It’s a little premature to get nostalgic for V-8 engines, but like it or not, the sun is setting on V-8s, and gasoline engines in general.
Automakers are already shifting their development dollars into switching to electric vehicles, within a surprisingly short time frame — even venerable, wood-and-leather brands like Jaguar and Land Rover.
Jaguar has already announced its intention to go all-electric by 2025. Land Rover says it expects to launch its first all-electric vehicle in 2024, with more to come.
With the agenda so fixed on electric vehicles, the question becomes, “Are customers still interested in V-8s?” said Simon Turner, Land Rover product manager for Jaguar Land Rover North America, in a recent presentation at company headquarters in Mahwah, NJ
“You bet,” he said. “They are.”
V-8s remain a key part of the business for both brands. Jaguar offers V-8s on the Jaguar F-Type sports car and the Jaguar F-Pace SVR crossover. Land Rover currently offers V-8s on the Land Rover Range Rover, the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and the Land Rover Defender.
The Land Rover Defender featured V-8 engines from 1992 to 1997, when it was dropped from the US lineup. That engine was a 3.9-liter V-8 that produced 182 horsepower and 233 foot-pounds of torque, the twisting force that launches a vehicle from a standing start.
A new-generation Land Rover Defender returned to the US market in 2020, and in 2021 it got a greatly upgraded V-8. The new engine is a 5.0-liter, supercharged V-8 that produces 518 hp and 461 ft.-lbs. of torque.
The 2022 Land Rover Defender 90 goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds, only half a second slower than the Jaguar F-Type sports car. The longer, heavier Land Rover Defender 110 takes 5.1 seconds, which still isn’t bad.
The Jaguar F-Type sports car was launched in 2013. Starting with the 2022 model year, it gets an all-V-8 lineup, to “align with consumer expectations in North America,” according to Rob Filipovic, Jaguar product manager for Jaguar Land Rover North America.
In most versions, its 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 produces 444 hp and 428 ft.-lbs. of torque; the high-performance “R” version gets 575 hp and 516 ft.-lbs. of torque. The “R” version has a 0-to-60 mph time of just 3.5 seconds.
Sure, electric vehicles have amazing acceleration and loads of torque, but they just don’t sound the same. “Customers remain passionate about V-8s,” Jaguar Land Rover says.