Will This Be the Last Decade of V8 Sedans?

Will This Be the Last Decade of V8 Sedans?

03/23/2021

It wasn’t that long ago when we had a wide choice of domestic and foreign V8 sedans. For German and Japanese marques, this often meant range-topping executive sedans, while an example from Detroit could include a budget interior and a price tag under $50,000. And for a short while in the mid-2000s, as the German horsepower wars heated up, the V10 showed signs of becoming the new V8, in sedans like the BMW M5 and Audi RS6. Finding a V8 under the hood of a sedan later this decade could prove a tall order—and a much more expensive proposition than it used to be.

Some industry analysts feel we’re effectively living in the last decade of the V8 sedan, whether in an easily or not-so-easily accessible model, and whether from Germany, Japan, South Korea, or the US.

The past year has seen a stampede of automakers announcing plans to shift to an electric lineup at some point in the near future. Some have set concrete target dates for this event, while others have preferred to leave themselves some room to maneuver. BMW was among the more recent automakers to lay out its plans for an electric future, but hedged its plans by estimating that 50% of its vehicles will still feature internal combustion engines in 10 years’ time.

VW and Audi have suggested in recent days that they will update their existing gas engines in the near future, but won’t develop new ones. Others like Mercedes-Benz are keeping both for now, rolling out EV versions of their gas- and diesel-engined models, with electric versions of the S-Class, E-Class, and others due in the next three years.

Even before such grand pronouncements of impending electrification was the order of the day, V8s have been exiting large SUVs and sedans in favor of more efficient V6 engines, while some automakers like Volvo ditched everything above a four-cylinder entirely. V8s remain in an elite club of sedans at the moment, including the usual suspects like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the BMW 7-Series. The Lexus LS 500, lest we forget, is already down to six cylinders; you’d have to opt for something performance-oriented from the brand, namely the GS-F sedan with its 5.0-liter V8, to get eight cylinders in a Lexus sedan. Whether Toyota and Lexus V8 sedans will survive until the end of the decade is a different question altogether. One consolation is that the BMW M5 still sports a 4.4-liter V8 underhood; whether it still will in five years or 10 years is unknown.

When it comes to V8-engined domestic sedans, the club has been a small one for some time—and some of the cars in it aren’t exactly fresh. We still have the Dodge Charger with its 6.2-liter Hemi option and the Chrysler 300 with its 5.7-liter V8, while Cadillac has engineered a minor miracle with its supercharged 6.2-liter Blackwing V8 in the CT4-V and the CT5-V. But Cadillac is heading into EVs soon along with the rest of the GM, so just how long we’ll enjoy its latest V8 is a question. We can certainly see Cadillac offering a V8 in a sedan in the year 2025—but perhaps not in the year 2030.

Will this be the last decade we’ll see V8 sedans on the market, or will these engines live on past the year 2030 in vehicles consumers can afford? Let us know in the comments below.

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