Insight

V8 Dreams

Jonathan Brown | 15 Mar 2021

About the author

Jonathan Brown

UK Car Editor

Originating from Farnham in Surrey, Jonathan was educated at the Guildford and Farnborough Tech Colleges before he acquired his expertise in manufacturer and dealer network liaison. Jonathan is one of many who has built a colourful and lengthy career with Glass’s having joined the company back in 1989.

Porsche 928 V8
  • The smooth power delivery of a V8 engine
  • The appeal of bargain prices
  • A throwback to a more carefree exciting time

The V8 engine is synonymous with power, speed and an unmistakable engine note.  Amazingly, considering only the purchase price, there is no need to break the bank to buy a V8 powered car. There are still examples currently available from just £1,000 in the used car market. Many of these cars have been ‘around the block’ a few times, so to get one under 150,000 miles and a sensible number of owners, around £3,000 is a realistic starting price.

The following are examples of used luxury V8 powered cars currently on the market. All were on offer on one of the UK’s market-leading online advertising platforms at the time of writing.   

  • Jaguar S Type 4.2 SE      – 2004, 75,000 miles      – £2,995
  • BMW X5 4.4 Sport          – 2005, 120,000 miles    – £2,950
  • Lexus LS430                      – 2002, 135,000 miles    – £3,250
  • Mercedes CL500             – 2002, 100,000 miles    – £3,495 
  • Audi A8, 4.2 Quattro      – 2003, 97,000 miles      – £3,500

If a more performance pedigree is on your wish list, then you will have to stretch the budget. Around the £12,000 mark will get you a 15-year-old BMW M5 or Mercedes E55 AMG, unless it has dubious service history or prior damage recorded. The comparable model from the rival Audi stable is the RS6, and that too will set you back upwards of £12,000. All three models deliver horsepower by the bucket load.

If that is out of budget, for half the price you can acquire an Audi S6. It may be slightly down on power compared to the RS6 but still benefits from the brilliant road-hugging Quattro system. It has the same 4.2 V8 engine, just minus the twin Turbo’s, so at least in the wet, it is more manageable for the average driver.

There is an argument that buying a V8 car with a performance pedigree is a shrewd investment, as in recent years they have tended to increase in value annually, although servicing and maintenance costs can easily use up most of this gain, however, this much fun will always come at a price.

Perhaps getting a little old now but a Porsche 928 with its awesome 5.0 V8 power unit has been on many collectors’ shopping lists, albeit prices start at £14,000 for something that does not need too much work. If it is value for money you are after but you still desire a Porsche badge, a Porsche Cayenne 4.5 V8 from around £4,000 should fit the bill. It is an incredibly powerful SUV for Citroen C1 money! It might not win the village beauty contest, but all that power will put a grin on anybody’s face.

Moving into perhaps the most capable of all-rounders – Audi’s R8. It is a car that is as happy going to the shops as it is on the race circuit, with stunning aesthetics that have not aged a bit in the almost 15 years since launch. Examples in the used car market start at around £30,000 for a thirteen-year-old model with 76,000 miles on the clock. Some would say not a lot of money for a V8 with Supercar appeal and impressive capabilities.  

For some, a V8 is more about a muscle car, and the Mustang from Ford would best sum that up. Available in right-hand drive form since 2016, the car has a 5.0 litre V8 with 450bhp and is produced as a convertible or a fixed head coupe.  A fixed head example from 2016 with 16,000 miles will set you back £27,000 in today’s market.

Yes, they are iconic and good value, whether you have £1,500 or £30,000, your options for a fantastic V8 are there. They might be a throwback to a more carefree, less environmentally friendly time, but for high-speed cruising or fast pace acceleration, they deliver excitement by the bucket load!

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