What's the best V8 on sale in NZ? Here's what we'd buy
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The humble V8 engine was once a staple on roads around the world, but as emission regulations tighten and EV popularity rises, it's becoming a thing of the past.
So with an unlimited budget, we set out to find the best V8 that can be had new in New Zealand, and unsurprisingly, the results are rather pricey. Make sure to vote for your favourite at the bottom!
Editor, Dean Evans: Audi RS Q8
A V8 should always be a 5.0-litre. Maybe it’s the Brock thing, maybe it’s a touring car racing thing, or even a Vanilla Ice implant, but I’ve always associated the V8 and 5.0.
So with everything seemingly downsizing, the 4.0-litre V8 seems to be the way, and there’s plenty of choice: Lamborghini Urus, AMG, Bentley, Aston Martin and of course Audi.
And it’s this brand I’d lean towards, and as tempting as the R8 sports cars is, it’s my money, so I’d buy its SUV equivalent, the superb super SUV RS Q8.
It’s not as overt as, for comparison sake, as an AMG, and a little more favoured by this particular family than a BMW.
But look at it: it’s muscular, but not obnoxious, and I’m completely aware of the contradiction of choosing Java Green Metallic.
At $243,900, no it’s not cheap, but what V8 is? There’s 800Nm and 441kW and 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, which is ideal to get the attention of whining kids.
Plenty of options to whittle away the hours, too, fro RS Styling packs, Carbon or Black packs and different wheels to your green RS Q8 won’t, perish the thought, look like your neighbour’s green RS Q8.
There’s the configurable RS button on the steering wheel that adopts all my personal settings that I’d customise on ‘my’ RS Q8 (we don’t do that on press cars that we borrow), and even the fuel consumption isn’t too bad at 12.1l/100km. Let’s just go with the claim and not talk about real world use.
It’s powerful, it looks menacing it rides high (good for the taller among us), and it’s tech-filled and comfortable and eat highway kilometres like Pac Man. That’s why it’s the perfect V8 for me.
Deputy Editor, David Linklater: Land Rover Range Rover
There are plenty of great Land Rover and Land Rover Range Rover models, but the rapid expansion of the lineup over the last few years has overshadowed the flagship model of the brand: the “Range Rover”.
Okay, the confusing nomenclature doesn’t help either. But the big/proper/original Range Rover is still next-level compared to anything else in the lineup and pretty much any other SUV. A Land Rover Defender is the “it” model of 2020, a Ranger Rover Sport is, well, sporty.
But a Range Rover is simply awesome in every respect.
It’s one of the world’s best luxury cars. It’s one of the world’s most practical cars (assuming you don’t want to share your motoring life with any more than four other people, and why would you?). It’s also still one of the world’s best off-road vehicles. It’s staggering what this thing can do off-tarmac and way off-grid - and even more staggering that you’re sitting unflustered in extreme sumptuousness while it’s happening.
Best of all, there are plenty of Range Rover V8s to choose from. The turbo diesel versions have a 4.4l powerplant with 250kW/740Nm, while the V8 petrol is Jaguar Land Rover’s epic old-school supercharged engine: 386kW/625Nm in standard trim or 416kW/700Nm under the bonnet of the SVAutobiography Dynamic.
Sure, the Range Rover costs between $195,900 and $270,000. But it’s still very far from being the most expensive premium SUV out there, despite being arguably the most complete.
Digital Writer, Andrew Sluys: Ford Mustang
My choice of a manual V8 Mustang doesn’t just cover this V8-only category, but would be my choice if I had the option of any car under the $100,000 mark.
Despite the Mustang’s popularity here in New Zealand, there is still something special about seeing one on the road, and even more so when you get behind the wheel of one.
In my experience with the Mustang, I have only driven the automatic model with its 10-speed transmission. Like most automatic transmissions in modern times, it manages the power well, but sometimes trips over itself when chopping down through the gears. For this reason, I’d go with the manual, and because three pedals are always better, right?
As well as a burly 5.0-litre V8 engine beneath the bonnet that makes 339kW/556Nm, you get an active exhaust system and a six-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels. I’d like to think I wouldn’t end up as a meme due to that last fact, but traction control will be staying on as I leave the odd car meet.
On top of all this, the Mustang has massive aftermarket support with numerous options supported by Ford’s factory warranty. You’ve got brands such as RTR and Shelby who will drop a supercharger on that V8 engine without breaking the factory warranty, and with supporting mods you can pull upwards of 500kW out of it.
Then you’ve got the look of the Mustang, which bridges the gap between Ford’s modern and classic look perfectly. And with a few RTR parts slapped on, it’s one of the most aggressive-looking coupes on sale in New Zealand.
Finally, you’ve got the price point, which starts from $82,990. Or in other words, a lot cheaper than anything else on this list.