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Are V8s Going Away?

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April 7, 2021—The idea started really turning heads around four years ago. It used to be a foregone conclusion that a full-sized American pickup truck would have a V8 engine as the standard option.

Not so much in 2018, when General Motors announced a four-cylinder option for the Silverado, which CNBC called a "highly unusual move" at the time. Meanwhile, Ford was shrinking its EcoBoost engine displacement for the F-150. 

It was all in the name of greater fuel efficiency, mostly to meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. But the companies also wanted to maintain classic pickup performance, torque and all. Ford surprised some when the second-generation Raptor pickup launched with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. With twin turbos attached, it matched the older V8 rating of 450hp.

From pickups on down, engines have shrunk in the name of efficiency. That includes performance models as well. Recently, the maker of the Hellcat V8 told CNBC that even a strong nameplate like that can't stick around forever.

“The days of an iron block supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 are numbered,” Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis told CNBC. “They’re absolutely numbered because of all the compliance costs. But the performance that those vehicles generate is not numbered.”

That got Jalopnik asking the same question: Who will make the last V8?

Despite the news about the Hellcat line, Dodge is a good bet for the last producer of eight-cylinder engines. The Mustang and Corvette still have V8s, the latter having moved to the middle of the vehicle.

A number of Lexus models still carry V8s as well. This 2018 roundup has a list of them, and many have continued that legacy for 2021.

Of course, electrification will accelerate the demise of the large-displacement engine. OEMs have made big commitments for certain percentages of their factory drivetrains to go all-electric. It's counter to many consumers' wishes, though. Pickups are as popular as ever. As this ABC News story says, V8s might even become more desirable as they disappear. 

That same story noted that V8s accounted for 15.3 percent of U.S. vehicle registrations in 2020. That's up about a percent from 2019. Many are expensive sports cars.

What do you think will be the last production V8 model?
 

Image: Ford

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