Last Call for Naturally Aspirated V8s

Looking to spec a naturally aspirated V8 with that new performance car? Slim pickings these days. Here are the best naturally aspirated V8s still in production.

The writing is on the wall for lovers of naturally aspirated performance engines, and V8s in particular.

The Germans – BMW M, Mercedes-AMG, Porsche – already closed up shop on the subject, and have turbocharger supplies on auto-delivery.

Even the Italians have gone forced induction with the new Ferrari 488 GTB. (Although to their credit some seriously fantastic naturally aspirated V10s and V12s are still being produced in Maranello and Sant’Agata Bolognese.)

If you want to spec a naturally aspirated V8 with a new performance car, the options are increasingly limited. Here’s a selection of the best naturally aspirated V8 engines still in production.

Chevy Corvette Stingray & Grand Sport

Engine: 6.2 Liter LT1 V8. 460 horsepower, 465 lb.-ft. of torque

Praise was abundant when introduced back in 2014, and enthusiasm for the LT1 V8 in the Corvette really hasn’t waned since then.

The LT1 is massively responsive, free-revving, and perhaps the epitome of “reasonable” power – not too much (looking at you Z06), not too little.

The road course accomplishments of the Grand Sport are proof positive. Around VIR’s lengthy 4.2 mile Grand West Course, the Grand Sport is just 4 seconds behind the Porsche 918 Spyder, a hyper car with nearly double the power. (Both vehicles run Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires.)

Oh, and the LT1 V8 achieves a very respectable 25 mpg highway thanks to cylinder deactivation.

Chevy Camaro SS

Engine: 6.2 Liter LT1 V8. 460 horsepower, 465 lb.-ft. of torque

The Camaro camp opted in to the LT1 as well. And with a base $37,995 MSRP, the SS V8 model is your least expensive pathway to naturally aspirated V8 glory.

Spec the SS with the $7,000 1LE Track Performance Package for massive road course performance well beyond its price point.

Ford Mustang GT350 and GT350R

Engine: 5.2 Liter “Voodoo” V8. 526 horsepower, 429 lb.-ft of torque. Flat-plane crankshaft, 8,250 RPM redline

Ford broke the mold with the Voodoo V8 in the GT350 and GT350R. Arguably the most remarkable of the remaining naturally aspirated V8s, the Voodoo happily spins up to an 8,250 RPM redline, and pulls beautifully, the whole way.

Turbocharged engines, and the forthcoming performance hybrid engines can do a reasonably good job of impersonating the pull and torque of a large displacement V8. But the rewarding, crescendo effect of a naturally aspirated, high-revving V8 won’t be easily replicated.

The Voodoo might be the very last of its kind. Do whatever you need to do to get some seat time. The hype is justified.

Lexus GS F and LC500

Engine: 467 horsepower V8, 391 lb-feet of torque, 7,300-rpm redline

Want a performance sedan or luxury grand tourer with a naturally aspirated V8? Somewhat ironically, Lexus has cornered the market.

The GS F sedan is just about the one remaining throwback to the early days of muscly naturally aspirated V8 performance sedans.

The LC500 fills a naturally aspirated GT niche once occupied by cars like the Aston Martin Vantage and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG.

Few would have picked Lexus to carry on the tradition of naturally aspirated V8s in these automotive categories – but bravo to them.

If life won’t be complete without the experience of a new, naturally aspirated V8 performance car, best get your order in soon.

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