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How Much Horsepower Can A V8 Produce?

Very little is as satisfying as driving down the road in a powerful V8 car. The sound of the grumbling engine sends chills down any car enthusiast’s arm.

Many have successfully pushed as much power from these engines as possible. But how much power can a V8 have?

The average power of a 5.0-liter V8 engine is 385 horsepower, but this can be increased substantially by installing aftermarket components such as a turbo or supercharger. The most powerful car with a V8 engine is the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut, which has 1,240 horsepower and a top speed of 300mph.

Read on to discover what makes a V8 engine so powerful. Which V8-powered cars have the most horsepower, and what is the most powerful V8 engine in the world.

What Are The Most Powerful V8 Cars In The World

The V8 engine has been used in sports cars for many years, offering excellent power in a small package. These V8 engines come in many variants, such as naturally aspirated, turbocharged, twin-turbo, and supercharged.

Below is a list of cars with the most powerful V8 engines in the world.

How Powerful Is A Top Fuel Dragster V8 Engine?

When it comes to powerful engines, the top fuel dragster V8 takes home the gold. These dragsters use a massive 8.0-liter supercharged V8 engine to propel them down the strip in seconds. Nitro-methane is the fuel of choice for the speed machine as it offers unique properties to the engines.

The fuel is not as combustible as gasoline, so the engine must be specially tuned to run on it. The benefit of nitro is that it works as a natural coolant. So, there is no need for a coolant radiator on the top fuel dragster. 

Besides the fuel, top fuel dragsters use a massive Roots supercharger to suck in as much air as possible. These superchargers use up to 1,000 horsepower from the engine to generate up to 4.5 bar of boost pressure. This excessive amount of boost aids the massive V8 to produce between 10,000 to 12,000 hp.

The high horsepower of these top-fuel V8 engines cannot be measured on a dyno, so the power figures are mathematically calculated. So, it is safe to say that a top-fuel dragster engine is the most powerful V8 in the world.

The Top Fuel Dragster Specs

The figures below are from a 2021 top fuel dragster.

  • Displacement: 5.0 liter Hemi V8
  • V-Angle: 90°
  • Supercharger: 14-71 Roots type, rated to 3.5 – 4.5 bar
  • Valves: 16
  • Power: 8,000 to 10,000 hp
  • Torque: 440 – 600 lb-ft
  • Dry weight: 2350 lb.
  • Idle RPM: 2,400 rpm
  • Maximum RPM: 9,500 rpm
  • Top Speed: 335 mph+

What Makes A V8 Engine So Powerful?

The V8 engine has been around since the early 1900s. The first V8 engine was made in France in 1905 and produced a whopping 50 hp, quite an accomplishment at the time. The first American V8 engine came in 1914 from Cadillac. It was called the Type 51 and produced 70 hp.

The most significant breakthrough for the V8 came with the invention of the cross-plane crankshaft in 1923. The invention boosted power to 84 horsepower.

Over the next few decades, the V8 engine evolved into a mammoth beast, with the increase in displacement being the major factor.

So what is required to make a V8 more powerful? The contributing factors are displacement, the crankshaft type, and the valve train. An average 5.0-liter V8 engine produces 385 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque at 5,700 rpm.

This is enough power for almost any road-going vehicle to operate without drawbacks. If more power is required, there is always the tuning option.

What Can Boost A V8 Engine’s Horsepower?

When the naturally aspirated V8 needs more power, it can easily be upgraded. The V8 engine is ideal for tuning as the engine has a robust construction and is relatively easy to work on.

There are several different methods and stages that can be done to increase horsepower in a V8. These methods are:

Dyno The V8 Engine For More Horsepower

The first step to increasing the horsepower on a V8 will be to take it to a reputable tuning company. This is done without installing aftermarket components but by remapping the engine ECU.

The remapping is done on a dyno and will change the fuel flow, engine scavenging, engine timing, and rpm. This can improve horsepower by up to 30%, depending on the engine.

Installing Aftermarket Components To Increase Power On A V8 Engine

The next step in the power gains will be to install aftermarket parts. Larger injectors or carburetors, a cold air intake system, exhaust manifolds, a CAT-back exhaust system, camshafts, and valves will increase the engine’s power.

There are plenty of other aftermarket parts that will also assist in increasing power. Aftermarket parts can increase the power of a V8 by as much as 40%.

Installing Forced Air Induction System On A V8 To Boost Power

The V8 engine is naturally powerful, making it well-suited for a turbo kit or supercharger. When installing a turbo or supercharger, many other components will need to be changed to cope with the extra horsepower.

This will include pistons, fuel systems, camshafts, and exhaust components. A forced air induction kit will boost horsepower between 20 to 70%.

With the increase in power, other car components will need to be upgraded too. This will include the brakes, suspension, cooling system, and more. All this must be done to keep the vehicle controllable with all the added horsepower.


The average power of a 5.0-liter V8 engine is 385 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque at 5,700 rpm. This can be increased by tuning and installing aftermarket components on the engine.

The most powerful sports car with a V8 engine is in the Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut which produces 1,280 hp.