Given the lukewarm reception of the current M3’s turbocharged straight-six engine, the last N/A M3 lump will always be remembered fondly. And it deserves to be: this 90-degree, 4.0-litre unit belts out 414bhp at a glorious 8300rpm. With such a revvy eight-pot under the bonnet, you won’t mind the rather frequent fuel stops…
Unlike the S65’s successor, the replacement for the M156 - the 4.0-litre twin-turbo M178 - seems to be winning over plenty of petrolheads (myself included), but I’ve no doubt that the old M156 will go down in motoring history as one of the greats. It was the first AMG unit to be built from scratch as opposed to being based on an existing Mercedes engine, and it powered everything from the C63 right up to the SLS AMG - albeit in the form of the slightly different, dry-sumped M159.
As it’s such a stonking engine, we’ll forgive Merc’s marketing bods for constantly calling it a 6.3 in reference to the legendary old M100, even though it actually displaces 6.2 litres.
It’s only natural that an LS V8 would end up in this list, and the one you guys mentioned most was the LS3. The most recent version of this 6.2-litre V8 saw service in ‘Murican modern classics like the C6 Chevrolet Corvette and the fifth-gen Chevrolet Camaro, but it’s also enjoyed frequent use in Australia, powering the lairy products of Holden Special Vehicles.
As you probably gathered from the inclusion of the S65, we love a high-revving V8, and revvy V8s don’t get much better than Audi’s ‘SSP377’. 4.2 litres, 32-valves, peak power at 7600rpm and an 8250rpm red-line. Lovely. Unfortunately, the 423bhp offered up by the version in the facelifted first-gen R8 seemed a little limp towards the end of its life, so it’s no surprise that while its V10 big brother lived on, the V8 R8 is no more. The engine is still available in the RS4 and RS5, but not for much longer.
While most other manufacturers seem to be going down the turbocharged route of forced induction these days, Jaguar has stuck rigidly to superchargers for its petrol engines. And that means lots of power, and lots of noise, particularly with the pokiest versions of the AJ-V8.
First arriving in 1996 while Jaguar was still under the ownership of Ford, the AJ-V8 is now a very different beast to its 4.0-litre ancestors. The third-generation, 5.0-litre version appeared in 2009, with a twin-vortex supercharger and up to 542bhp in cars like the F-Type R, XF-RS and XJR.
After the LS3, the meaty LS7 was the next most-mentioned LS V8 by you. Displacing 7.0 litres, the LS7 is good for 498bhp, and can be found under the bonnet of the C6 Chevrolet Corvette and the outgoing Camaro Z/28. It features dry sump lubrication, titanium con rods, and is built by hand. Oh, and if you have a spare $16,503 floating around, you can buy one as a crate motor.
What makes McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 interesting - other than the fact it powers the company’s entire line-up - is its origins. It can be traced back to Nissan’s VRH racing engine, a lump used in both GT championships and IndyCar. McLaren bought the rights to the design and it eventually became the M838T, although it now shares almost nothing in common with its predecessor.
It’s built by Ricardo plc - the same people responsible for the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox in the Bugatti Veyron. In the P1, this flat-plane crank engine (cross-plane is the norm for V8s, see the video below to find out how they differ) produces 727bhp, backed up by an electric motor to bring the total output to 903bhp.
Another N/A V8 being replaced with a turbo engine is the F136 F. Jointly developed with Maserati, the F136 has been around since 2002, making its Ferrari debut in the F430. The most powerful version of the 4.5-litre ‘F’ variant can be found in the 596bhp 458 Speciale.
The performance credentials of the F136 series can’t be doubted, but it’s worth noting that all the Ferrari versions feature flat-plane crankshafts, whereas Maserati’s are given a more off-beat - and arguably more pleasant - sound thanks to a cross-plane crank.
The last entry on this list is also the most recent. Developed from the Mustang’s ‘Coyote’ eight-pot, the ‘Voodoo’ features a flat-plane crankshaft, displaces 5.2 litres, and kicks out 519bhp in the Mustang GT350 and GT350R. Oh, and in the R, it sounds positively evil, as you’ll now experience:
Click here to check out the original community post, and let us know in the comments if you think we’ve missed any!