We are rapidly moving towards a future for electric cars, a future that promises zero emissions and fast yet quiet performance. A noble goal, but for car enthusiasts the sound of an engine will be missed.
That makes it all the more important to celebrate some of the best sounding cars of all time before they are all relegated to the history books.
This list features 10 of the best sounding cars ever, some well-known classics mixed with modern day marvels, each capable of putting out the kind of mechanical music from their exhausts that will turn heads on any high street.
Our pick of the 10 best sounding cars is:
- Aston Martin DBS
- Audi RS3
- BMW M850i
- Ford Mustang Mach 1
- Ferrari F355
- Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door
- Jaguar F-Type R
- Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimaea
- Maserati Quattroporte GTS
- Lexus LFA
1) Aston Martin DBS
- 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12
- 0-100 km/h in less than 3.4 seconds
Most Aston Martin models use a version of Mercedes’ acclaimed 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, a great sounding engine, of course, but not quite as captivating to the ear as Aston’s own 5.2-litre twin-turbo V12 of 725 hp.
You may never legally be able to test its top speed of 311 mph or regularly experience its 0-60 mph time of 3.4 seconds, but that exhaust note will put a smile on your face with every ride.
2) Audi RS3
- 2.5-liter turbo inline-five
- 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds
Audi’s famous five-cylinder turbo engine was first heard during the rally stage in the 1980s UR Quattro rally car. The latest version in the four-wheel drive Audi RS3 produces a serious 400 horsepower and that same iconic exhaust note.
Find the right stretch of road, roll down the windows and imagine Walter Rohrl gliding gracefully between curves on a special rally stage. Just make sure you don’t actually slip on public roads.
3) BMW M850i
- 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
- 530 hp
- 0-100 km/h in less than 3.9 seconds
The BMW E46 M3 CSL from the 2000s had a fantastic engine sound, thanks in part to the carbon fiber intake. The one and only E90 M3 V8 whimpered all the way to its 8,400rpm redline like a thoroughbred sports car, but if you want an equally exciting soundtrack in a modern BMW it’s not an M3 you need, it’s the 8 Series in M850i livery. .
It’s not as powerful as the full-fat M8, but its 530bhp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 actually has a more melodic tone, sounding like an old-school muscle car one minute and a hard-hitting sports car the next. .
4) Ford Mustang Mach 1
- 5.0-litre V8
- 0-100 km/h in less than 4.4 seconds
Ford has been building signature V8 powerplants for decades, if you want to experience that soulful V8 burble with warranty and a modern infotainment system then the current Ford Mustang Mach 1 is your best bet.
It’s equipped with a 5.0-litre 460-horsepower V8 engine that will captivate your eardrums with the push of the throttle, best sampled with a manual transmission if you want full control of the V8 orchestra.
5) Ferrari F355
- 3.5-litre V8
- 0-100 km/h in 4.5 seconds
Modern Ferraris are technological marvels that can exceed the national speed limit by the time you exit your driveway. They also sound great, but not as great as the classic V12s of the 60s, or even the stunning Ferrari F355 of the mid-1990s.
The F355 produced an impressive 380 horsepower from its naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V8 engine and whimpered to its red line with a deafening cry that sounded like nothing else on the road.
6) Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-door
- 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
- 0-100 km/h in less than 3.2 seconds
AMG Mercedes models were once characterized by their manic V8 powerplants, which emitted an unmistakable bass-heavy note that let other road users know when to shift into the slow lane.
Emission regulations have reduced these AMG models in terms of cylinder numbers and capacity, but the AMG GT 4-door is happy to resist this trend and retain its loud and proud AMG heritage thanks to its twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
7) Jaguar F-Type R
- 5.0-litre supercharged V8
- 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds
It’s been around for a decade and still looks as good as ever. The Jaguar F-Type R has the kind of intense exhaust note that makes you wonder how it ever got to the noise standards, not that anyone seems to mind when you blast past, its 575 hp 5.0-litre V8 growling like a wild beast .
Get one now before anyone realizes that this is just too much of a good thing in today’s electric car-obsessed world.
8) Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimaea
- 6.5-litre V12
- 0-100 km/h in less than 2.8 seconds
Lamborghini is known for keeping its flagship models in production for years, but even by their standards the Aventador has been around for a long time.
Incremental upgrades and a just insane 6.5-litre V12 have helped it keep up with newer, more advanced rivals, but none sounds quite as ferocious as this thing when driven into a rage. And there are very few who spew fire from their exhausts.
9) Maserati Quattroporte GTS
- 4.7-litre V8
- 434 hp
- 0-100 km/h in less than 5.0 seconds
Maserati has produced some stunning automotive artwork over the years, one of the most memorable of recent years was the Quattroporte GTS, a four-door super sedan that produced arguably the most exquisite and cultivated V8 soundtrack. Ever.
Its Ferrari F430-derived 4.7-litre V8 also gave it some serious pace, but that soundtrack alone was worth the asking price. Though slightly more understated, the current turbo model is still an impressive sounding machine.
10) Lexus LFA
- 4.8-litre V10
- 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds
There have been only a handful of V10 powered cars over the years, and while they all sounded pretty awesome, the Lexus LFA took things to a whole new aural level. Its enchanting exhaust note was due to a naturally aspirated 552 hp 4.8-litre V10 mounted behind the driver.
While this rare supercar has long been a priceless modern classic, Lexus still delivers sparkling mechanical music in the form of the stunning V8 LC coupe.
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