Porsche launched its first V-8 45 years ago, and since it’s Valentine’s Day, the automaker decided to celebrate with a love letter.
The original Porsche V-8 debuted at the 1977 Geneva motor show in the 928, Porsche’s first attempt at a more luxurious, upmarket model. The 90-degree engine displaced 4.5 liters and developed about 220 hp in its original U.S.-market form.
The front-engine 928 was intended as a replacement for the rear-engine 911, but that didn’t happen. When production ended in 1995, Porsche’s V-8 also went on hiatus. The automaker wouldn’t build another V-8 road car until its launched the Cayenne in 2003.
Porsche 928 GTS
In 2006, Porsche launched the RS Spyder race car for the American Le Mans Series. Using a 3.4-liter 90-degree V-8, the RS Spyder competed in the second-tier LMP2 class, but it was sometimes able to steal overall victories from the top LMP1 cars. The RS Spyder was withdrawn after the 2008 season, but Porsche later launched the 918 Spyder road car, with a V-8 plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Today, Porsche still offers V-8s in the Cayenne and Panamera. The latest Cayenne Turbo GT packs a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 making 631 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque, and set a Nürburgring lap record for SUVs, with a time of 7:38.93 minutes.
Porsche also uses a V-8 as part of a hybrid powertrain for its new prototype race car. Developed for the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) class, it will be eligible for the top classes of both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and IMSA SportsCar Championship, the respective Hypercar and GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) classes. Currently testing, the Porsche LMDh prototype will make its racing debut at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona, and is also expected to contest Le Mans.