Question of the Day: Do Muscle Cars Need a V8?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day do muscle cars need a v8

Looks like Farago and I inadvertently kicked open a can of worms yesterday when discussing the new/maybe one day Camaro. Robert maintained that Bob Lutz is an "Idiot" for even suggesting a 4-banger muscle car. For my part I defended Lutz (dirty, i feel so dirty), because I happen to love the engine he's talking about. See, the 2.0-liter turbocharged and intercooled EcoTec I4 puts out a robust 260 horsepower and a rotund 260 lb-ft of torque. And that's currently. Rumor has it that Chevy will be boring the EcoTec out to 2.5-liters, which could easily net the engine 50 more hp, meaning that the base Camaro would have more juice than the 4th gen V8 F-body. Of course, if you need more, get the LS3-powered range topper. Point is, does cylinder count matter? Really?

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4 of 94 comments
  • TriShield TriShield on Jun 06, 2008

    The Grand National is an exception because it was a brand new name with no ghosts from the past to live up to. It didn't take off until the car was tuned to provide the performance to match it's sinister black styling. If was reintroduced today a potent turbocharged V6 would be required as would the color black and sinister styling reminiscent of the original. Grand National fans like me and muscle car nuts would accept no less as a true Grand National. If a car's reputation, image and history is made from V8 power it must always offer V8 power, like the Camaro, Corvette, Challenger and Mustang. There's no getting away from or redefining that, doing so destroys those cars and people won't buy them.

  • Mj0lnir Mj0lnir on Jun 06, 2008

    Does a muscle car "need" a V8? No, and the GNX proved it. That's a different question than whether or not the Camaro base motor should be the turbo 4. The answer to that question is also "no".

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jun 06, 2008

    So the same car with similar performance and a four banger turbo isn't a muscle car like the same car with a V-8 huh? Maybe the four banger ought to come with a better suspension package and the V-8 can come with drum brakes all the way around...

  • SupaMan SupaMan on Jun 06, 2008

    Muscle cars were defined by having big V8s. That being said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with offering the Ecotec turbo 4 in the Camaro. It makes the car lighter and with fuel efficiency being all the (mandatory) craze, it certainly helps GM to reach that 35 mpg CAFE standard. Besides, with the power available from these engines, GM might just supercede the V6 and just offer the turbo four as the base engine. Certainly a nice redefinition of what a muscle car can be. Now if only Chrysler could do the same and offer the turbo 2.4 in the Caliber SRT4 in the Challenger. Now THAT would be a nice thing.