9 Iconic Small Cars With V8 Engines (Big Engine Choice)

Small Cars With V8 Engines

When you think of V8 engines, typically sports cars, muscle cars, and powerful SUVs come to mind. But what would you say if I told you that there are small cars with v8 engines?

Surprised? Yes, you should be. After learning that there are car models in the global automotive industry that combine the force of V8 engines with the efficiency and nimbleness of small cars, I was totally amazed. The compact cars packing giant V8 engines offer a unique blend of power, performance, and agility, making them a favorite among car fanatics.

If you crave speed but do not wish to sacrifice the convenience of a compact vehicle like what you get in rides like the Nissan Versa and Toyota Camry, then small cars with big engines are for you. Strict emissions regulations are reducing the use of V8 engines in modern cars, but the idea of such large engines in small vehicles is still thrilling.

Thus, today I bring you this guide in which we will explore some iconic small cars with relatively big engines, their appeal, and more.

The Allure of V8 Engines

V8 engines are well known for their splendid balance of power and smooth performance. They comprise eight cylinders, arranged in a V configuration, providing a potent mixture of horsepower and torque.

V8 engines never fail to give their drivers an exhilarating driving experience. The loud growl or roar of a V8 motor is music to the ears of many fanatics.

9 Iconic Small Cars With Relatively Big Engines

The V8 engines are iconic. They were highly preferred by the automakers as they offered raw power and performance to their drivers. If you take a look from the 1960s to the early 2000s, large engine cars were everywhere. You could find v8 in a small car as well as in big cars.

However, with people becoming more responsible toward the environment and countries around the world implementing strict regulations related to vehicle emissions, the usage of large engines like V8s, especially in everyday rides, is becoming less and less common.

Although V8 cars are no longer in production, there are still some iconic cars from the past that you may find interesting. And if you wish to own one, you can find them in the used car market.

Below I have top nine iconic compact cars with V8 engines that every automobile aficionado should know about.

1. Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

Ford Mustang Shelby GT350

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 is an iconic ride in the history of the American automotive industry. This sports car is known for its aggressive styling and powerful performance. The Mustang is labeled as one of the best American muscle cars. However, the Shelby GT350 brings a compact twist to the classic lineup.

This ride comes with a 5.2-liter V8 engine under the hood, producing over 500 horsepower and offering immense power through its relatively small and agile package. The lightweight design and precision handling play a major role in enhancing the GT350’s performance, making it an intimidating force on both the track and the street.

If you are interested in buying the used Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 from the popular car brand that starts with F, according to trusted sources like KBB, the price currently ranges from $39,999 to $79,888.

2. Chevrolet Camaro Z/28

Chevrolet Camaro Z_28

Another American icon that has packed a large V8 engine gracefully into its petite body is the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28. This sports car features a 7.0-liter LS7 V8 engine channeling 505 hp and 481 lb-ft of torque. This vehicle combines a high-revving V8 engine with a stripped-down interior to reduce weight and improve handling, resulting in a ride that is as fast around corners as it is in a straight line.

The Chevy Z/28 is designed to excel on the track, making it a top choice among driving enthusiasts. You can buy its used variants, ranging from $54,000 to $106,000.

3. BMW M3 (E92)

BMW M3 (E92)

The BMW M3 stands out on this list of compact V8-powered cars. It comes with a 414 horsepower 4.0-liter V8 engine paired with the renowned precision of BMW’s engineering, balanced chassis, and responsive handling, making it a fantastic choice for everyday driving, mountain road exploration, and a racetrack.

This luxury car offers a perfect balance of performance and luxury, setting it apart from the competition. The prices for a used BMW M3 (E92) currently range from $10,988 to $152,888.

4. Audi RS4 (B7)

Audi RS4 (B7)

The Audi RS4 is a compact sports sedan that perfectly combines the practicality of a daily commute with the high performance of racetracks. It offers impressive acceleration and speed, all thanks to its 4.2-liter V8 engine. Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system ensures excellent traction and handling for this sedan, making it capable of handling a variety of driving conditions.

In addition, the RS4’s luxurious interior and minimalist design add to its overall appeal, making it a well-rounded choice for people who want a powerful, small ride. You can easily find the Audi RS (B7)’s used variant for as low as $21,788, making it one of the most affordable choices on this list.

5. Lotus Esprit V8

Lotus Esprit V8

The Esprit V8 is a rare find that amazingly combines the lightweight, agile design of a Lotus with the brute force of a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V8 engine, producing 350 hp.

This British sports car is known for its exotic design, sharp handling, impressive speed, and thrilling driving experience. The Lotus Esprit’s lightweight construction ensures it remains agile and responsive, making it a desirable option for drivers who value speed and precision.

6. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is one of the most iconic luxury sedans you can get your hands on. This ride comes with a hand-built 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 451 hp and offers explosive acceleration and a distinctive exhaust note. The C63 AMG cleverly blends performance with luxury, giving you a comfortable and well-appointed interior. I would recommend this European car to those who want performance without sacrificing comfort.

7. Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage is another brilliant example of British engineering and design. This extravagant ride is powered by a 420-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8 engine.

The V8 Vantage is a stunning combination of timeless design, luxurious interior, beautiful aesthetics, and thrilling performance. Do not let its compact size fool you. Its small structure and balanced chassis are what contribute to making it an enjoyable ride to drive.

Whether you decide to go on an exploration of the country road or a high-speed track, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage can be your trustworthy partner.

8. Aston Martin Cygnet V8

Aston Martin Cygnet V8

The Aston Martin Cygnet V8 is another example of big engines in small cars. It is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine producing around 430 hp, transforming the original Cygnet for the better. 

This microcar combines the compact design of the Aston Martin Cygnet city car with the powerful V8 engine from the Aston Martin Vantage S. It has gone through massive modifications to accommodate the larger engine, rear wheel drive, and a new suspension system.

Overall, the Aston Martin Cygnet V8 is a perfect example of luxury, agility, and raw power in a small, urban-friendly package that delivers a thrilling and unexpected driving experience.

9. Shelby Cobra

Shelby Cobra

The popular Shelby Cobra is an iconic car often associated with its muscular appearance. However, compared to other sports cars, it is relatively compact. Produced from 1962 to 1967, the Shelby Cobra’s 260- or 289-inch Ford V8 engine made it a symbol of American performance cars.

It boasts exceptional power in a small, agile body, making it a top collector car.

The Appeal of V8-Powered Small Vehicles

There are many people who cannot grasp why small-size vehicles with big engines are such a big deal. It all lies in their appeal. If you will look closer and learn what they offer and what you can experience, you will surely wish such rides were made more.

  • Performance

Performance is the primary appeal of little cars with big V8 engines. These rides offer incredible acceleration and top speeds, often giving tough competition to much larger and more expensive cars. The combination of a powerful engine and a lightweight chassis gives a nimble and responsive driving experience that you will not forget.

  • Unique Driving Experience

Driving a big engine in a small car is a unique experience in itself. The combination of instant power delivery and the ride’s compact size offers a hard-to-match level of excitement and agility. Compared to regular rides, this kind of car is often more engaging to drive, providing a direct connection between the driver and the road.

  • Exclusivity

Small-sized cars with V8 engines are mostly rare, which adds an element of exclusivity to them. If you wish to stand out among your peers, they can be a wonderful way to go. Your fellow enthusiasts will appreciate the engineering marvels and distinctive character that these cars bring to the table.

Overall, the small cars with V8 engines are power-packed machinery, offering an impressive intersection of compact design, power, and performance. They offer the nimble, light-footed handling of a smaller car and the raw, exhilarating force of a V8 engine.

Whether you are someone who simply appreciates the blend of performance and practicality or a car enthusiast looking for a unique driving experience, these models are sure to impress. The journey to a large engine within a small chassis is a thrilling reminder that big power can come in small packages.

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