What Are the Most Powerful Italian V8 Engines?

The V8 engine is one of the most popular engines among performance vehicles, and Italian V8s power some of the fastest vehicles on the planet. A certain amount of prestige comes from owning an Italian sports car, and for good reason.

Most car enthusiasts grew up with pictures of Ferrari and Lamborghini models adorning their bedroom walls. The exotic looks and designs of those cars made them more attractive, perhaps, than the American counterparts made by Ford, Dodge, and Chrysler. More than that, Ferrari has won eight titles at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Let’s look at the top five most powerful Italian V8 engines and the models they’re featured in.

1. The Ferrari 3.9L F154 Twin-Turbo V8

A Ferrari 488 Pista with an Italian V8 engine seen at the Essendon Country Clubs Supercar show in Hatfield, U.K.
Ferrari 488 Pista | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

Hot Cars mentions that this engine won the ‘Engine of the Year’ award four years in a row. It lives in the Ferrari F8 Tributo, previously known as the 488 Pista. The Tributo, considered to be the greatest sports car in the world, featured the 3.9L F154 twin-turbo, which cranked out 710 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 3 seconds. 

2. The Ferrari 4.5L F136 V8

The F136 V8 engine, also known as a Ferrari-Maserati engine, powered the Ferrari 458 Speciale and also found its way into an Alfa Romeo 8C during its lifetime. It was dubbed the most powerful naturally-aspirated engine ever mass-produced. Most notably used in the Ferrari 458 Speciale and the Ferrari Aperta, it is capable of up to 597 horsepower at 9000 rpm and a top speed of 203 mph.

3. The Ferrari 4.0L F154CD twin-Turbo V8

The Ferrari SF90 Stradale, one of Ferrari’s most recent offerings, features the 4.0-liter F154 CD variant of Ferrari’s twin-turbo V8 engine. With the help of two electric motors, this hybrid delivers 986 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. 

A unique feature of this engine is its use of the Wall Effect Strategy. Rather than gradually limiting the revs as they approach the limit, it cuts off at the 8,000 rpm red-line. This maximizes the amount of power available in power-on dynamic driving situations, which results in improved lap times.

4. The Lamborghini 4.0L FSI twin-turbo V8

Although Lamborghini’s signature engine is the V12 engine, its 4.0L FSI twin-turbo V8 is no slouch when it comes to power. Found in the Lamborghini Urus, this engine produces 641 horsepower and can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. The Urus is also the only Lamborghini to use a V8 engine in the 21st century.

5. The Ferrari 2.9L F106 V8 

The F106 V8 was used in the Ferrari F40, one of the most iconic sports cars of all time. The engine was introduced in 1973 when it was first featured in the Dino 308 GT4. It continued to be used as the foundation for every mid-engine Ferrari produced, with significant updates and revisions along the way, including electronic fuel injection and multi-valve heads. 

In twin-turbocharged form, the engine was used in the 308, F355, and even the F40. In its basic form, the F106 V8 engine produced 400 horsepower. However, when fitted with twin turbos, it produced 477 hp.

Italian sports cars are synonymous with performance and endurance. The sleek lines and silhouettes have always been the hallmark of Italian sports car design. Beyond the artful exterior designs, many of these exotic Italian dream machines have been powered by the Italian V8, and it is the engines that have turned these cars into legends.

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