The Five-Oh. The small-block. The HEMI. Whatever your weapon of choice is, our collective fascination for the V8 started a long, long time ago. More specifically, the year was 1902 when Leon Levavasseur patented the gasoline-injected Antoinette V8.
In the automotive world, Rolls-Royce paved the way with the V-8 Legalimit (1905), then Cadillac introduced the first mass-production V8 engine for cars in 1914, the L-Head. Some 13,000 cars equipped with the L-Head V8 were sold in the first year of production, setting the scene for other automakers to adopt V8 engines. And to this day, the unmistakable rumble of eight cylinders heats our blood up to boiling point.
But while the U.S. can quench its thirst for V8s for as little as $28,135 (2017 Ford F-150 XL 4×2 5.0L V8 Regular Cab 6-1/2’ Box), V8s are much more exotic (and expensive) in the Old Continent. The question is, just how cheap can the European gearhead get its V8 fix? And no, I’m not talking about the used car market, but all-new vehicles. Obviously, it’s rather costly to get a V8 on the cheap in Europe.
Before we run down the five cheapest options currently available in the Old Continent, I’m much obliged to highlight that a handful of interesting machines didn’t make the ranking. Those V8-powered vehicles are the 2016 BMW F11 550i Touring (€75,700), Mercedes-AMG C63 (€76,297), Audi S6 (€76,750), Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray (€79,500), and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (from €85,000).
On that note, let’s get cracking with the cheapest V8 cars in Europe:
2017 Ford Mustang GT Fastback (from €43,000)
Half a decade after the original was introduced in the U.S., the most iconic pony car of them set foot on European soil through official channels. Internally referred to as the S550, the sixth generation of the Mustang has something previous models didn’t. I’m not referring to the flat-plane crankshaft V8 of the Shelby GT350, which isn’t on sale in Europe, but something simpler than that.
Independent rear suspension is what’s what. I know, I know that the 1999 to 2004 SVT Cobra featured this setup, but keep in mind that all other SN-95 Mustang came with a solid rear axle. Now, though, all Mustangs benefit from the comfort and aplomb of an integral-link setup with aluminum rear knuckles.
Something else worth noting about the European-spec Ford Mustang is that the 5.0-liter V8 doesn’t churn out the same output as the U.S.-spec model. At 421 PS or 415 hp, the European Ford Mustang GT is 20 PS (20 hp) down on its American sibling. It gets worse for RHD cars like the UK-spec Mustang GT, which make do with 416 PS (410 hp) and 530 Nm (391 lb-ft) of twist.
2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS (from €45,900)
Even though Chevrolet buggered off out of Europe, leaving Opel and Vauxhall to do the talking, the brand is still present in the Old Continent with the Camaro and the Corvette. Priced higher than the Ford Mustang GT, the Chevrolet Camaro SS also differs from its American counterpart as far as the output is concerned.
With 453 PS (447 hp) and 617 Nm (455 lb-ft) of torque available from 4,600 rpm, the 6.2-liter LT1 V8 is 8 PS (8 hp) down on the U.S.-spec model. When compared to the Mustang, the Camaro isn’t available in right-hand drive form, which is a bit of a mess if you drive on the wrong side of the road. Jokes aside, performance favors the Camaro SS, more so when mated to the 8-speed auto.
Left to its own devices, the GM Hydra-Matic 8L90 transmission (€2,000 add-on) can go through the gears from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds. The V8-powered Mustang, on the other hand, needs four-tenths of a second more to hit that speed. For the Chevrolet Camaro’s Magnetic Ride Control and the rowdy dual-mode exhaust system, don’t forget to add €2,000 to the price.
2017 Infiniti QX70S Premium 5.0 (from €70,100)
The only crossover to make the list is the Infiniti QX70 in S Premium 5.0 guise, a mid-sized brawler animated by Nissan VK series V8. The 5.0-liter unit comes with goodies such as VVEL valve timing, CVTCS continuously variable valve timing, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, though, this means of motivation doesn’t come cheap. Compared to the entry-level variant (as in the QX70 GT 3.0d), this bad boy here and its naturally aspirated V8 is €17,150 more costly.
For all intents and purposes, the QX70 is based on the second-generation FX, which made its debut in 2008. That makes it eight years old, which is a big no-no considering how the competition evolves in this timespan. Another thing that should be said about the QX70 is that depreciation is mind-blowingly terrible.
To its defense, the Infiniti QX70 comes laden with standard features. The top-of-the-range Q70S Premium 5.0, for example, boasts 21-inch alloy wheels, an HDD-based navigation system with 30 GB of available storage, plus a Bose Premium audio system with 11 speakers. Be that as it may, would you care to guess how much fuel does this 2,195-kilogram (6,426 lbs) behemoth drink in the city as per the NEDC procedures? 19.2 l/100 km (12.25 mpg), thank you!
2017 Mercedes-Benz E500 Coupe C207 (from €71,697)
The second-oldest car to make the list is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe. If you look closely, you’ll notice that this fellow here looks like the old E-Class, the W212. What’s more, the C207 E-Class Coupe shares its bones and wheelbase with the W204 C-Class, also known as the old C-Class. What a mix-up, isn’t it?
Everybody knows that Mercedes-Benz works in mysterious ways, but anyway, don’t forget that this two-door luxobarge has a V8 under its hood. It’s the 4.7-liter M278 unit, which produces 408 PS (402 hp) and 600 Nm (443 lb-ft) from 1,600 to 4,750 rpm, and hauls the car to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds.
Back then, the engine in the facelifted C207 E500 Coupe held the title of “the most economical model in the V8 segment.” Beyond the slightly pointless accolade, another differentiator between the E500 Coupe and lesser models is the braking system: four-piston floating calipers instead of single-piston units.
2017 Lexus RC F (from €74,900)
Some call it aesthetically challenged, others believe that the current Lexus design language is something to behold. I’m somewhere in-between those opinions, but one thing is certain about the RC F: it looks as if a fancy alien designed it. Hence, it attracts the attention of other drivers and passersby.
Compared to the generic looks of the BMW M4, the Lexus RC F certainly stands out from the crowd. If it does so in a good or a bad way, you decide. If it’s rawness you’re after, then look no further than the RC F’s 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8. The quad-cam V8 is the only atmospheric unit in the go-faster compact executive segment, albeit it’s not the loudest, nor the most powerful.
But even if it’s a more uncompromising recipe than the IS F was a few years ago, the RC F doesn’t handle as incisive as the M4 and C63 do. Beyond that clicheic remark, I don’t believe that the RC F wants to prove anything against the German competition. Thinking outside the box, it’s best to view the RC F as a capable grand tourer, not a full-blown performance coupe.