Ranking the most powerful V8-powered cars ever sold to the public

The V8 engine has been around since Léon Levavasseur built the Antoinette in 1904. Many automakers toyed with the engine configuration, but ultimately the 1910 De Dion-Bouton was the first V8-powered car to be built in mass production.

Cadillac was the first to properly mass-produce the V8 engine with the Type 51 L-Head. The V8 engine has been used in a number of vehicles since then, but didn’t really become popular until the late 1950s. By the 1960s, the muscle car wars had begun and American manufacturers were vying for surpass. Europe joined the party in the late 1960s with British, German and Italian automakers building their own engines in different ways. The V8’s popularity dipped a bit in the late 1970s due to the American oil crisis, but quickly picked up steam in the 1990s and became increasingly powerful and adaptable. At one time, a V8 engine could be found in family cars such as the Mercedes-Benz R-Class – and that of sensible Germans.

Today, thanks to the war on climate change, the V8 is on the verge of extinction, with many automakers having already phased out their engines, in favor of small-engine hybrids or electric motors. In the meantime, many automakers decided to give the V8 a head start by building the best ever. Here are 10 of the most powerful V8-powered cars ever sold to the public.

ten Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing (668 HP)

The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is currently one of the most powerful sports sedans on the market, producing 668 hp from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The great thing about the CT5-V Blackwing is that the car is rear-wheel-drive only and comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The CT5-V Blackwing is the last of the American V8 sports sedans, since the next models will be either hybrid or all-electric. The Blackwing is also the first Cadillac to be offered with carbon-ceramic brakes, which weigh 64 pounds less than the standard set. The CT5-V Blackwing has a 0-60mph time of just 3.4 seconds, hitting over 205mph.

Related: It’s Showtime: A C8 Corvette vs. a Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

9 Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06 (670 HP)

The Chevrolet Corvette C8 Z06 is the next higher performance model before the arrival of the ZR1. The Z06s LT6 5.5 liters took the crown from the Mercedes-AMG M159 6.2 liters as the most powerful naturally aspirated V8 ever produced. the LT6 produces 670 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.

The C8 Z06 promises to be one of the most race-focused Corvette Z06s ever made, with bigger wheels and tires, better brakes, and all Z06 models come standard with adaptive suspension and of a differential lock. The Corvette C8 Z06 uses the same 8-speed automatic, but with a shorter final drive ratio, which results in better acceleration – 0-60mph in a claimed 2.6 seconds.

8 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series (720 hp)

The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is the most hardcore AMG GT model ever created. It’s also the most powerful GT model, producing a whopping 720bhp – 10bhp more than the McLaren 720S! The car uses the same M178 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as in the AMG GT S and AMG GT R, but with substantial improvements.

The Black Series has several exterior upgrades, including a wider body, more canards and a huge rear wing. Most body panels are also replaced with their carbon fiber counterparts, reducing overall weight. The AMG GT Black Series is truly one of the finest AMG models produced, completing the Nürburgring in just 6:43:61, making it the fastest production car around the ‘Ring at the time.

Related: How The Mercedes-AMG Track Series Compares To The Black Series

7 Chevrolet C7 Corvette ZR1 (755 HP)

The previous generation Corvette C7 ZR1 was one of the most powerful production cars at the time. The C7 was much improved over the C6 generation, especially in terms of driving performance. The C7 ZR1 was fitted with a LT5 6.2-liter supercharged V8, which produced 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque – all going to the rear wheels only via a 7-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission.

The ZR1 was available with a full aero package, which produced 950 lbs of downforce. The ZR1s without the aero package were capable of a top speed of 214 mph. Despite the extensive use of carbon fiber throughout the car, the ZR1 is actually heavier than the Z06, thanks to more efficient cooling systems.

6 Ferrari SF90 Stradale (769 HP)

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale is the most powerful road car the Italian marque has ever created, producing a whopping 1000bhp. That being said, the whole figure is produced when a V8 is combined with a few electric motors. Still, the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 produces 769 hp on its own, making it Ferrari’s most powerful V8 to date.

The SF90 is a beast of a car, with sleek styling and sophisticated technologies to accelerate this car from 0-60mph in just 2.5 seconds, 0-124mph in just 6.7 seconds and top out at 211mph . This makes the SF90 Stradale the fastest and most powerful road car ever produced by Ferrari. It is also the fastest road car on Ferrari’s Fiorano circuit.

Related: Here’s what we love about the 2020 Ferrari SF90 Stradale

5 McLaren Senna (789 HP)

The McLaren Senna is an interestingly styled car that has won over many enthusiasts. It was built to be brilliant around a track, with a massive rear wing that can adjust to provide optimal downforce. The Senna’s name is a tribute to legendary Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna, who won three Drivers’ Championship titles and 35 F1 victories for McLaren.

The McLaren Senna is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, producing 789 hp and 590 lb-ft. The engine sends all the power to the rear wheel only through a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Senna weighs just 2,600 pounds, giving a power-to-weight ratio of 658 hp per ton, about 150 hp per ton more than a Bugatti Veyron 16.4.

4 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon (840 HP)

The Dodge Challenger Hellcat is one of the coolest muscle cars on sale, with a whopping 707 hp coming from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Dodge went a step further and created a drug-specific version called the Challenger SRT Demon, which had 840 hp when properly tuned. The Demon could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 9.65 seconds with a trap speed of 140 mph.

Due to the speed at which the vehicle accelerated, the SRT Demon was banned from official drag racing by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) as it lacked a roll cage. As of March 2022, this ban has been lifted thanks to new rules implemented by the NHRA. The Dodge Demon is an incredibly powerful car that is rarer than many Ferraris.

3 Shelby Mustang GT500KR (900+ HP)

The Shelby Mustang GT500 is the most powerful Mustang ever, producing 760 hp from its supercharged 5.2-liter engine.Predator‘V8. The engine is an evolution of the naturally aspirated 5.2 liter ‘Voodoo‘ V8 used in the Mustang GT350. The main differences are the large bolt-on supercharger and the cross-plane crankshaft return as opposed to the flat-plane one.

To celebrate Shelby American‘s 60th anniversary – which will take place in 2022 – Ford is offering 180 Mustang GT500KR (King of the Road) models. These versions have an upgraded 3.8 liter supercharger and produce over 900 hp when running on 93 octane fuel. The price for all that power? $128,000 – or $55,000 more than a normal GT500. Quite expensive for a pony.

Related: 9 Things We Just Learned About The New Ford Shelby Mustang GT500KR

2 Zenvo TSR-S (1177 HP)

Zenvo Automotive is a small Danish car manufacturer, which produced some crazy cars. Their first car, the ST1, has a double-charged 7.0 liter LS7 V8 that produced 1,089 hp and 1,055 lb-ft of torque. They then created the TS1 GT, a limited-run supercar with a 5.8-liter, twin-supercharged V8 producing 1,104 horsepower and 840 lb-ft of torque.

The company went ahead and created a track-only version of the TS1 GT, called the TSR, which was lighter and had more downforce. Finally, they created a road-legal version of the track car, called the TSR-S, which produced 1,177bhp and had a claimed 0-60mph time of just 2.8 seconds. Despite the aero and the odd moving rear wing, the TSR-S is still capable of hitting 202 mph.

1 Koenigsegg Jesko (1,600 hp)

The most powerful V8 engine ever created comes from Swedish automaker Koenigsegg. The engine is a 5.1-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 1,281 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque when the car is running on regular gasoline. When running on E85 biofuel, engine output jumps to 1,603 hp and 1,106 lb-ft of torque, all housed in the Jesko’s sleek body.

The engine is mated to a Koenigsegg-designed 9-speed, multi-clutch “light-speed transmission” that is capable of shifting between 20 and 30 milliseconds. The Jesko is available in two versions, ‘Attack’ and ‘Absolute’. First up is the standard Jesko, which has a host of aerodynamic parts that produce a combined downforce weight of 3,086 pounds. The latter is the top speed version and reduces downforce to just 331lbs and has a claimed top speed of 300mph, with a theoretical top end of around 330mph. This remains to be confirmed.


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