Ford Mustang GT: V8s are great!

If you can drive a manual, V8 Ford Mustang and not attempt to pretend you're in a US car chase the whole time, then you have far greater self-control than us. Every junction becomes a little squirt out of first gear, roundabouts see you squidge deeply into the big seats and every gearshift must be done with the most macho face possible.

Meek noise aside, the Mustang's 5.0-litre 'Coyote' V8 is more than happy to live up to those fantasies. Wind it up and it's quick enough, with an appetite for revs you might not level with an American lump. In fact you might be surprised to find it not all that strong at low to middling revs; perhaps Mustangs are approached with unreasonable expectations.

Still, all the more reason to grab a gear, bury that right foot and chase some revs. As in the Aston the manual really helps the sense of connection, letting you choose when to rumble around in fourth and when to wring out second gear. A burly shift also fits the Mustang character perfectly.

And it's less than £40K! It's by the far the cheapest car in this group and the most affordable way into V8 motoring at the moment. For cheap V8 thrills (yes, including Line Lock) the Mustang deserves considerable credit - that it offers more than just a big engine makes it all the more likeable.

: 4,951cc, V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 416@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 391@4,250rpm 
0-62mph: 4.8sec
Top speed: 155mph
Weight: 1,720kg
MPG: 20.9 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 299g/km
Price: £38,095

Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Maserati MC Stradale
Lexus RC F
Ford Mustang GT
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT