Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S ・ Photo by Mercedes-Benz
Coupes are special cars, and just as some foods go best with certain kinds of wine, there are some coupes that go best with a V8 engine. Here, presented in alphabetical order, are 10 of our favorite V8-powered 2-door coupes.
The V8 Vantage is Aston Martin's entry-level model, though it's hard to think of an Aston as an entry-level anything. Small and athletic, the Vantage is powered by a 4.7-liter V8 (though you can also get one with V12 power). While bigger Astons are designed as Grand Tourers—the type of car you'd use to whisk your confidential Italian secretary and a glove box full of stolen Russian missile plans off to meet an MI6 operative in the Swiss Alps—the Vantage is a serious sports car with a hard ride and lightning-fast reflexes. If you know your way around a curvy road, it's an enormously enjoyable car to drive. It's also a bargain by Aston Martin standards—remember, you can spend upwards of $300,000 on the Vanquish—and yet it delivers the exclusivity that only an Aston Martin can bestow.
Photo by Aston Martin
BMW is best known for their straight-6 engines (and, increasingly, for their excellent turbo fours), and when the 6 Series first appeared in this country, it featured 6-cylinder power. The 6-Series is still available with a six that would be the 640i model but there are also a trio of V8-powered choices, all three featuring BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. The 650i uses a 443-horsepower version of this engine, while the M6 gets 553 horsepower. Not enough? All right, then you're going to want the Alpina B6 xDrive, which delivers 591 horsepower to all four wheels.
Photo by BMW
The Camaro SS feels like a good ol' fashioned muscle car, with a big rumbling V8 under the hood—but ever since its 2016 redesign, in which the car lost some serious weight, it's become a serious sports car, as well. SS models get the LT1 V8, a 6.2-liter monster that puts out 455 horsepower and one of the best V8 soundtracks you'll find in a modern car. And if that's not enough, the upcoming ZL1 will get a supercharged version of the engine that does 650 horsepower. (Psst: Even though this is a list about V8 coupes, we wouldn’t rule out the Camaro's V6 and turbo 4-cylinder engines—though not as pleasing to the ear, they put lots of power and lighten up the front end significantly.)
Photo by Chevrolet
The V8 is such a part and parcel of the Corvette that it's hard to remember that when the car was introduced in 1953, it had a 6-cylinder engine closely related to those found in Chevy's economy-minded sedans. The Corvette switched to V8 power in 1955 and never looked back. The last version, called the C7, features GM's 6.2-liter LT1 V8, tuned for 455 horsepower. The Corvette may have its detractors, but the truth is that this is a world-class sports car, one that is very quick and exceptionally good in the curves, and the big, bellowing V8 engine gives it a distinctly American feel.
Photo by Chevrolet
The Challenger was the first of the retro-muscle cars to return to the road (provided you ignore the fact that the Mustang has been in continuous production since 1964), and the shape does a wonderful job of paying homage to the original Dodge Challenger of the early '70s. Of the three “pony cars”—Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro—Dodge offers the most complete V8 lineup with three engines on offer: A 375-horsepower 5.7, a 485-horsepower 6.4, and the king of the hill, the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat. Which to pick? We love all three. The 5.7 is powerful, quick, and reasonably efficient, and the Hellcat is simply bonkers, but the 6.4 has a special place in our hearts: It's very fast, very loud, and very exciting (and a real thrill to drive with a manual transmission).
Photo by Dodge
The Mustang was the first of the pony cars; in fact, the equine root of the Mustang's name is the reason these 2-door muscle coupes are called pony cars. Ford never lost faith—while the Challenger and Camaro had long hiatuses, Ford has produced a Mustang every year since 1964, through some years have been better than others. These are good years: Redesigned in 2015, today's Mustang has a 5.0-liter V8 (which, unlike the 5.0 of the 1980s, actually displaces five liters) that puts out a healthy 435 horsepower, and the interior is the best we've seen inside a Mustang for a couple of decades now. Some say the 310-horsepower 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine is the one to have, but we'll take the noise and fury of the 5.0, even if it puts a little more weight in the nose.
Photo by Ford
We often think of British sports cars as being quaint little ragtops with wheezy little 4-cylinder engines under the hood, but the F-Type is the complete opposite. Not content with merely dropping a big 5.0-liter V8 under the hood—er, sorry, bonnet—Jaguar fitted a supercharger to the engine, bringing output to a lofty 550 horsepower and 502 lb-ft of torque—and the supercharger means that power comes on right friggin' now. The V8 will power the F-Type to 60 mph in about four seconds flat and on to around 185 mph, and if that's not enough for you, there's the SVR model with 567 horsepower, 3.5 seconds to 60 mph and a 200 mph top speed. There's nothing wheezy about this car, that's for sure!
Photo by Jaguar Land Rover
For some strange reason, Lexus has been a bit shy about stuffing V8 engines into their 2-door cars, particularly in recent years. That seems to be changing, and their latest coupe, the RC, can be had with eight cylinders, though only in the top-of-the-line RC-F model. Said V8 is their 5.0-liter engine, tuned for 467 horsepower and teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The RC-F will not be lonely for long: Lexus is poised to introduce a new top-of-the-line 2-door coupe called the LC, and it too will feature the 5.0-liter engine, with a slight horsepower increase expected due to improved intake and exhaust systems.
Photo by Lexus
The Mercedes-AMG GT is the second car engineered in-house by Mercedes' high-performance AMG tuning division, the first being the gull-winged SLS. Compared to the SLS, the AMG GT is smaller and trimmer, but it does feature V8 power—a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged unit tuned for between 456 and 577 horsepower, depending on which version you buy. Along with lots of power, the AMG GT has an incredible chassis, and its handling is electrifying. The AMG GT is available as a 2-door coupe, and Mercedes will add a convertible to the lineup this coming year.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
The S-Class Coupe is everything a big Mercedes 2-door ought to be: Ostentatious, lavishly equipped and very powerful. The base model—and that's a term we use very, very loosely—is the S550, which gets a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 tuned for 449 horsepower. The S550 Coupe comes standard with Mercedes' 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. Next up is the S63 AMG, which gets a hand-built 5.5-liter V8 that delivers its 577 horsepower to the rear wheels; this engine launches the big 2-door to 60 mph in about 3.8 seconds. There's also an S65 AMG model, but it gets a 621-horsepower V12—and believe it or not, it's not quite as quick as the V8-powered S63 variant.
Photo by Mercedes-Benz