9 great engine notes

9 great engine notes

These automotive sopranos from the last decade make us glad tunnels exist.

1. FERRARI F12TDF

Flying the Ferrari V12 flag is perhaps the loudest, most brash of them all: the 574kW, 13.5:1 compression-ratio, 6.3-litre F12tdf. That’s a lot of engine moving at 8900rpm (redline), and the sound is suitably rich, melodic and utterly heroic.

2. LEXUS LFA

The best-sounding car here? Yamaha called in its music department to fine-tune the noise from the LFA’s 4.8-litre, 412kW V10. At 9000rpm there’s a beautifully crisp, high-pitched banshee note, making modern V6 F1 cars sound like leaf blowers.

3. AUDI R8 V10 PLUS

Perhaps the most musical of our nine-strong choir. An unusual firing order for the 5.2-litre V10 Plus generates a recognisable, rhythmic, medium-pitched warble. One that will have you regularly chasing the 8700rpm redline with windows down.

4. PORSCHE 911 GT3 RS

GT3’s capacity jumped from 3.8 to 4.0 litres, but the RS’s redline dropped 200rpm to 8800. However, power went up to 368kW, and its flat-six bark became more distinctive: a throaty idle revving to what could be a Carrera Cup car.

5. PAGANI ZONDA CINQUE

Its AMG 6.0-litre V12 is high-pitched in a way you mightn’t expect from an engine with a 7000rpm redline. But the Cinque’s wailing, 506kW donk sounds haunting – as if possessed by the ghost (or at least the noise) of a mid-’90s Ferrari V12 F1 car.

6. JAGUAR F-TYPE COUPE R

Sinister and anti-socially loud, the F-Type Coupe R’s is perhaps the laugh-out-loud naughtiest exhaust note on this list. With 404kW and 680Nm exiting via quad pipes, so many V8s could do worse than imitate the burble of this blown 5.0-litre beast.

7. AUDI RS4

With forged crank, rods and pistons, the discontinued RS4’s 4.2-litre V8 meant business, making 331kW/440Nm. Its note is what you’d imagine if Honda built a VTEC V8: induction snarl, lots of revs and a tacho topping out in an 8250rpm crescendo.

8. MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG BLACK

It revved to 8000rpm, but the SLS Black Series sounded more high-tech NASCAR than high-pitched, with a serious, guttural V8 thrum from its all-titanium exhaust. Its 6.2-litre V8 made 464kW and 635Nm without a turbo or blower in sight.

9. LAMBORGHINI AVENTADOR SV

It’s no wonder these things drive around stuck in first gear (and tunnels) – they sound truly orchestral. The 552kW SV is the Aventador’s 6.5-litre, revving-to-an-ear-piercing-8500rpm V12 at its best and loudest. A rich, distinctive, very Italian roar.

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