10 Cheap V8 Cars: Your Guide To The Affordable Performance Machine

Car Culture / 9 Comments

V8s won't be with us much longer, so grab a bargain while you still can.

The V8 is often seen as the pinnacle of performance car engines, versatile enough to be used in trucks, muscle cars, and supercars. Unfortunately, the world is moving towards electrification and the use of smaller engines, ultimately leading the V8 to a point where its future is on the rocks unless synthetic fuels and hydrogen can keep it alive.

We've already seen most of the Audi RS range drop the V8s for boosted V6s, Ferrari has a V6 hybrid in the 296 GTB, and even Dodge will turn the Charger into an electric muscle car.

Thankfully, the used car market is home to some great V8 bargains to get your oily hands on. We've compiled some of our favorites here that are available on the used market. It's worth remembering, though, that prices are subject to mileage, condition, and other market factors and may differ slightly.


2005 Chevrolet Corvette C6 - $22,000

This is arguably the first "modern" example of GM's legendary sports car icon. Debuting as a concept "Dream Car" back in 1953, the Corvette managed to steal the hearts of car enthusiasts from all over the globe. Naturally, it was a huge success, and the nameplate is still being used eight generations later.

Starting production in 2004, the Corvette C6 made for the perfect American sports car. It had a V8, obviously, but not just any V8; it was home to GM's world-renowned LS2 producing a healthy 400 horsepower straight from the factory. The C6 isn't all noise, however, and thanks to its near 50-50 weight distribution, the car handled well too. Used examples range in price, but you can find good deals for just more than $20,000.


2011 Ford Mustang GT - $21,000

The world's best-selling sports car of the last decade and the epitome of the upper-class American lifestyle, the Mustang GT is arguably the V8 to have, and thankfully, they're not too expensive. The 2011 Mustang built upon the new design language pioneered by the 2005 Mustang - it was large, bulky, and made all the right noises.

For an approximate price of $21,000, you'll be able to enjoy the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine producing 412 hp sent straight to the rear wheels. The 2011 Mustang may be on a list of affordable V8 cars, but that doesn't mean it's behind in any way. The latest Mustangs use an evolution of the Coyote V8, but even the older versions are still potent. With a wealth of aftermarket support, you can't go wrong with a decade-old 'Stang.


2012 Charger R/T - $17,000

The police interceptor of choice in many states, the Charger R/T is Dodge's attempt at making a muscle car that will comfortably take the entire family down South for the holidays. Unlike Mustangs and Camaros, the Dodge Charger has four doors making it the perfect V8 daily driver, and it is one of the cheapest V8 sedans on the second-hand market.

Although $17,000 seems to be about the price for decent R/T examples, there's actually a Charger to suit any budget. Older Chargers will obviously be a bit cheaper, and newer Chargers might make your wallet scream, but you can also lay your hands on a Charger straight from the police department for an absolute steal. Basically, no matter your budget, you should be able to find yourself a Charger with America's most loved engine configuration.


2004 Pontiac GTO - $16,000

You may have forgotten about this iteration of the GTO. What was once the car famous for its boxy design and ridiculously large body, the perfect contender to take on Dodge's Charger around the 60s and 70s, was reimagined in the early 2000s. Suddenly, the car looked tamer, appeared smaller, and wouldn't feel like an outcast in regular traffic.

Nowadays, the GTO is a great example on a list of affordable V8 cars, thanks to some help from the Australians. The car is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 paired with a manual transmission producing 350 hp with a torque figure of 365 lb-ft. Unfortunately, its price and timing led to the GTO being a failure, but that doesn't mean it's no good to drive today.


2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG - $15,000

There's nothing quite like the sound of the classic Mercedes-AMG V8 rumble - and thankfully, the CLK 55 will allow you access to that full AMG experience at just a fraction of the price of variants from recent years. This might be a rather difficult car to find, but once you find it, an asking price of just $15,000 will be well worth it, as that's what well-looked-after examples cost. You can even find them for under $10k if you drop your standards.

On par with its closest rivals, the CLK 55 AMG had 362 hp on tap and used a five-speed rather than six-speed automatic transmission. Being a Mercedes-Benz, this muscle car offered German luxury and quality paired with that performance, making it a stand-out option when looking around for the cheapest V8 sports cars on the market.


2011 Chrysler 300 V8 - $14,000

Here's a great alternative to the Dodge Charger, the Chrysler 300 was also offered with V8s even when purchasing non-SRT variants. Just like with the Charger, you'll have the practicality needed for daily driving, with the added benefit of available rear- and all-wheel drive.

The great thing about the 300 is the low asking price, even for low-mileage variants, meaning you can find something relatively new without breaking the bank. Under the hood, you'll be greeted by a 5.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine producing a respectable 363 hp. This may not keep up with the likes of modern muscle cars, but for the price and spec, it makes for a great overall contender when looking at cheap V8 engines.


2009 Audi A6 quattro 4.2 - $12,000

A rather rare offering but a spectacular one nonetheless. The A6 was the Audi A4's bigger brother - boasting more space, more luxury, more comfort, and, in this case, more engine. The 4.2-liter V8 found in the A6 isn't too dissimilar to those found in the original Audi R8 or the B7 RS4 - which Jeremy Clarkson says "snarls like a wounded tiger."

As with many cars on this list, the power figures sit around the middle of the 300s - well, exactly in the middle in this case, with 350 horses to play with. As its name suggests, this A6 variant boasts Audi's legendary AWD system pioneered in the days of Group B rally with the iconic Audi Sport Quattro, propelling the rather chunky A6 to 60 in about 5.2 seconds.

Nowadays, it's a sweet deal for a lovely V8 and a creamy smooth ride.


2011 BMW 550i - $11,000

Continuing the trend of luxury German V8s, the 550i is often overshadowed by its meatier M sibling, leaving it overlooked by most. What many don't realize is the 550i is rather quick - 0-60-mph-in-4.8-seconds quick. Unlike most of the cars on this list, the 550i has the assistance of two turbos to help it achieve a rather impressive power figure of 400 hp.

Although over a decade old, the 550i doesn't entirely feel it. It's smooth and comfortable, has a pretty decent infotainment system, 18-way power seats, and could be optioned with driver-assistance features to prevent you from having a bit of a crash. Back in the day, the 550i had a starting price of just over $60,000, so you best believe it's more than worth the tick over ten grand it'll cost today. BMW did have some issues with the V8 engines used in the 550i, so make sure you get a clean car with all the preemptive maintenance done.


2011 Chevrolet Camaro 1LT - $10,000

We've spoken about Mustangs, we've touched on Chargers, and we're left with just one more iconic modern American muscle car. Bring on the Chevrolet Camaro. In 2010, the Camaro received a significant refresh, the first since the catfish Camaro from 2002. No longer did the car look dreary and uninspiring, it was bold, had sharp lines, and it was fast with a V8.

Albeit almost entirely redesigned, the Camaros of today still use that same design language from that 2010 Camaro, and even by today's standards, the Camaros from that era look and sound great. Powered by a 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8, the 1LT had a monstrous 426 hp on tap and managed to hit 60 mph in less than five seconds. That's a lot of performance for around $10,000.


2009 Ford Crown Victoria - $5,000

This might just be the cheapest modern V8 on the used market today, with an abundance of choices for sale and not one breaking the bank. The Crown Vic was initially released in 1991, but owing to its popularity with the police and taxi drivers, the sedan stayed in production until 2011, remaining almost entirely unchanged. The Crown Vic was one of the most reliable cars ever made in America.

The car wasn't fast by any means; its 4.6-liter V8 was only good for 224 hp. Nevertheless, it makes for a cheap entry into the V8 market and can be plenty fun to drive, thanks to its rear-wheel-drive setup. It isn't uncommon to see this car flaunting upgrades as well, although, if you see one in your review, don't automatically assume it's modified and try and race it - that might just end in disaster.


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