The quarterback of engines, the legendary V-8, is starting to have a hard time making the cut, according to a report by USA Today.
Most automakers introducing new V-8s are confining them to trailer-towing trucks and a few premium cars or high-performance sports models — and retreating from putting them under the hoods of family cars.
Even on the high end, Ford Motor isn’t going to offer an eight-cylinder engine in its luxury flagship Lincoln MKS sedan. General Motors is dumping the V-8 option in the 2010 Cadillac SRX crossover arriving next year.
“Unfortunately, you look at a V-8 and say, ‘Do I really need it?’ ” says auto consultant Rebecca Lindland of Global Insight. “You get a real nice feeling from a V-6, or even a turbocharged V-6.”
The percentage of new vehicles being sold with V-8 engines has fallen from nearly 25% in 2006 to 17.3% most recently, Power Information Network reports. Even V-6 engines have lost popularity as more buyers opt for four-cylinder economy.
But don’t count out the V-8 completely. “There’s still going to be a need for those big engines,” says Power’s John Tews.
Still with V-8 muscle:
• Hyundai Genesis. Hyundai’s first V-8 in the U.S. will start arriving in showrooms next month. With 375 horsepower packed into 4.6 liters, the V-8 Genesis sedan will cost $38,000. It joins a V-6 on sale now.
• Cadillac CTS-V. The new $60,000 performance version of Caddy’s popular sedan will have a 6.2-liter, 556-horsepower V-8 when it goes on sale in two months.
• Dodge Challenger. For 2009, a $29,995 R/T version with a 372-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 joins the 425-horsepower SRT8 muscle car. A V-6 also is being added.
Automakers are stressing that the new V-8s are more fuel efficient. Aware, however, that V-8 engines are becoming politically incorrect, automakers are moving away. GM announced late last year that it’s killing a planned double-overhead-cam V-8.
Ford is planning a broad rollout of its V-6 EcoBoost engines with turbochargers, starting in some models next year, as its V-8 alternative. The new engine will offer “better horsepower than a V-8 engine with the fuel economy of a V-6,” says Ford spokesman Said Deep.