Great Engine Notes

Final Nine Weird world of fast cars

by DYLAN CAMPBELL

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

1 FERRARI F12TDF

Flying the Ferrari V12 fl ag 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 fi ne-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 ninestrong choir. An unusual fi ring 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 fl at-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 JAG 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 MERC 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 LAMBO AVENTADOR SV

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