.

  • avatar

    As one poster said above, V6s might be on the way out, too. V6s and I6s enjoy here in Brazil a very healthy, sporting image. And nobody really buys them. German ubber-mobiles are available, but have very low volumes. Here the market is 50% for 1.0L I4s, 45% for engines between 1.1L and 1.9L (in reality there are on offer 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 1.9 I4s)and 5% for engines over 2.0L (and a vast majority of these will be I4s, too).

    So what do you do without v6s and for that matter v8s? Well, you simply drive and enjoy what you have. Its cultural, too. When the 1st 1.0s came out (starting mid 90s), lots of people (including me) rejected me. But lots of people bought them (including me) because it was the cheapest alternative. And over the last 15 years, due to competition output has improved from an average of 40hp to around 75hp today. And that’s without direct injection, variable valve timing , MultiAir technology and what not. But, with roads ever more congested, freaking speed cameras everywhere, and loads of slow moving (as discussed in another post by drivers who can’t drive), you just sort of adapt.

    This country is getting richer. The car market is at record heights. People who’d never had a car in their families are buiyng cars (another problem, 1st generation drivers). So if this keeps up, in 10 years I’d think the 1.0 market will shrink, but it won’t shrivel. The benefits of a small package, easy engine to maintain and fuel economy are not lost on all people. For better or worse, the 1.0 has established itself in this continental country (and though cities are crowded, there is loads of space in the country and an American-style suburbia is developing just now and thus American-style driving patterns and space can be found).

    No, I’m not a V8 hater. Nothing (maybe just a screeching Ferrari) beats the rumble of an American muscle/land yacht. I love ‘em and get ‘em. But I can read the writing on the wall and perhaps, except in sports cars, there’s no future for this engine. Even trucks will use diesel more and more. People will get all the power they need from their I4s and heavy-tech V6s.

    So grab them while you can. And rejoice in the fact that in America it’s so common place. The rest of the world gets by. So will future Americans (and I’m not saying the world is right and America wrong, no I tend to think America is right). But with our current crop of politicians and academic thinking, the V8 will be squeezed out. And I’ll be sorry to see it go.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I’m holding out for a radial engine

  • avatar
    SVT48

    There’s a lot of upheaval in the auto industry now so anything’s possible. Remember that the reason we have the current Chrysler “Hemi” is because the last time the government got involved in the auto business they mandated that Chrysler dump all the tooling for any large V8s (I think larger than 340ci) so they had to start from scratch when market forces required the V8 option for trucks and large cars. Don’t put it past them to do something similar with GM. However, what are the chances of Australia being the keepers of the V8 flame? Don’t they still build front engine/rear drive V8 cars for mainstream consumption? Like their Ford Falcon and various Holden things that came to the US as Pontiac G8s and GTOs and others I’m not aware of.

  • avatar
    PeregrineFalcon

    I love the frequent use of the phrase “Ricer Math” in this article.

    Well-written rebuttal. It may become a bit of a halo engine eventually, but the big V8 isn’t going anywhere any time soon – unless you count “forward, at increasingly ridiculous speeds.”

  • avatar
    Power6

    Good article, all great points Sajeev. I think the V8 could be deemed “uneccessary” perhaps, but as you point out in comments that has pretty much happened already.

    I am curious though, if the V8 isn’t dead…then why moves such as Audi going to supercharged V6 in the S4? That V8 had the best sounding exhaust note going IMO, and I figure a car like that sells as much on emotion as performance. Whatever the economy/emissions requirements, I have to wonder why they couldn’t get it done with a V8?

    Not sure I agree with the turbo=unreliable stance, especially singling out the 1.8T since its problems go beyond being turbocharged, but that has been raging on for years as many have been driving their turbocharged cars for hundreds of thousands of miles during that time.

    • 0 avatar

      Audi’s product strategy does have me baffled too, but I suspect leaving a V8 in the RS4 makes it more desirable and profitable.

      Turbo’s aren’t unreliable, it’s just one more component to buy, maintain and ultimately fail. Same reason a large chunk of turbo diesel pickup owners are better off saving the $7000 upgrade and applying it to the extra gas they’ll burn in a normal truck.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “The V8 is doomed to extinction.”

    If you look at the birth rates, technically, so are Italians!

    As the grandson of two Italian immigrants on my mom’s side, that makes me sad…

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    The amazing thing about the take rate on the LX v6′s is that they offer the EXACT same epa rating as the Hemi V8: 16/25. Whats the point in not getting the bigger engine? To save a thousand bucks on a 30 grand car? Yes Chrysler’s sixes are ancient and the hemi benefits from mds, but even compared to a modern v6 there just isn’t much difference. Take Ford’s 3.5DI, in the Edge (weighs about the same as an LX car) it makes 265hp and gets 17/24, still no advantage over a push-rod V8 that makes almost a hundred ponies more. If anything the V6 is the engine that should go. I might buy another V8 car or truck, more likely the car will be a 4cyl, but I just don’t see the point of a V6 anymore.

  • avatar
    flameded

    I don’t have time to read the whole article right now (I’m about to leave work for the day ;) )

    All I can say is Noooooooooooooooooooooo!

    (we all know its coming)

    But I will never admit it.I grew up loving the sound of a v8 (who doesnt?)

    Nothing compares to that sound…not these silly 6 cylinders that sound like a diesel truck goin through the gears.sheesh.

    I love v8s.(especially Chevy, but at this stage, I’m not picky) and yes , it is for the sound. you can get better economy, HP,torque with other engines….

    Ahhh…but the sound.

    Please don’t go V8, PLEASE dont go.

    sorry for the grammar/typos/slang/whatever


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