Every Muscle Car Powered By A General Motors LS V8 Engine

General Motors' V8 LS engines have been a favorite of car enthusiasts for the past couple of decades. This small engine started in 1997 and continues from earlier first and second-generation Chevy small-block engines. The LS comes in different sizes, from about 4.8 to 8.4 liters, with cylinder diameters from 96 millimeters to 106.3 millimeters and strokes between 83.8 millimeters and 104.8 millimeters. Horsepower ranges from 255 to 755, and torque is anywhere from 285 pound-feet to 715 pound-feet.

What's cool about these engines is how commonly you'll find them. The LS has found its way into tons of different GM vehicles over the years. You'll even spot them swapped (commonly referred to as LS Engine Swaps) into performance rides instead of harder-to-find Chevy engines like the 454s or 427s.

The popularity of the LS has led to engine festivals each year held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, to celebrate all things LS and LT. Drivers compete in drag racing, drifting, autocross, burnouts, and more. There is also a huge car show where drivers come from far and wide to win in their class or take the overall "Grand Champion."

Here are some of the most impressive muscle cars that use an LS V8 engine.

1998-2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

The 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am was one sweet ride. Powered by a 5.7-liter V8 LS1 engine pumping out 305 horsepower, this American muscle could blast from 0 to 60 mph in just over five seconds while still managing up to 26 mpg on the highway. That's a pretty impressive performance for a car that weighed over 3,500 pounds. Beyond being a rocket, the Trans Am had a really aggressive, flashy look. Features like its dual-nostril hood and beefy new fenders with built-in air extractors gave it a seriously muscular appearance. The front end was also redesigned with upgrades like headlights, fog lamps, and tail lights to enhance its style even more. Handling saw big improvements, too, over earlier models. Tweaked shocks in '98 led to a smoother ride despite all that power under the hood.

The 2001-2002 models took things to the next level design-wise. Still running that 5.7-liter LS1 V8, these later years added cool stuff like an available six-speed manual transmission. Performance tech from the high-powered LS6, such as a billet steel camshaft, was now standard, pumping up the horsepower and low-end torque. Issues with cold knocking were eliminated by reducing crankshaft tolerances. Plus, a mass air flow sensor and bigger fuel injectors allowed for more modifications. The top-of-the-line 2002 WS6 turned it up a notch with 325 horses rocketing you to 60 mph in less than five seconds. With aftermarket parts, owners were able to squeeze over 500 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of twist from that reliable LS1.

1999-2006 Holden Statesman

The 5.7-liter LS1 V8 engine was found under the hood of Australian Holdens and HSVs from 1999 through 2006. Before 1999, it had a 5.0-liter mill, before it was bumped up to 5.7 liters starting that year. This LS1 was a totally new and modern design compared to the older six-cylinder, and it definitely packed a lot more punch. It came paired up with a four-speed automatic transmission as standard. Then, in 2006, it was replaced with the 6.0-liter L76 V8, dubbed the "Gen IV." The L76 was similar to the LS1 but with a bigger bore (101.6 millimeters compared to 99 millimeters) and a higher compression ratio (10.4:1) for more grunt.

The Statesman (Caprice) is known for its roomy interior and easy access to parts and maintenance work. Despite its size, it's as easy to drive day-to-day as any other Commodore. The trunk isn't massive, but it gets the job done around the same way a regular Commodore does. Practically, Holden stretched it out more for passenger comfort than cargo capacity.

[Featured image by FotoSleuth via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 2.0]

2006-2009 Chevrolet Impala SS

The 2006 Chevrolet Impala SS surprised car enthusiasts by tucking a seriously powerful and reliable V8 engine under the hood of this American muscle. In addition to more mild V6 options — 3.5 and 3.9-liter — GM planted its 5.3-liter small block V8 into the front-wheel-drive Impala for the first time. This LS4 V8 engine unleashed a healthy 303 horsepower and 323 pound-feet of torque in its stock form, making it quite a punchy option for such a mainstream rig. Power went to the front wheels through a heavy-duty four-speed automatic.

All that grunt needed to be controlled, so the SS also featured stiffer suspension and bigger stabilizer bars to keep things in line through corners. Another neat trick from GM was the LS4's cylinder deactivation tech, called Active Fuel Management. In highway cruising, when full power wasn't needed, it would shut down four cylinders to sip fuel.

The numbers backed up that this Chevy meant business. It sprinted 0-60 mph sprint at a brisk 5.6 seconds. Even better, despite the muscle, the Impala SS managed near-V6 fuel economy at 16/24 mpg city/highway, thanks to that nifty Active Fuel Management.

2006-2009 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS

The 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS was GM's first attempt to inject some performance personality into its big, rather boring mid-size SUV lineup. Under the hood was a rip-snorting LS2 6.0-liter V8 that packed a punch with its 390 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. All that grunt went to either the rear or all four wheels through a high-torque four-speed automatic transmission with a fun T-gear shift.

Visually, the SS really stood out from the crowd. The chromed lower grille of the front bumper, 20-inch polished alloy wheels, and tinted windows gave it an undeniably macho stance. Complementing the subtle factory drop in ride height, the stiffened suspension, including thicker anti-roll bars and wider tires, helped keep it stuck to the road whether attacking curves or just bombing down the highway. Bigger brakes with twin pistons each gripped the disc rotors up front to bring the extra speed in check.

Inside, this SUV packed a ton of nice features as standard. The entertainment system had an in-dash CD changer, DVD nav, a booming Bose sound system, and satellite radio. Passengers in the back were treated to their own DVD entertainment, too. The sport seats up front held you nicely during spirited driving, thanks to better side bolstering.

It wasn't perfect; Carfax says the Trailblazer's design was a bit dated, and the materials could be nicer. The ride gets harsh when the road surfaces aren't perfect, too.

2006-2013 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06

The 2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 was one seriously fast ride. Under the hood was a 7.0-liter (427 cubic inch) V8 nicknamed the LS7, churning out an impressive 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. This beastly engine was hand-built in Michigan and included some nice details like a cast aluminum block and head and a dry sump-type lubrication system found in racing cars. All that power went to the rear wheels through a rear-mounted transmission.

While it had the low-slung two-door style of a Corvette, the Z06 had real supercar performance for a reasonable price. It was easy to hop in and out of, and the 22-cubic-foot trunk had good storage. The view out the windows was great all around, and despite going like lightning, the ride was still smooth enough.

Style-wise, the Z06 looked absolutely mean and track-ready with its wide fenders, integrated splitter up front, and flared rear fenders. Until 2013, Chevrolet kept updating it with improvements, such as oil cooling, F55 magnetic suspension, bolstered seats, carbon brakes, and second-generation Michelin Cup tires.

2008-2009 Buick LaCrosse Super

The Buick LaCrosse Super had a personality all its own despite sharing its basic underpinnings with the Chevy Impala SS and Pontiac Grand Prix GXP. Powering this unique Buick was a 5.3-liter LS4 V8 engine pumping out a solid 303 horsepower and 323 pound-feet of torque. However, strange as it seems, Buick dialed back the engine sound a tiny bit, dropping it three horsepower to an even 300. The transmission was originally built for lighter Pontiac and Regal models, so its 280 lb-ft limit was a bit of a mismatch with the LS4's torque output.

Being one of the fastest modern production Buicks ever built, the LaCrosse Super could scoot a factory top speed of 150 mph and a 0-60 mph time in just 5.7 seconds. Still, you got the sense Buick didn't quite know what to do with such a powerful sedan. The computer management would limit the engine's revs to a tame 3,500 rpm in park gear.

In the cabin, silver accents and "Dreamweave" seats aimed to impress, even if the latter lacked bolstering for serious corners. Externally, the bulging grille, quad portholes, and extended rocker panels gave it some much-needed muscularity over the standard LaCrosse. On the back, a spoiler and dual exhaust tips completed the sportier look.

2009–2013 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The Corvette ZR1 is the high-performance cream of the Chevy Corvette crop. From 2009 to 2013, it was part of the sixth-generation C6 models. The 2009 ZR1 had an original sticker price of $103,300, and only about 1,415 of them rolled off the assembly line that year.

The legendary LS9 engine powers this beast; it is an absolute monster of a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 pumping out a massive 638 horses and 604 pound-feet of torque. This was the first time that Chevy unleashed this engine in a production car. The LS9 had a beefy Eaton TVS R2300 4-lobe supercharger coupled to intercoolers, alongside a port fuel injection and a 10.75-quart dry-sump lubrication system to handle all that power. Chevy matched it with a heavily beefed-up six-speed transmission called the TR-6060, with gear ratios even closer than what you'd find in the already insane Corvette Z06.

On top of its engine prowess, Chevy showed off its carbon fiber skills by using the lightweight material for the entire front end and roof section. They even applied a $60,000-per-gallon clear coat to the front splitter, side skirts, and roof panel to make the carbon fiber pop.

You knew the ZR1 meant business when, in 2011, it smashed the production car record at the infamous Nürburgring track in Germany. Driving one of these beasts around the 12.9-mile North Loop, the drivers finished in a blistering seven minutes and 19 seconds.

2009–2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS

The 2009-2015 Chevrolet Camaro SS came with one of two 6.2-liter engines, depending on whether it had a manual or automatic transmission. The manual transmission SS packed an LS3 V8, pushing out an impressive 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the automatic SS used an L99 V8 with the same power figures.

With the stick shift, this beast could hit 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. For fuel economy, the manual averaged around 16 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway for a combined 19 mpg. The automatic was a bit thirstier at 18 mpg combined.

Stylistically, the Camaro SS stayed true to its original concept, with its long hood and short rear end for that classic muscle car look. It offered two suspension setups, too — a sportier FE2 for the regular LS and LT models and an FE3 performance suspension for the SS that sat it even lower. Both suspensions, along with different wheels and tires, matched each model's performance abilities.

Stepping inside the SS, one would find a sporty microfiber-wrapped steering wheel and shifter borrowed from the top-dog ZL1. Externally, it stood out with a black vinyl hood and larger front and rear spoilers for an even more aggressive stance.

2013 Corvette 427 Convertible

The 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible, one of the best years Of the C6 Corvette, is powered by an absolute beast of an engine — the 7.0-liter LS7 V8. This mill pumps out 505 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, which was no small feat back then. With numbers like that, it's no surprise the 427 can hit 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds and max out at over 190 mph.

Power is on tap throughout the rpm range, too, so this convertible loves to stretch its legs on the open road. Some neat features that help the performance include a dry-sump oil pump pulled from the Z06 model (which required moving the battery to the trunk). It also has fancy magnetorheological dampers and Pilot Sport PS2 tires from Michelin. Overall weight is kept low at 3,355 pounds thanks to the liberal use of carbon fiber.

Now, it's not perfect — some reviews noted the noise was pretty loud when cruising at 100 km/hr around 1,500 rpm, and a few interior plastics felt kind of cheap. The touchscreen navigation system also got some criticism for being dated and not very user-friendly. But overall, it's easy to look past small quibbles when you've got a 7.0-liter LS7 engine and handling this sharp under the hood.

2012–2015 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 from 2012 to 2015 packs some serious power under the hood. Its supercharged 6.2-liter LSA V8 engine, also found in the Cadillac CTS-V, was tuned for quiet but mighty performance. It uses an advanced sixth-gen Eaton supercharger with high-twist rotors to crank out 556 horses and 551 pound-feet of torque, and depending on your style, you can choose to pair it with either a manual or automatic transmission.

The ZL1 rides like a dream with virtually no body roll, thanks to GM's awesome third-gen Magnetic Ride Control suspension. The dampers use metal particles in the fluid so the onboard computer can adjust the shock stiffness electronically for the smoothest ride. Even Ferrari used this tech—it's that good.

The ZL1's exterior was designed with function in mind. The unique hood and front end work to maximize cooling for the engine and brakes while also adding downforce at high speeds. Inside, you'll find a mix of vintage Camaro touches, like the square gauge layout, alongside some cool tech, like the 7-inch touchscreen running Chevrolet's MyLink system with apps. Other nice touches include suede accents on the steering wheel and shifter and a Bose sound system with nine speakers. All in all, the Camaro ZL1 packed a punch inside and out.

2007–2017 Vauxhall VXR8

The Vauxhall VXR8 was a beast of a performance car sold in the UK from 2007 to 2017. It came packing some serious power under the hood, too. The original model years had a 6.0-liter GM LS2 V8 producing over 411 horsepower. Later on, in 2009, they upgraded it to a 6.2-liter LS3 with over 425 horses. Performance enthusiasts really loved the 2013 GTS version —it came with a supercharged 6.2-liter LSA engine for 576 horsepower. The final 2017 GTS-R model turned it up even more with 587 horses and over 546 foot-pounds of torque. All that power went straight to the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential. Talk about quick — it could blast from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed was electronically capped at 155 mph.

While it had awesome power, the VXR8 wasn't exactly a small car. Tight parking garages and narrow streets could really test your skills. On the flip side, though, it was surprisingly practical. The backseat had plenty of legroom so adults could ride comfortably, and the trunk was huge. The one downside was the noise — the V8 engine was loud. You could hear it echoing around the cabin, even at highway speeds. Some wind and tire noise, too, which is expected with a muscle car, understandably. However, it sure was fun to unleash all that horsepower down the road.

2017 HSV GTSR W1

This beast of a car — the 2017 HSV GTSR W1 — packs a massive punch under the hood with its LS9 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine producing 635 horsepower and 601 pound-feet of torque. As a manual transmission-only model, it uses a close-ratio Tremec gearbox coupled to a twin-plate clutch system. HSV claims you can dash from 0 to 62 mph in a lightning-quick 4.2 seconds if you nail the launch perfectly.

But it's not just about raw power — the GTSR also handles incredibly well. It's got some serious suspension upgrades, ditching the Magnetic Ride Control for South Australian Supashock suspension  designed to handle track days like a V8 Supercar. The brakes and ultra-sticky PZero Trofeo R tires can take endless laps around the circuit without issues. Just be warned — those semi-slick tires are really only meant for dry conditions.

Only 300 units of this American muscle were made, so it is pretty rare. Even though HSV asked around $170k for it, some people have spent over $300,000 just to have one of these parked in their driveway. The downside is it packs quite the appetite—expect over 16 liters per 100 kilometers on the fuel. I's definitely not your average daily driver, but it's one heck of a special machine for performance lovers.

2015 Equus Bass 770

The Equus Bass 770 is one of those muscle cars from the past that you may have forgotten about. Introduced in 2014, it was a tribute to the high-powered American machines from the 1960s and '70s. Building each car took extreme care and craftsmanship, with at least 5,000 man-hours needed to finish one.

Under the hood lies a beast of an engine — a supercharged 6.2-liter LS9 V8 capable of unleashing 640 horsepower and 605 pound-feet of torque. All that power gets sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission in a unique rear-mounted dual-clutch setup. It should come as no surprise, then, that this car can blast from zero to 60 mph in a lightning-quick 3.4 seconds, and has been known to reach speeds over 200 mph.

Handling is kept in check with a sophisticated magnetic suspension, adjustable shocks, and variable steering for different speeds. The longer wheelbase and wider tracks give excellent stability even at extremities. Inside mixes modern touches like a touchscreen audio and navigation system alongside authentic vintage switches and controls. Convenience features and expected safety gear complete the experience.