In an era of hybridization and electrification, V8 engines are sadly a dying breed. Often deemed not efficient enough, V8’s live their last days. That’s a shame because these motors provided the smoothest and most effortless drive possible, accompanied by that burbling noise we all love. Fortunately, though, there is no shortage of used vehicles with V8 engines, most of them costing under $10,000, and we made a list of the coolest ones.
Chevrolet Corvette C5
Is there a better vehicle to start this list than with a supercar? And not just any supercar – the legendary Corvette. The C5 is the newest generation that is available under $10,000, so it’s fairly modern. It’s also very quick, thanks to the 5.7-liter LS V8 engine under the hood, producing up to 350 hp.
Furthermore, the Corvette C5 is great in the corners, providing you with real supercar-like driving thrills. That said, to get the best out of it, we recommend going for the 6-speed manual transmission, since the 4-speed isn’t particularly exciting. Still, any model looks cool and turns heads, if that’s what you really want.
Ford Mustang GT
If supercar design isn’t your forte, then the fifth-gen Ford Mustang GT is another great option. In our eyes, it’s still one of the best-looking Mustang’s to date, with retro coolness and modern muscle seamlessly combined in one package.
More importantly, it comes with a 5.0-liter V8, providing exhilarating performance and an even better soundtrack. Every acceleration in the Mustang GT is an experience in itself, not just for you, but also for the outside world. It might wake your neighbors every morning, but that doesn’t make it any less cool. The best thing about the Mustang GT, you can already find pristine examples at a very low price.
Chevrolet Camaro SS 4th Gen
The fourth-gen Camaro might not have retro looks of later models, but the sleek and sporty lines still look sexy to this day. Besides, the Camaro has the engines to back up its muscle-car credentials, especially in the SS model, which is powered by a 5.7-liter LS1 V8, producing 335 hp.
Hence, the Camaro SS is nearly as quick as the Corvette C5, albeit in a larger and more approachable body. The large V8 also provides the driver with the means to burn the rear tires and even out-accelerate modern sports cars. The thrilling noise is only the cherry on top.
Dodge Charger R/T
Muscle cars usually come in coupe form, making them less useful as daily drivers, especially if you have a family. Don’t worry, because there is a solution for your woes, and it’s called the Charger R/T. Dodge’s sedan is far more practical than usual muscle cars without losing points on the coolness scale.
Besides, it packs a 5.7-liter V8 under the hood, good for 340 hp. In today’s age, that might sound like much, but it’s still enough to smoke modern executive sedans. Besides, it makes a real muscle-car noise and looks very mean on the outside. What more could you want for under $10,000?
Sleek, elegant, and sporty are words that always successfully describe any Jaguar, although we think that’s most apparent in the XK8. The coupe/convertible sports car still looks fantastic to this day, while also packing some serious performance.
Namely, Jaguar employed a 4.0-liter V8 in mid-tier versions and a 4.2-liter supercharged V8 in the most powerful XKR models. Both provide exhilarating driving thrills, with great engine noise and tidy handling. Another high point is the classy interior crafted from leather and wood, which looks very classy. Ultimately, it shares the platform with the Aston Martin DB7, giving it extra points on the coolness scale.
Lexus SC 430
Various people have vastly different opinions on the Lexus SC 430. Jeremy Clarkson called it the worst car of all time, but many other journalists consider it a well-done luxury convertible. We tend to fall in the latter group – the SC 430 is a very well-accomplished luxury car, with a high-quality interior and supremely smooth 4.3-liter V8 engine.
Besides, being a Lexus engine, it’s extremely reliable and durable, so even a high-mileage example costing way less than $10,000 shouldn’t worry you. Crucially, though, it has a timeless design that won’t go out of fashion in the foreseeable future.
Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129
“Cool” might have been invented as a word to describe “intensely good” in the 1930s, but in our minds, it’s the Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 that made it popular. The German convertible is undoubtedly the personification of coolness with its simple and elegant, yet muscular lines. It’s a car that still turns heads to this day and is still a status symbol.
Besides, the SL500 model packs a 306 ps V8 under the hood, enough for an exhilarating ride. The cabin also has that simple and classy Mercedes-Benz look, with high-quality materials. And, while it might be expensive to maintain, the SL500 R129 is still a good value at under $10,000.
The S-Class is the personification of the hi-tech luxury car, always moving the boundaries on what’s possible in a car. However, because of high maintenance costs, the S-Class quickly loses its value, making it available to a wider audience.
Today, you can snatch a perfect example with a V8 engine under the hood for well under $10,000. It might be expensive to maintain, but the driving (or be driven) the S-Class will undoubtedly make you feel important. Besides, the best Mercedes-Benz will always look cool, and that’s especially true for the third-gen W140 model, still used by many high-profile figures around the world.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The first-gen Grand Cherokee signaled Jeep’s entry into the luxury SUV category, and it was an immediate success. The simple and muscular design quickly caught the public’s eye, but the Grand Cherokee had a few other qualities that made it a stand-out SUV.
One example is the 5.9-liter V8 engine producing 245 hp, making it one of the quickest in its category. The 5.2-liter V8 was also no slouch and can be found for dirt cheap today. The second-gen Grand Cherokee is also an excellent option – its 4.7-liter V8 produces 235 hp. However, we think that it looks a tad more sedate.
1999 Jaguar XJ8
Muscle cars are cool, but they sometimes miss the “classy” factor. If you want that kind of car, you should definitely go British – the Jaguar XJ8 packs some serious performance, but more importantly, looks very elegant. Jaguar has always known how to create a design that will live through the ages, and the XJ8 is the perfect example of that.
Under the bonnet, the British luxury packs a 4.0-liter V8 engine producing 290 hp, enough for effortless acceleration. It also makes good noise, although Jaguar made sure it isn’t loud in the cabin, making the XJ8 a luxurious rather than a sporty car.
Chevrolet Corvette C4
The Chevrolet Corvette C4 is another great V8 supercar that everyone can afford today. In our eyes, it is one of the best looking, thanks to the angular and purposeful design, which perfectly conveys the power under the hood.
The LS5 V8 engine produces 375 HP, which was an extreme number for the era, embarrassing even some Italian supercars. The Corvette C5 is also a blast to drive, especially if you opt for the excellent 6-speed ZF manual transmission. Besides, you can have a convertible version of the C4, as well as a coupe with a glass roof, adding to the coolness factor.
Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
A quick look at the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra and the first thing you’ll probably say about it is that it’s cool. However, the SVT Cobra’s coolness hides beneath the skin. Under the bonnet, Ford employed a 4.6-liter aluminum V8 producing 305 hp, which was very impressive in the 90s.
The result is a quarter-mile time under 14 seconds – not too shabby for a muscle car costing under $10,000. But being a car from Ford’s SVT performance division, the Cobra also featured improved suspension and brakes, so it wasn’t only good in a straight line. Overall, an excellent and good-looking muscle car for economy-car money. We’d go for it.
BMW has always strived to create the ultimate driving machine – a car that’s fun to drive on a twisty road, yet comfortable enough to bring your family on vacation. The 5-Series might be the closest to a driving perfection you can get in a BMW, now, you can own such a car from the E39 generation with a V8 engine for under $10,000.
What you are getting is an undeniably good-looking BMW, strong straight-line performance, great handling for the category, and exceptionally well-made interior. Add to that German engineering, and you get one of the coolest sports sedans.
While the BMW 5-Series has always been about performance driving, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class was geared more towards the customers that wanted the ultimate comfort. The E-Class is one of the best mile-eaters ever made, and that applies to all generations.
Both the second and third-generation models are outstanding for long trips, especially with a V8 engine under the hood. The motor will simply drone in the background while you’re enjoying the quietness and exceptional ride quality on the highway. It feels almost like flying in an airplane. Oh, and when you need that extra oomph, Merc’s strong V8 engines will be happy to push you forward strongly, yet elegantly.
In the 80s, the thought of a luxurious Japanese car was very off-putting. The public was accustomed to cheap, reliable, and economical Japanese vehicles, but not expensive, luxurious ones. Hence, when Toyota announced it would launch a luxury brand, the American, and especially the German brands, laughed.
However, when Lexus launched in 1989, it showed that the Japanese have a place in the premium category. The LS400, the brand’s first vehicle, demolished the competition from the start. It was a luxury sedan with an ultra-smooth V8 engine that was better-engineered than the Germans and more comfortable than the Americans. Most importantly, you can now enjoy Lexus’s legendary sedan for under $10,000 without worrying about reliability issues – it’s a Lexus, after all.
The BMW 7-Series has always been in the shadow of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Rewind the clock, though, and you’ll see that used 7-Series cars are actually more desirable than S-Class’s, and one of the most famous is the E38 generation. The sedan still looks very attractive – some purists consider it the best-looking 7-Series, and we tend to agree.
The beauty of it, though, is that apart from the entry-level inline-6, every other engine is a V8, ranging from 3.0-liters to 4.4-liters, and each one of them is very good. Hell, there is even a V12 engine for those that want to stand out, making it extra cool.
Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
Although it packs a 303 hp 5.3-liter LS V8 engine under the hood, the Grand Prix GXP isn’t exactly a sports sedan. The problem lies in the configuration – the power went to the front wheels. That created all sorts of handling problems, particularly torque steering, so whenever you pushed the gas out of the corner, the Grand Prix would go wide.
Still, if you don’t drive aggressively, the GXP is a fine sedan. The engine is very smooth and provides good thrust forward, making the Grand Prix GXP a fine long-distance cruiser. However, although you can find a cheap example today, be careful about mechanical issues.
Volkswagen Phaeton V8
Volkswagen might not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think about V8’s. However, the most popular German brand once decided to compete in the luxury category, primarily against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The result was the Phaeton – a luxurious sedan with VR6, V8, and W12 engines under the hood.
The car was an absolute gem in every regard. It had a very luxurious interior, it was super smooth and quiet, and it was comfortable. The Phaeton didn’t succeed, though, and the main reason is that it looks like an enlarged Passat. Still, the Phaeton V8 becomes cooler as time goes by, and now you can drive it at a very low price.
Chrysler 300C SRT8
When Chrysler launched the 300C sedan, it caused quite a stir in the enthusiast community. People loved the simple yet muscular design, especially in the most powerful SRT8 version. Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI V8, the 300C SRT8 was no joke – it could accelerate to 60 mph in only 4.9 seconds, beating most executive sedans from the era.
Besides, the SRT8 handles pretty well for a large sedan while also being very comfortable when you need it. The interior might not be as high-quality as the Germans, although it does feel unique. Still, the 300C SRT8 is all about that ultra-cool exterior design and sonorous V8 engine, anyway.
Audi A6 4.2 Quattro (4B)
Most of the V8 sedans we listed here are geared toward luxury, smoothness, and comfort. Not the 2000 Audi A6 Quattro, though. Audi’s executive sedan will also bring thrills to your ride, courtesy of a 4.2-liter V8 producing 300 hp and the famous Quattro AWD drivetrain.
Since the motor is naturally aspirated, it sounds delightful all the way to the redline. Handling is very sure-footed, too, and the interior still oozes quality to this day. Besides, the mechanics are fairly reliable, so you shouldn’t have many issues. Ultimately, it’s one of the best-looking sedans of the era.
Lexus GS 430 (S160, S190)
Want a super-reliable executive sports sedan that will put a smile on your face, while also looking cool? Look no further than the GS 430. Lexus’s executive sedan has always fared well against the German competition in terms of the driving experience, but with the added benefit of reliability. Today, very good examples are available for under $10,000, making it very desirable.
In addition, the GS 430 looks very sporty, thanks to the coupe-like roofline, and has a very well-made interior with high-quality materials. Oh, and if you want a more efficient, option, the GS was the only sedan of the era available with a hybrid. Not a V8, we know, but it was equally as quick, going from 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds.
Audi S8 (D2)
You can also have Audi’s sonorous 4.2-liter V8 in a larger, more luxurious package, without losing many of the thrills. The S8 is a luxury sedan first and foremost, but it can also put a smile on your face – it accelerates from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds in the 364 hp facelifted model.
Moreover, thanks to the lightweight aluminum construction and Quattro AWD system, it feels very agile in the bends. It is also one of the coolest-looking Audi sedans, ever, with a simple timeless design that still passes the test of time successfully.
The Infiniti M45 was the brand’s first foray in the V8 sports-executive sedan market, and it immediately caught the public’s attention. Infiniti really differentiated itself with the simple and muscular design, which is very different from other sedans of the era.
It still looks cool to this day, like it doesn’t care what everyone else thinks about it. Besides, the M45 had the means to back up that “impolite” look – a 4.5-liter V8 engine under the hood, producing 340 hp – that’s still powerful to this day and enough to give you thrills down the road.
Remember the times when customers considered Hyundai a low-cost economy brand? We remember it, too, but the memories feel almost faded nowadays. Hyundai has a solid image today, and one of the biggest reasons was the launch of the Genesis premium sub-brand.
Genesis didn’t actually start as a sub-brand – it was first a model in Hyundai’s lineup. The sedan competed with the large luxury sedans from Germany, Japan, and the USA, and it did surprisingly well. The first-gen model was available with V6 or V8 options, and you can find pristine examples today for very low prices. Besides being a Hyundai, the Genesis is fairly reliable, unlike other luxury brands.
If you didn’t know what sits under the bonnet, there is really nothing much that you could impress you about the Chevrolet Caprice. It’s a run-of-the-mill large sedan with a very forgettable design. However, the LT1 V8 engine that Chevy introduced in 1994 was anything but forgettable.
The 5.7-liter V8 motor produced 260 hp, enough for brisk yet smooth acceleration. It sounded very good, too, like any V8 from that era. However, even if you don’t find a Caprice with this engine, the sedan was available exclusively with V8 powertrains so that any model will provide you with that smooth power delivery.
Jaguar XF Supercharged
If power and driving experience is what you are after, then the Jaguar XF Supercharged might be an excellent option. The British executive sports sedan is not only quick, but it also looks the part, both on the inside and outside. Hell, the styling is so good, Jaguar could sell it as a new model today with only a few improvements.
Still, it’s the 4.2-liter Supercharged V8 under the hood that’s the crown jewel. It produces a healthy 420 hp and strong torque from low rpm, giving you a thump in the back every time you press on the gas pedal.
Lincoln Mark VIII LSC
Lincoln is mainly associated with SUVs today, but the American luxury brand once had stylish coupes in its lineup. The last to grace the dealerships was the Mark VIII LSC, a sleek-looking car that still turns some heads to this day. It certainly makes you wonder how a modern Lincoln coupe would look like!
Like any American coupe of the era, the Mark VIII LSC packs a V8 engine, specifically the 4.6-liter unit from the Mustang. It produces 290 hp and pairs with a 4-speed automatic transmission, a combination that provides an effortless and smooth ride.
Audi S4 (B6)
Today’s Audi S4 sports sedan comes exclusively with a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (and a turbodiesel in Europe). In the past, though, the German sedan was much cooler – it packed a 4.2-liter V8. The naturally-aspirated unit produces 344 hp, almost on par with the new V6 turbo.
Besides, it is also much more characterful and sounds miles better. Paired with a 6-speed manual, it was also no slouch – some owners report sub-5-seconds 0-60mph time. On top of that, the Quattro AWD system provides surefooted handling and excellent stability. Ultimately, the Audi S4 B6 still looks stylish, even 18 years after the initial launch.
Lexus SC 400
The Toyota Supra is one of the most popular sports cars of all time, but what if we tell you there was a Lexus version with a V8 engine in the ’90s? It was called the SC 400 and was the brand’s first foray into the coupe market.
And, yup, the SC 400 shares the platform with the Supra, although it dropped the 2JZ-GTE for a more conventional 4.0-liter V8 from the LS 400. As a result, the SC 400 was less powerful at 250 hp. However, Lexus never wanted to make a sports car; instead, it aimed at an audience that wanted a stylish and smooth grand-tourer, and it definitely succeeded.
Pontiac is not around anymore, but its name still makes ripples in the enthusiast communities. One of the reasons is the GTO, a long-standing muscle car that has almost a cult following. Here, we’ll talk about the last generation, designed and developed in collaboration with Australian carmaker Holden, which marketed its model as the Monaro.
The fifth-gen Pontiac GTO has an appealing design, with simple and elegant lines combined to create a sporty appearance. It’s a timeless look that still works to this day. However, the engines under the hood are even more impressive – a 5.7-liter V8 in early models and a 6.0-liter V8 after the facelift. The latter produces 400 hp, so it’s powerful even by today’s standards.
Toyota Tundra V8
Sports cars are cool everywhere, but in the USA, trucks might be even cooler. Besides, there are a plethora of V8 options to choose from here, dating back decades. One of the best used full-size trucks is the first-gen Toyota Tundra, which packs a smooth and reliable 4.7-liter V8 engine under the hood, producing up to 282 hp, depending on the model year.
It’s also a very capable truck – you can easily tow a larger trailer, or go places where regular cars won’t. Besides, you also have Toyota’s legendary reliability to back you up.
The third-gen Chevy Silverado boasts much more muscular looks than the Toyota Tundra, and it comes with three V8 engines to choose from. Of course, our pick is the largest 6.2-liter unit that produces 403 hp, giving you extra oomph for towing, hauling, or just enjoying your ride. Still, any other V8 option will do.
The Silverado is also a very capable off-roader, especially with a 4×4 drivetrain, and it drives well on the road, too. There is a reason why it won the 2007 North American Truck of the Year and MotorTrend’s 2007 Truck of the Year awards, after all.
Ford’s F-series of trucks is by far the most popular and best-selling in North America, and it’s not even close. There are a few reasons for that, namely outstanding towing and hauling capabilities, easy maintainability and availability of parts, strong performance, and muscular looks.
The 11th and 12th generation models have all of those things in spades – they look cool and get the job done. Besides, you can have them with some excellent V8 engines, like the 5.4-liter Triton or 6.2-liter Boss unit. With these engines, you might even smoke some modern sports cars, while carrying heavy cargo in the bed. Now, how cool is that?
Dodge Ram Pickup
The Dodge Ram has always differentiated from Ford’s and GM’s trucks by focusing on performance and appearance. For instance, the third-gen model is the best-looking pickup truck of that era, largely thanks to the muscular front grille. It also packed some serious power under the hood, with two excellent V8 engines available – a 5.7-liter HEMI and 5.9-liter Magnum.
However, unlike its competition, the third-gen Dodge Ram was also available with the V10 engine from the Viper, making it sort of a muscle-truck. Namely, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 had an 8.3-liter V10 unit producing 500 hp, making it easily the most powerful truck of the era.
BMW X5 (E53)
The BMW X5 was one of the first luxury SUVs to launch globally, and it was a resounding success. BMW has managed to combine excellent driving dynamics and practicality in an attractive package. That was especially true if you opted for the 4.4-liter, 4.6-liter, or 4.8-liter V8 engines, which also provided sports-car-like straight-line performance.
We could argue that the first-gen X5 still looks cool today, but there is no arguing the excellent driving experience. The E53 X5 is quick, comfortable, and stable on the road, while also providing the passengers with a spacious and nicely appointed interior. It’s also very cheap today, although we suggest getting a detailed look for mechanical issues.
Volvo XC90 V8
The first-gen XC90 was Volvo’s first-ever SUV, and it quickly caught the audience’s attention. However, to really succeed in North America, Volvo needed a V8 engine. The problem? The front end was too small to accommodate one. Fortunately, there was a solution, and the name of it was Yamaha. Yup, the Volvo XC90 carries a Yamaha-designed V8 engine.
The Japanese company designed a real engineering marvel here – the motor was as small as a V6, although it still packed eight cylinders and had a 4.4-liter capacity. In the XC90, the Yamaha V8 produced 311 hp, although it was later used in the Noble M600 supercar, where it produced 641 hp.
Ford Crown Victoria
If your idea of a cool vehicle is a police car, then look no further than the Ford Crown Victoria. The retro-styled sedan still catches attention with its imposing appearance, but the real Crown jewel is the huge V8 under the hood, producing 250 hp.
Now, the Crown Victoria is heavy, meaning acceleration isn’t particularly exciting, but Ford’s sedan was never about an exhilarating ride. Instead, it was designed to provide the passengers with an ultra-smooth and seamless driving experience, and it does that with aplomb. Besides, it is so inexpensive nowadays that it’s almost “criminal” not to own it, at least for a while.
The Chevrolet Suburban is the typical full-size family SUV, with an ultra-spacious interior, great towing capability, and strong V8 engines under the hood. But how is it cool? Well, it’s about what you can do with it. Slap some large wheels and a variable suspension, and your Suburban will immediately be the coolest vehicle on the bloc.
The 9th generation is of particular interest here, since it packs some excellent V8 engines, including a 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 monster, producing 335 hp. Other versions are no slouch, too, yet you can find them for less than $10,000.
Toyota Land Cruiser J100 V8
You might ask yourself what’s cool about the Land Cruiser J100, and that’s great because we have the right answers. Toyota’s off-road-focused SUV might not look particularly exciting, but an off-road package with a lifted suspension and 35-inch tires quickly transforms the calm-looking Land Cruiser into a devil.
Besides, the SUV has the credentials to back that design – its off-road abilities are legendary, and it’s one of the most reliable vehicles in the world, ever. The cherry on top is the 4.7-liter V8, which although not very powerful, is one of the smoothest V8 engines you’d find. Moreover, the Land Cruiser J100 will keep its price for longer than competing SUVs, so it’s a good investment.