Mechanical Music

The 25 Best Sounding Cars of All Time


April 3, 2018 Cars By Photo by Lexus

Of all the ways to admire a car, the sound of the engine can not only be the most memorable, but also the most overwhelming. It requires all your senses to take in the curves and surfaces with your eyes, note the grain of the interior trim, smell the warm leather slowly baking under the sun. All of those details are passive compared to the way an operatic tune fires from the engine and hits your ear, willfully sending a chill down your spine.

Is there an exact formula for producing the best engine note of all time? Not exactly, but you will see there’s a common theme or two. Ferrari and Porsche certainly have an ear for it, while a dozen or so cylinders and the unrestricted nature of a race car lend themselves nicely to an unadulterated sonorous and mechanical wail, too. There are almost too many to choose from, but these are the 25 best sounding automotive engine notes ever — headphones on, volume up.

1969 Ford GT40

Read our review: Here
Engine: 4.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 440
Redline: 6,000 rpm

2016 Ford Mustang GT350R

Read our review: Here
Engine: 5.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 526
Redline: 8,250 rpm

2010 Lexus LFA

Read our story: Here
Engine: 4.8-liter V10
Horsepower: 552
Redline: 9,000 rpm

2017 Porsche 911 RSR

Engine: 4.0-liter Flat-six
Horsepower: 510
Redline: 9,000 rpm

1957 Ferrari Testarossa

Engine: 3.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 300
Redline: 7,000 rpm

1970 Plymouth Superbird

Engine: 7.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 425
Redline: 5,000 rpm

1991 Mazda 787B

Engine: 2.6-liter four-rotar Wankel Engine
Horsepower: 700
Redline: 8,500-9,000

1973 Alfa Romeo Montreal

Engine: 2.6-liter V8
Horsepower: 200
Redline: 6,200 rpm

1986 Group B Audi Quattro S1

Engine: 2.1-liter Turbocharged Inline-Five
Horsepower: 540
Redline: 7,500

1979 Ferrari 512BB LM

Engine: 4.9-liter Flat-12
Horsepower: 440
Redline: 6,800

2007 Pagani Zonda R

Engine: 6.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 739
Redline: 8,000 rpm

1995 Ferrari 412 T2

Engine: 3.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 690
Redline: 17,000 rpm

1979 BMW M1 Procar

Engine: 3.5-liter Inline-six
Horsepower: 414
Redline: 10,000 rpm

1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale

Engine: 2.0-liter V8
Horsepower: 241
Redline: 9,000rpm

1971 Porsche 917

Engine: 5.0-‘iter Flat-12
Horsepower: 630
Redline: 8,000 rpm

2004 Porsche Carrera GT

Engine: 5.7-liter V10
Horsepower: 605
Redline: 8,200 rpm

1964 Ferrari 250 GTO

Engine: 3.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 300
Redline: 8,000 rpm

1987 BMW M3 DTM

Engine: 2.3-liter Inline-four
Horsepower: 300
Redline: 8,500 rpm

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti

Engine: 2.5-liter V6
Horsepower: 420
Redline: 11,500 (peak power)

1997 Mercedes CLK GTR

Engine: 6.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 600
Redline: 7,500 rpm

1973 Lancia Stratos HF

Engine: 2.4 -liter V6
Horsepower: 188
Redline: 9,000 rpm

1992 McLaren F1 GTR

Engine: 6.0-liter V12
Horsepower: 600
Redline: 7,500 rpm

1957 Jaguar XKSS

Engine: 3.4-liter Inline-six
Horsepower: 250
Redline: 6,000 rpm

1962 Alfa Romeo GTA

Engine: 1.6-liter Inline-four
Horsepower: 115
Redline: 5,600 rpm

2019 Corvette ZR1

Engine: 6.2-liter V8
Horsepower: 755
Redline: 6,500 rom
Where All That Sonorous Music Originates

15 of the most beautiful car engine bays, ever. Just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Read the Story

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