Transverse-mounted, front-engine layouts are popular with small to mid-size cars. Most engines mounted transversely have either four, five or six cylinders, but as these eight cars prove, it is possible to shoehorn a V8 in sideways between the front wheels, however mad that might seem…
With a body styled and built by Pininfarina, the Allante was Cadillac’s first attempt at creating a rival to the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. Yet, despite the long bonnet and GT-esque styling, the Allante featured a transverse, front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. Powered by a series of V8 engines paired up to four-speed automatic gearboxes, the Allante was nothing if not the quirkiest vehicle in its class.
Volvo XC90 V8
It might be a school-run staple, but the first-generation Volvo XC90 could be had with a 4.4-litre, Yamaha-designed V8. This wonderful engine, codenamed B8444S, was also available in the second-generation Volvo S80. In both cases, the engine was mounted transversely, feeding around 300bhp to all four wheels.
A twin-turbocharged, longitudinally-mounted version of the B84444S was used in the Noble M600 supercar, producing a lairy 650bhp.
Ford Taurus SHO (third generation)
When it comes to the Ford Taurus SHO, the third-generation model is often considered to be the ugliest and least popular. But it came with a rather special transverse-mounted 3.4-litre V8 engine with heads made by Yamaha and a block from Cosworth. The double overhead cam eight-banger produced over 250bhp, had a 7000rpm redline, and was only available with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Buick LaCrosse Super
Sharing its platform and drivetrain with the Chevrolet Impala SS and the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP, the Buick LaCrosse Super is the textbook definition of a sleeper. The reason? It has a transverse-mounted, 5.3-litre LS4 V8 providing over 305bhp to the front wheels exclusively. Although it looks like something a senior citizen might drive, this beefed-up Buick will go from 0-60mph in under six seconds.
Lancia Thema 8.32
A little over a week ago, we told you that Rowan Atkinson’s ‘Lancia Ferrari’ was set to cross the auction block. Lancia has always had a flair for the bizarre, and the Thema 8.32 is one of its quirkiest efforts. ‘8.32’ refers to the eight cylinders and 32 valves on the 2.9-litre, transverse-mounted Ferrari engine wedged under the bonnet. Considering that the Thema was derived from the Saab 9000, we can’t help but wonder what kind of beautifully eccentric individual thought this was a good idea. Especially considering 8.32 ended up being barely faster than the considerably cheaper and less complicated Thema Turbo…
Did you know that Mitsubishi made a V8 engine? The 8A80 was a 4.5-litre V8 engine that was used in the Mitsubishi Proudia (and its limousine variant, the Dignity). The transverse-mounted 8A80 produced 280bhp, and is extremely rare today. Of the 1227 Proudias produced between 1999 and 2001, only a fraction of them were V8-powered.
Lincoln Continental (ninth generation)
The ninth-generation Lincoln Continental was definitely one of the strangest luxury cars of the 1990s. It was powered by the same 4.6-litre DOHC V8 engine that was used in the Ford Mustang GT, but shared much of its chassis with the front-wheel-drive Ford Taurus. As a result, the V8 was mounted transversely and de-tuned to avoid overwhelming the front end.
The first-generation Aurora was probably the most modern-looking Oldsmobile ever made, and it had the powertrain to match. The front wheels were powered by a transverse-mounted, 4.0-litre version of Cadillac’s Northstar V8. Although the swoopy Oldsmobile wasn’t exactly a race car, every car that won the Indianapolis 500 from 1997 to 2001 was powered by a heavily modified Aurora V8.