These 21st-Century American Muscle Cars Are Powerful And Fun

The American muscle car is an iconic part of our nation’s landscape. Ask any car enthusiast what some of their fondest memories were growing up and they will likely point out at least one car they’ve fallen in love with over their lifetime. While the muscle car landscape has changed over the years, there are still many 21st-century muscle cars that have redesigned what a muscle car entails. The new breed of cars brings new curves, power, and technology to the forefront.

2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition Convertible

2002 ChevroletCamaro SS35
Rich Niewiroski Jr. / Wikipedia
Rich Niewiroski Jr. / Wikipedia

The 2002 Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition package finished in Bright Ralley Red was a welcomed addition to the Camaro’s long and storied history. This muscle car featured a very capable 5.7 L LS 1 V8 with a 325hp automatic transmission.

The SS also came equipped with a rear spoiler, high-performance ride and handling suspension, and a low restriction dual exhaust. It was a capable car and a lot of fun to drive.

2002 Mustang Bullitt

2002 Mustang Bullitt
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The 2002 Mustang Bullitt is a design we came to love in the early 2000s and this particular model was a lot of fun to drive with its overhead-cammed, V8, and its aluminum-shift-knobbed five-speed manual setup.

The transformative nature of this particular Ford Mustang came in the form of a newly added cast aluminum SVT Cobra intake manifold alongside a twin-bore 57mm throttle body and port-matched heads to the existing 4.6L SOHC V-8. Throw in a high-flow exhaust system with special tailpipes and it’s easy to see why buyers love this car. The Bullitt featured just 265hp while adding 305 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1

2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Ford
Ford

First, the 2005 Mustang Mach 1 is often sought after because it was the last year to feature the SN-95 platform. It was also a lot of fun to drive with its 4.6L DOHC “mod” V-8 that pushed out 305 horsepower with 320 lbs.-ft of torque at 5,800 rpm.

The Mach 1 also featured a modified MacPherson strut with separate spring on lower arm and 26.5-mm stabilizer bar alongside Brembo discs and a four-bar link with coil springs on the lower arm and a horizontal axle damper with a 23-mm solid stabilizer bar.

2014 Ford Shelby Mustange GT500

2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Ford
Ford

The 2014 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 is a car for muscle car aficionados who love the feel of horsepower as they drive. This popular muscle car featured a 662-hp supercharged 5.8L V8 that produced 631 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Really pushing the boundaries of high-tech performance (at the time), the Shelby GT500 also featured an available Track Apps setup that provided drivers with comprehensive performance metrics ranging from acceleration times to g-force measurements. It’s also a comfortable ride with Mustang cockpit seats and a floor console designed for smooth and price shifting.

2005-2006 Ford GT

Ford GT
Winning Automotive Photography / Flickr
Winning Automotive Photography / Flickr

The 2005-2006 Ford GT features a fun retro field with enough power to satisfy most muscle car enthusiasts. This beautifully crafted 21st-century muscle car included a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that pumped out 550hp with 500 lb-ft. of torque.

Ford offered this modern masterpiece with a six-speed manual that pushed all of its power to the back wheels. It’s still one of the best automobiles Ford has debuted in the 21st century.

2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview - Day 1
Raymond Boyd / Getty Images
Raymond Boyd / Getty Images

You can’t call your car a “Hellcat” and then not deliver the type of power that name entices. The 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye lives up to its name. As the newest 21st-century muscle car on our list, this beautiful vehicle delivers a 6.2L V9 with a fist-clenching 797hp that pushes the boundaries of straight-away street performance.

Reviews of the vehicle note that the handling on this beast isn’t the best but let’s be honest, we wouldn’t be buying this muscle car for its ability to take corners.

2008-2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8

2008-2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8
Alan Look / Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
Alan Look / Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

When the 2008-2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 debuted it was easy to see the inspiration Dodge’s team took from old-school design. It was also immediately clear this muscle car meant business.

The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is powered by a 6.1-liter V8 with 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. This muscle car came standard with a 5-speed automatic with a lock-up torque converter and AutoStick. We also love the painted Brembo calibers.

2017 Dodge Charger SRT 392

2017 Dodge Charger SRT 392
Dodge
Dodge

If you’re buying a Dodge Charger of Challenger you’re likely in the market for an affordable but still fun to drive performance vehicle. While not the biggest and baddest of the 21st-century muscle cars on our list, the 2017 Dodge Charger SRT 392 is a capable vehicle with a lot to offer.

First, the vehicle’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 pushes out 485 horsepower with 475lbs-feet of torque which gives you plenty to play with. This unassuming ride also pushes 0-60 seconds in 4.3 seconds with a quarter-mile run of just 12.4.

2004 Cadillac CTS-V

2004 Cadillac CTS V
Wikipedia / Public Domain Released
Wikipedia / Public Domain Released

The 2004 Cadillac CTS-V might look like your grandfather’s sedan but this powerful muscle car packs a punch. Featuring a 5.7L V8 this unassuming automobile doesn’t disappoint. Throw in a 6-speed manual transmission alongside 400hp and 6,000 rpm and we’re sold.

Still not convinced? This model matched the Corvette Z06 with its 400-horsepower Small Block LS6 V-8 and impressive Tremec T-56 six-speed manual. It’s also a smooth ride with Nűrburgring-honed handling and with four-doors, so you can take your family or friends along for the experience. The CTS-V delivered 0-60 times of about 4.6 seconds.

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

2014 Corvette C7 Stingray
Sarah Larson / Wikipedia
Sarah Larson / Wikipedia

Let’s be honest, trying to mimic the iconic 1963 Corvette Stringray was going to be a challenge for any car designer. Instead of replicating perhaps one of the most iconic muscle cars of all time, Corvette chose to pay homage with its 2014 version.

The 2014 Corvette Stringray featured a 6.2L LT1 V-8 engine that combined direct injection, Active Fuel Management and continuously variable valve timing with an advanced combustion system that delivered on power. How much power? 450hp with 450lb.-ft of torque. This 21st-century muscle car could go 0-60 in under four seconds while delivering 1g in cornering grip.

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1-577455158
Alan Look / Icon Sport Media via Getty Images
Alan Look / Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

We definitely weren’t going to create a 21st-century muscle car list with only one Corvette making an appearance. The 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was a masterwork in craftsmanship and power that didn’t disappoint.

With its supercharged 6.2L V8 engine that pushed out 638 hp and 604lb.-ft torque, this muscle car was built for speed and it didn’t disappoint with a top speed of 205 mph. This iconic muscle car hit 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and 0-100 mph in 7.6 seconds.

2007 Dodge Charger SRT-8 Super Bee

2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee
Srt8jaak / Wikipedia
Srt8jaak / Wikipedia

The 2007 Dodge Charger SRT-8 Super Bee managed to accomplish two goals. First, it lived up to the Charger’s muscle roots while combining the Super Bee legacy.

This muscle car was built as a Charger and modified to give it a limited-edition Super Bee version featuring a 6.1 liter V8 Hemi engine that pushed out 425hp at 6200rpm with 420 ft-lbs. of torque at 4800rpm. This 21-century muscle car definitely doesn’t disappoint.

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS-6

2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS-6
TheTopher / YouTube
TheTopher / YouTube

The Firebird Trans Am has always held a special place in our heart and while not the most powerful car on our list, not by a long shot, we still love this more modern take on a classic muscle car.

The 2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS-6 was equipped with a 5.7L V8 that pushed out 310HP with 340 torque at 4000RPM. This fun to drive car started to phase out in the early 21st-century and after this model year it would be more than a decade before the Trans Am made its glorious return.

2017 Dodge Viper ACR

2017 Dodge Viper ACR
Martyn Lucy / Getty Images
Martyn Lucy / Getty Images

We could have added several Dodge Viper ACR models to our 21st-century muscle car list but it was the 2017 model that pushes for additional power and a sleek design that epitomizes the Dodge Viper lineup.

With an 8.4L V-10 that pushes 645hp with 6200RPM and 600 Lb-Ft. Torque at 5,000 RPM it’s a beast of a supercar and a ton of fun to drive. It’s not cheap at over $100,000 but we’d still splurge if we had the spare cash lying around.

2008–09 Pontiac G8 GT

2008 Pontiac G8 GT

We really wanted to offer some lower-cost muscle cars for the 21st-century and the Pontiac G8 GT seems like a great fit. While it might not ooze of sophistication like others on our list, this capable V-8 was nothing to gawk at.

The G8 GT featured a 6.0-liter L76 engine that pushed out 361hp. It also came equipped with Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation. It was an unassuming option and if you’re in the market for a used muscle car this GT can be picked up for around $15K with under 75,000 miles.

2017 Dodge Challenger T/A

2017 Dodge Challenger TA
Dodge
Dodge

Sometimes we just want a muscle car that can burn rubber without breaking the bank. That’s exactly why we added the 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A to our list of top 21-century muscle cars. Not everyone will agree with this addition but the lineup holds a special place in our heart.

It’s also a capable car in its own right, featuring a 5.7-liter V8 engine that pushes out 375 horsepower at 5150rpm alongside 410 ft-lbs. at 4300rpm. It also hits 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds with a quarter-mile sprint in under 14 seconds.

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Chevrolet
Chevrolet

A 6-speed manual transmission capable of hitting 0-60 in four seconds flat, 505 horsepower guided by a 7.0L V8 engine, and 481 pound-feet of torque is nothing to laugh at and it’s exactly what the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 delivers.

This track rat can hit the quarter-mile in 12.2 seconds, making it one of the fastest factory-stock muscle cars of the last decade. The 2014 model was also marked by lightness and suspension adjustments that made this particular Z28 model a ton of fun to drive.

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Chevrolet
Chevrolet

Multiple Camaro’s made our list, all with their very own set of fun additions but it’s the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 that gets us most excited for the lineups last 20 years.

This ZL1 features a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V* engine that pushes out 650 horsepower with 650 pounds-feet of torque. With a top speed of 195MPH and a 0-60mph time of just 3.5 seconds with a 12-second quarter-mile, it’s a beast that deserves our respect.

2015 Equus Bass 770

Equus Bass 770

Most of the cars on our list can be purchased for under $100,000 (or close to it) but that’s not the case with this hand-built American muscle car. The Equus Bass 770 was not cheap at $250,000 but that price delivers a heck of a lot of power.

The Equus Bass 770 featured a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, the same engine as found in the C6 Corvette ZR1. The engine pushes out 640 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of torque, allowing for 0-60mph in just 3.4 seconds. Only a handful were ever produced.

2017 Shelby GT350R

2017 Shelby GT350R
Ford
Ford

We had to add another Shelby to our list because this model transformed the Mustang line the track and all for under $60,000. The 2017 Shelby GT350R is a great track car with stats to back up its price tag.

With a 5.2 L V8 that pushes out 526 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, the 2017 Shelby GT350R is a fun ride that will take you from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds with a quarter-mile wrapped up in 12.5 seconds. If you’re curious what the “R” in the name delivers, for an additional $10,000 Ford provides a lighter, decontented, track-focused option.