Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2024 Lexus IS is shown driving under an overpass after visiting a Lexus IS for sale.

Where Have All the Muscle Cars Gone?

Once upon a time, cars were the heart and soul of the auto industry. Trucks were for farmers and getting work done, and models that would today be called SUVs were a rarity, so most people drove cars. In that misty age, so long ago, standard four-door sedans were quite popular. However, for drivers looking for something more exhilarating, muscle cars and sports cars of different types and styles were the only way to go. These weren’t strictly niche options either; there was a time when pony cars and muscle cars were some of the most popular models for drivers looking to enjoy their time behind the wheel.

These days, the number of muscle cars still on the market has dwindled significantly and continues to do so year after year. What’s become quite surprising is that luxury models have stepped up and remained a consistent option for anyone interested in superior power while going for a drive. Someone interested in a Lexus IS for sale might be in it primarily for the gorgeous interior and impressive tech features, or they want a throaty, fiery engine ready to push them back in their seat every time they hit the gas. Let’s take a look at some of the few holdouts when it comes to muscle cars these days and the kinds of power they can still deliver for us.

The Lexus IS-500 F-Sport

There are several different Lexus IS models available, but if we really want to see what it can do, then we need to check out the two IS 500 F Sport models. While a V6 engine is standard on most IS trims, the IS 500 F Sport models come with a 5.0L V8 engine that delivers 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, creating an absolute monster that lives to tear up the road. Both models feature rear-wheel drive (RWD) and an eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters. With Yamaha rear performance dampers on the suspension, the Lexus IS offers an incredibly comfortable ride to go along with all of that power. Drivers can be draped in luxury while going from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. This is a beautiful piece of machinery and the perfect example of how luxurious muscle cars have become.

A white 2024 Lexus IS is shown parked near a person in a yellow jacket.

The BMW M4

Just like with Lexus, most people think of “luxury” when they think of BMW rather than “muscle car,” but the reality is that there are modern BMW models that fit that description. The M Performance vehicles, in general, are all designed to deliver incredible power and performance every time a driver hits the road in them— I’ve picked the M4 Coupe as my favorite example of that. There are several M4 models available, but the M4 Competition xDrive Coupe with four-wheel drive (4WD) is the cream of the crop, with a 3.0L BMW M TwinPower Turbo I-6 engine that delivers 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. This thing’s a beast with an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission that delivers a smooth ride, able to go from 0 to 60 mph in only 3.4 seconds. For raw power and speed, it doesn’t get much better than that.

The Mercedes-AMG C43

Alongside BMW, Mercedes-Benz is a leading name in German luxury and performance vehicles— the modern C-Class sedan is an excellent example. Suppose we want to see something that can keep up with the other models we’ve looked at, however. In that case, we want to go with the powerful and performance-focused AMG C-Class sedan model. This monster is powered by a stunning AMG 2.0L I-4 turbo engine with hybrid assist that delivers 402 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers are lower than what we see from BMW, but it can still go from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds, making the AMG C-Class a terrific option for anyone truly passionate about having a great driving experience each and every day.

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Not to be left behind by German engineering, the Italians have thrown their hat into the modern muscle car ring with the gorgeous all-new 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia. While most Alfa Romeo models don’t have the raw power of some of the other cars we’ve looked at, they make up for it with quick acceleration and nimble handling, so they’re an absolute joy to drive. Replacing the Giulia’s standard 2.0L I-4 engine, which clocks in at 280 hp and 306 lb-ft of torque, the incredible Giulia Quadrifoglio proves itself with a 2.9L Twin Turbo V6 engine that delivers 505 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, with RWD and an eight-speed automatic transmission. This powerhouse can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, with a track top speed of 191 mph, proving that Italian engineering is ready to keep up.

A red 2024 Alfa Romeo Giulia is shown parked near a wall.

The Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing

Proving that luxury cars coming in from overseas shouldn’t have all the fun, the Cadillac CT5-V is the perfect example of the “luxurious muscle” approach to automotive design in a domestic brand. From the outside, this might appear like any other Cadillac luxury sedan. Once we look under the hood, however, it’s clear that Cadillac has created something special here. The top-tier CT5-V Blackwing model features an incredible 6.2L Supercharged V8 engine that delivers 668 hp and 659 lb-ft of torque, paired with a six-speed manual transmission (a 10-speed automatic is available). This incredible muscle car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed at the track of over 200 mph. It’s a work of art inside and out and one of the fastest vehicles on the road.

The Dodge Charger

Once arguably the king of the muscle car market, Dodge has fallen behind these days for several reasons. For one, we can see how luxury brands have fully embraced impeccable power and performance as new competition in the muscle car market. For another, Dodge is retiring both of their current muscle cars. The last call for the Charger remains a powerful and impressive piece of machinery, however, especially if you check out one of the exclusive, high-end models. The Dodge Charger SRT Redeye Jailbreak (yeah, that’s a mouthful) features a rumbling 6.2L HEMI High-Output SRT V8 engine that roars to life with 807 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque—you read that right. Dodge might be in a transformative period right now as it figures out how to move forward with an increasingly electric market, but come what may, the legendary Charger retires as a muscle car beyond just about any other.

Luxurious Muscle Is Still Muscle

To be completely fair, we didn’t look at every possible muscle car on the market right now—other options like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang are continuing the tradition of American automotive excellence that goes back many decades. From what we looked at today, it’s easy to see that luxury car manufacturers are stepping up to deliver vehicles that look stunning, feel amazing to drive and surround us with elegance while putting a demon of an engine under our control. I love that we don’t have to choose between luxury or comfort and power or acceleration; it’s all in one package now. There’s something to be said for having it all, for eating our cake and having it too! It’ll be interesting to see what Dodge, a company synonymous with muscle cars, does in the next couple of years and what an all-electric muscle car from a legendary American brand will look like.

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