Pros of V8 Engines

by Crystal Koutz
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The V8 engine is a common engine configuration for performance-oriented vehicles such as trucks, sports cars and large SUVs. Historically, the V8 engine gained popularity over older engine architectures because it was lighter and more compact for the amount of power it generated. It maintains popularity because of its excellent horsepower and torque characteristics.

The Architecture of the V8 Engine

The V8 engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the "V" configuration, wherein the pistons are aligned in the shape of a "V," typically at a 90-degree angle. The V8 engine gets its power from its 8 cylinders--4 cylinders in each bank of the "V" shape. One benefit of the V8 engine is its flexibility. It can be quite compact or very large, depending on the application. In a smaller iteration, it can be a good choice for a sports coupe like a Mustang or Camaro. In larger-displacement form, it can be optimized for maximum torque for workhorse applications in cargo-carrying pick-up trucks and for towing.

The "V"-Configuration Engine Runs Smoother

Another benefit of the V8 engine is its inherent ability to run smoothly. The "V" configuration of the engine allows the power strokes to occur closer together and minimizes vibration. V8 engines run smoother than many other engine configurations because the engine produces a power stroke every 90 degrees, whereas the 4-cylinder engine produces a power stroke every 180 degrees and the 6-cylinder engine produces a power stroke every 120 degrees. This smoothness puts less stress on the engine, which helps engine performance and driveability.

V8 Engines Are an Excellent Balance of Performance and Efficiency

One of the benefits of a V8 engine is its balance of power output and torque. Smaller engine configurations, such as the 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder, typically do not have the power output of an 8-cylinder engine. Larger engine configurations, such as the 12 cylinder, typically have a high power output but are very large in size, heavy in weight and thirsty. The V8 engine configuration offers a happy medium, allowing consumers to have a relatively small, light engine with a good balance of torque, horsepower and reasonable fuel economy.

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