Best muscle cars

Exhaust-snorting, tyre-smoking and enormous fun: these are the best muscle cars

BuyaCar team
Jan 26, 2022

There is a general trend with brand new cars that engines are getting smaller, so as to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This might be something of a disappointment if you enjoy driving a car with a bigger engine. While many of these smaller engines are fitted with turbochargers that help to increase power output, muscle car enthusiasts will argue that a 1.5-litre turbo will never have the gumption of a meaty 5.0-litre V8.

But while the majority of new cars are as green and economical as ever, there are still a handful of modern muscle cars left that are unashamedly cavalier when it comes to fuel efficiency. In some cases, they might look like a standard family car from the outside, but the engine under the bonnet and the roar from their exhaust suggest otherwise.

While some cars have tiny engines made of three cylinders, less than a litre in volume, muscle cars tend to have big V8 motors (made up of eight cylinders) that can be more than six litres in size. The vast power from those engines often drives the rear wheels only, which makes it fairly easy to overwhelm the grip of the tyres and spin the wheels furiously.

That traditional and arguably wasteful formula might make them the dinosaurs of the car market, but the latest models add in new technology to boost performance and also ensure that they meet the latest emissions regulations - so you can still make use of these without having to pay unmanageable tax bills. Here are the best muscle cars you can buy.

Best muscle cars

1. Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 GT

Best muscle car power per pound

Used deals from £41,500
Monthly finance from £0*
Engine
 5.0-litre V8
Power 416hp
Acceleration 0-62mph 4.8 seconds

No list of muscle cars would be complete without the Mustang. All the traditional ingredients are here: a muscular and curvaceous shape covering a huge 5.0-litre V8 engine that’s normally aspirated - without a turbocharger or supercharger that boosts power but gives an artificial feel.

There’s even a feature called line lock, which engages the front brakes but leaves the rear wheels to spin furiously and evaporate your tyre tread in plumes of white smoke. Should you find yourself in a socially acceptable position to do so. In short, it’s the real thing, except … it’s not that powerful - for a modern muscle car.

Without a turbocharger, you really need to rev the Mustang for some real shove-in-the-back performance - you can’t feel its brute strength the instant that you press the accelerator.

FORD MUSTANG BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Mercedes AMG C63 S

Best muscle car for naughty noises

Used deals Limited stock
Engine
4.0-litre turbocharged V8
Power 510hp
Acceleration 0-62mph 3.9 seconds

AMG is the performance arm of Mercedes and in the C63 S it has produced the closest thing to a genuine muscle car. It’s all here: the four-door saloon, the V8 engine and the rear-wheel-drive layout.

There’s power too - loads of it, even when you just gently squeeze the accelerator. Accompanied by a deep burble like a mammoth clearing its throat, it’ll leave you grinning every time you pull away.

The car’s turbocharger makes the C63 S feel almost too polished and not mechanical enough for a muscle car, but it does mean that, for all the power, it’s surprisingly economical.

MERCEDES C-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Audi RS6

Best muscle car for all the family

Used deals from £97,995
Monthly finance from £0*
Engine
4.0-litre turbocharged V8
Power 605hp
Acceleration 0-62mph 3.7 seconds

The Mercedes C 63 S may be the next best thing to a traditional muscle car but the Audi RS6 Avant runs it close, while being much more practical. That might sound totally irrelevant, but even the most ardent car enthusiast needs to take their family on holiday or have a clear-out every now and then. At those points, having an estate car with 1680 litres of seats-down load space will come in very handy.

It won’t take long to get to your destination either. That’s partly because the RS6 is an unconventional muscle car, with four-wheel drive and a turbocharged V8 engine driving that estate car body.

The extra four-wheel-drive grip might make it more difficult to spin the wheels, but it has a dramatic effect on acceleration: it’ll go from 0-62mph in under four seconds.

AUDI A6 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Best muscle car for the environment

Used deals Limited stock
Engine
4.0-litre turbocharged V8 plus electric motor
Power 680hp
Acceleration 0-62mph 3.4 seconds

The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is every inch the modern muscle car. The hybrid system has an electric motor that boosts performance while reducing emissions, and which promises up to 30 miles of electric-only driving.

Turbocharging means it can make do with a, relatively speaking, small 4.0-litre V8 engine. It has four-wheel drive to help it get off to a clean start, and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that helps to ensure that maximum performance is never more than a gentle squeeze of the accelerator pedal away.

Not only is the Panamera the fastest car on this page to accelerate from 0-62mph, but you can also feel that punch of performance if you’re already driving along: it can accelerate from 50mph to 75mph in just 2.2 seconds, for instant overtaking speed.

PORSCHE PANAMERA BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Nissan 370Z

Best muscle car for Japanese reliability

Used deals Limited stock
Engine
3.7-litre V6
Power 328hp
Acceleration 0-62mph 5.3 seconds

The Nissan 370Z is Japan’s answer to the muscle car. It doesn’t feature a V8, but does have a 3.7-litre V6. It’s not the traditional muscle car layout, but this isn’t quite the traditional muscle car.

It’s a lot more controllable than a muscle car. The 370Z isn’t just about brute power, as it has sophisticated multi-link suspension, a viscous limited-slip differential, and a neat synchro rev control system that matches the revs when you change down a gear.

This all makes it easy to drive but the Nissan still feels heavy, as a muscle car should. The clutch is robust feeling, the steering is heavy, and the gearbox has a mechanical notch that makes it rewarding to use.

NISSAN 370Z BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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