10 Foreign Cars With Muscle-Car DNA
We debunk the myth that muscle cars are purely American.
No other genre of automobile incites more passion or fanaticism among car aficionados than the muscle car. Even today, 40 years since the muscle car's heyday, what is and what is not a muscle car remains hotly debated. But one thing is universally agreed upon: At the core of every muscle car is a big, powerful engine. With this in mind, we decided to have some fun with the definition of muscle car, asking ourselves: What foreign automobiles would meet that defining standard — i.e., a car with a big, powerful engine?
While Americans would like to think that the muscle car has never really had a foreign equivalent, the world's best automakers have been producing cars with an emphasis on power for decades. The differentiating factor is that cars "over there" typically perform at their best in more than just a straight line. As we all know, American cars are best on the straightaway, not in the twisties. Regardless, here are our picks for the best non-American muscle on the streets today.
Not that any of the standard 911 models are considered pokey, but the folks at Porsche apparently thought otherwise when creating the GT2, the most extreme 911 available for public consumption. Holding the power crown for Porsche, the GT2's turbocharged 3.6-liter flat-6 engine develops 523 horsepower, or a stupefying 612 horsepower in its 2011 RS guise. The GT2 isn't just about power, though. It has massive skills around a track, providing its driver has the guts to make the most of them. Given its lack of the popular all-wheel-drive system found in many of the 911's other variants, the rear-engine GT2 is not a car for the faint of heart.
How does six liters of V12 grunt sound? Pretty good, right? Now add two turbochargers. The result: 620 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, a perfectly reasonable amount for cruising town quietly in the lap of luxury. Wait, no it's not. It's actually an insane amount of power for a posh tourer. You could argue the horsepower is to compensate for a 5,000-pound curb weight, except that doesn't explain the 3.7-second warp to 60 mph, or the 204-mph top speed. Again, this isn't a race-bred supercar — that power is there just because. As far as we're concerned, that's a trait worthy of the muscle-car moniker.
In many ways, Audi tipped its hat to the muscle cars of yore with the RS 4, considering that the German automaker shoehorned a powerful V8 engine into an otherwise mild sedan. The snarling 414-horsepower engine even sounds the part, with a throaty roar that never fails to bring a surprised smile from behind the wheel. However, that's where the similarities to muscle cars end, thanks to the RS 4's exceptional all-wheel-drive handling abilities and Audi's famously solid build quality and Bauhaus design. Also, the naturally aspirated 4.2-liter engine achieves an output just shy of 100 horsepower per liter, something that most American muscle cars can only dream about.
Although some enthusiasts are dismayed that BMW's M cars are evolving away from high-revving, naturally aspirated engines toward beefy, turbocharged mills and dual-clutch transmissions, the change was bound to happen sooner or later, thanks to modern emissions and efficiency standards. The 2012 M5 supersedan is the latest example, with its gutsy, turbocharged V8 producing gobs of constant power, as opposed to the shrieking V10 of the previous generation, which, although thrilling, required a good deal of "winding up" to fully enjoy. This change provides a staggering 560 horsepower and a hugely increased 502 lb-ft of torque. The way power erupts from this engine is reminiscent of good old American big blocks.
The all-wheel-drive, 291-horsepower Lancer Evolution X earns a spot here not just because of its "big speed in a regular car" formula, but also due to its decades-long battle with its rally-racing archrival, the Subaru STI. This feud is essentially a Japanese analogue to the never-ending Ford Mustang versus Chevy Camaro muscle-car debate that rages in the United States. While faster Japanese sports cars are available — the Nissan GT-R, for instance — it's the way that the demure Lancer was transformed into an unflappable, unstoppable performance machine that earned the Evo a spot on this honorary list of foreign muscle cars.
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Whoever came up with this list is a weirdo.. i understand that this is comparing it to modern foreign muscle cars but i have to disagree with 3 of what on that list. Muscle Cars Are about the appearance and insane amount of power.. Cars with 4Wd are not considered a muscle car... PERIOD!
However because this is list is from foreign countries every other car maker apart from Americans knows how to take 4WD and make it their own, so it can be considered. (SUV's are not Muscle. so do not say Jeep!)...
NOW About the appearance, Muscle Cars generally look butch. Now The GT2 and Evo X and the subaru WRX STi DO NOT LOOK BUTCH! PERIOD! So how did they make it into muscle territory, they are tuners.
I have to disagree with SickChicken with the Bentley. I think it should be in there because of how insanely stupid it is to but a massive amount of power into what is pretty much a cathedral.
That is what muscle cars are about, turning the ok to something stupid. "That’s FUN!"
And on top of that foreign cars list Where is the Holden Commodore. The Americans call it the Pontiac G8. The Holden HSV Clubsport R8 (British Call it The Vauxhall XVR8) and the Holden HSV GTS. They both got butch looks and crazy amounts of power and their Australian and no the Pontiac G8 is not American
It is built in Australia at their Holden plant and re-badge as a Pontiac in America so that makes it foreign! There is nothing American about it apart from The Name and maybe the engine which I admit comes from the corvette. lol
My muscle car of choice was my 70 Buick GS455 with real Ram Air induction. Over 400HP from the factory with 510 foot lbs of torque under 3000 RPM. Turbo 400 trans with 7 to 1 torque multiplication in first gear with a 2.93 rear cogs. No pollution controls, raw straight line 4 barrel power drinking only Sunoco 260 high octane gas - it was a rocket ship. But it had lousy brakes, mediocre handling, and rode like a rock. Creature comforts – few. Rattles, noises, water leaks and body rust - many.
Now much older, but not necessarily much wiser or green thinking, I want my final muscle rocket ship to have all the creature comforts and most of the foreign muscle here would fill the bill. But the Caddy CTS-V would be my first choice.
I start to wonder if MSN is owned by some foreign car company when I see these ridiculous comparisons, no japanase, chinese, dirty knees car will ever compare to a Mustang, Camaro, Charger etc.. because American Muscle cars were built in the 60's and 70's no other manufacturer was putting big block V-8's into their auto's at that time, and in addition how are you going to compare a jaguar to a vette? just stop, the only people that think a foreign car is even on par with an aluminum big block 427, are those that have no idea what they are talking about when they use the word "Muscle car" kiddies go home the days of the true Muscle car have been over ever since the EPA stepped in, if America had been allowed to continue their true Muscle car heritage, no foreign manufacturer would have even come close, there will never be any substitution for displacement, no argum,ent to be had.
These articles are just a small part of what has ruined this country, people who argue that a foreign manufacturer has somehow created a machine that has ever beat an American machine the whole concept is completely absurd, our own government made it so Americans could never compete in the world marketplace where it comes to pure power, think i am wrong?
do some homework and learn a few things if you still think a Mitsubishi Lancer is a Better ride that a 69 camaro, then your thoughts on the word "Muscle Car" are seriously flawed.
Msn puts these articles out there so people can feel better about dropping 25k on a car that cannot compare to one that used to cost 5000.
Put that in your kiddie pot and smoke it, I swear we are handing this country to every overseas entity that is willing to build their substandard shitboxes here and send the profits back to their own countries, get a clue.
Don't compare apples and oranges...it dilutes the message!