Lancia Thema 8.32 With Ferrari V8 Was The Most Unlikely Of Performance Saloons

If you thought that the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is the first “sensible” car to feature a Ferrari engine, you were wrong; this honor belongs to the Lancia Thema 8.32.

Lancia’s four-door sedan from the ‘80s features the same 3.0-liter V8 engine with the Ferrari 308 and Mondial QV – hence 8.32 suffix, which stands for the 8 cylinders and 32 valves.

Due to it being front-engined, though, the V8 was mounted under the bonnet and drove the front wheels, while Ferrari’s flat-plane crankshaft was replaced by a regular crank in order to increase torque and better suit the character of the model.

Non-catalytic models of the Series 1 produced 212hp (215PS), while the Series 2 catalytic models offered 202hp (205PS). Of the two, the Series 1 was slightly faster, offering a 0-62mph (100km/h) in 6.8 seconds and a top speed of 149mph (240km/h).

These cars are really rare, with less than 4,000 examples sold between 1986 and 1992. You can blame the really expensive price tag back in the day, as the 8.32 was over 2 times more expensive than the standard 2.0-liter turbo version of the Thema.

But the most surprising thing about the Thema 8.32 is the way it sounds; instead of a high-pitched, Ferrari-like exhaust note, this Lancia growls like a muscle car, only one that really likes to rev up to 7,500rpm.

Harry Metcalfe shows us around this four-door unicorn, which he found is also a very entertaining performance saloon to drive.


  • pxsupply

    This car is a beast. Had a 2.0 Thema back in the day and loved that car.

  • biturboism

    LOL @ FWD w/ a boat anker 200hp V8. Hardly worth the handling and weight penalty for the nice sound… I’m sure it’s a nice and classy cruiser, but it physically can’t be dynamic.

    • Matteo Tommasi

      Faster than a contemporary M5 on track

      • Mark Hawthorne

        Never never never. Have you driven one Matteo? There is absolutely no chance this is true.

  • Mark Hawthorne

    I’ve had a few Lancia’s – FulviaHF, Gamma coupe, Integrale and so wanted an 8.32 when you could pick one up for £5,000. Drive a really nice one. Great interior and understated presence but oh so bad to drive. The power (less than you’d think) was totally unusable and the handling was horrible. One for the never drive your heroes list.

  • Marty

    Saab could make a working performance car on the same underpinnings (9000 Aero). But they of course had Saab engineers that could fix what the Italian engineers had messed up 🙂

    • KAG25

      Imagine a Saab 9000 Viggen with that motor that was factory and AWD.

  • I really love Thema 8.32, I mean look at the spoilers! Also I think I’ve saying this before but it was popular among Swiss Banker, apparently good discreet car to outrun some sketchy people….

  • KAG25

    One really crazy car from the 80’s and front wheel drive.
    That rear spoiler coming out of the top trunk is pretty fun.

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