Engines are really complicated systems, but the base function they perform is providing somewhere for gasoline to explode in. This force is harnessed, camshafts are turned, and the rest is history. The bigger the explosion, the more power. But you need space for all that fuel.
A V8 engine is a motor comprised of two banks of four inline cylinders. When looked at from the front, the motor looks like a “v,” each bank of cylinders making up an arm of the letter. Usually, the cylinder banks are placed perpendicular to each other, but other angles of orientation are used for various reasons of performance and fitment.
In a V8, there are eight cylinders to blow up gasoline in—simple as that. Because of that, it makes a lot of power. Eight cylinders are pretty much the maximum you can have in an engine before it gets impractical. While V10s, V12s, and V16s have all existed and worked, they’re fickle and gigantic.
With the V8 representing an ideal blend of cylinders and displacement, automakers from around the world have made it their mule of choice for generating insane amounts of horsepower. Entire race series are dedicated to cars with V8s, and even non-gearheads understand that a V8 entails performance. Put simply, V8s rock. Naturally rumbling aspirated big-block American V8s are pitted up against shrieking low-displacement Euro twin-turbo creations. And some V8s are simply two engines welded together. Scroll down to see 20 of the most powerful V8 engines ever built.
20. FERRARI 488 GTB (661HP)
Ferraris go fast—we all know that. But the 488 GTB is the Italian stable’s take on the high horsepower V8 Supercar. Like any good supercar, the motor is behind the driver, meaning the weight of the V8 is nicely centered in the car. The GTB gets the 488 numeration from the eight 488cc cylinders that comprise the monstrous twin-turbo Ferrari F154CB.
At 3.9L, this motor is no bathtub, but the Italians have talked this thing into revving up to 8,000 RPM.
This means the 488 GTB is a personal best for Ferrari in two regards; it has the highest power and torque output per liter of any Ferrari ever made. Records like this mean this is certainly one of the most powerful V8s of all time.
19. MASERATI QUATTROPORTE GTS (479HP)
Not all powerful V8s are wrapped up in sporty packages. Some of them come delivered in hefty pickup trucks, and others are strapped to the front end of giant American muscle cars. Maserati has chosen to put theirs in a luxury sedan. This car is meant to compete with Audis and stately Beemers, but what sets the GTS apart is that it has the same motor as the Ferrari 488 GTB. That’s right—this understated four-door is powered by Ferrari internals. Any sedan with twin turbos is super sick, and when it’s a Ferrari V8 getting the extra air, it’s even sexier. Fast cars are fun, and four-doors are smart, so why not just smash them all together and make a GTS? Thanks, Maserati.