10 of the best sounding cars of all time

April 04, 2024 by

We are rapidly moving towards an electric automotive future, one that promises zero emissions and swift yet silent performance. A noble cause, but to 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’re all relegated to the history books.

This list contains 10 of the best sounding cars ever, some well-known classics intermingled with modern marvels, each one capable of emitting the sort of mechanical music from their tailpipes that will turn heads on any high street.

Our pick of the 10 best sounding cars are:

  1. Lexus LFA
  2. Aston Martin V8 Vantage
  3. Audi RS3
  4. Jaguar F-Type R
  5. Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae
  6. Ferrari F355
  7. Ford Mustang Mach 1
  8. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
  9. Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door
  10. BMW M850i

1) Lexus LFA

  • 4.8-litre V10
  • 560hp
  • 0-60mph in 3.6-seconds

Petrolheads love a V10 engine because of their awesome soundtrack, and no 10 cylinder sounds as distinctive as the Lexus LFA’s. This slinky supercar was a radical departure from the norm for Lexus when it was launched, a brand which up until that point was known for making super-comfy saloon cars.

It has a screaming exhaust note like an old F1 car, and it revs so quickly that Lexus had to fit a digital tachometer because an analogue one couldn’t keep up. While this rare supercar has long become a priceless modern classic, Lexus still provides scintillating mechanical music in the form of the stunning V8 LC coupe.

2) Aston Martin V8 Vantage

  • 4.3-litre V8
  • 380hp
  • 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds

It may be the baby of the Aston Martin range, but the V8 Vantage has one hell of an exhaust note thanks to its 4.3-litre V8 engine. Not only did it sound like thunder, the Vantage is arguably one of the prettiest cars ever made.

You could have either a six-speed automatic gearbox or, if you’re a proper driving enthusiast, a six-speed manual was also available. There are few better feeling on earth than rowing your own gears while listening to a howling V8 on a twisty road.

3) Audi RS3

  • 2.5-litre turbocharged inline-five
  • 400hp
  • 0-60mph in 3.8-seconds

Audi’s famed turbocharged five-cylinder motor was first heard emitting its off-beat warble on the rally stages in the 1980s UR Quattro rally car. The latest version found in the all-wheel-drive Audi RS3 produces a serious 400hp and that same iconic exhaust note.

Find the right stretch of road, wind the windows down and you can imagine your Walter Rohrl, sliding gracefully between corners on a special rally stage. Just make sure you don’t actually slide around on public roads.

4) Jaguar F-Type R

  • 5.0-litre supercharged V8
  • 575hp
  • 0-60mph in 3.7-seconds

It’s been around for a decade yet 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 passed noise regulations, not that anyone seems to mind when one blasts by.

The F-Type won’t be around for much longer, with the ZP Edition signifying the end of the line for this snarling sports car. Grab one quick while you still can.

5) Lamborghini Aventador LP 780-4 Ultimae

  • 6.5-litre V12
  • 780hp
  • 0-60mph in under 2.8-seconds

Lamborghini likes to hold onto its V12 flagships for as long as possible, and the Aventador managed to cling on for almost 13 years before the new Revuelto took its place late last year.

The Aventador Ultimae was the final swan song for this V12 hypercar. It may not be as technically advanced as some Ferraris, but nothing sounds quite as savage as this thing when it’s driven in anger, and few cars spit fire out of their exhausts either.

6) Ferrari F355

  • 3.5-litre V8
  • 380hp
  • 0-60mph in 4.5-seconds

Modern Ferraris are technological marvels, capable of breaching the national speed limit by the time you’ve exited your driveway. They sound great too, but not quite as great as the classic V12s from the ‘60s, or indeed the stunning Ferrari F355 from the mid-1990s.

Producing an impressive 380hp from its naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V8 powerplant, the F355 wailed to its redline with an ear-splitting shriek that sounded like nothing else on the road.

7) Ford Mustang Mach 1

  • 5.0-litre V8
  • 460hp
  • 0-60mph in under 4.4-seconds

Ford has been building characterful V8 powerplants for decades, if you would like to experience that soulful V8 burble with a warranty and a modern infotainment system, then the Ford Mustang Mach 1 is your best bet.

It comes fitted with a 460hp 5.0-litre V8 engine that will captivate your eardrums at the touch of the accelerator pedal, best sampled with a manual transmission if you want full control of the V8 orchestra.

6) Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-door

  • 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
  • 639hp
  • 0-60mph in under 3.2-seconds

AMG Mercedes models were once defined by their manic V8 powerplants, emitting an unmistakable bass-heavy tone that let other road users know when to move over into the slow lane.

Emissions regulations have seen these AMG models shrink down in cylinder count and capacity, but the AMG GT 4-door happily resists this trend and retains its loud and proud AMG heritage courtesy of its twin-turbo V8 motor.

9) Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

  • 2.6-litre twin-turbocharged V6
  • 520hp
  • 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds

You might not expect to see a family-friendly SUV make this list, but the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio is packing a sonorous Ferrari-derived V6 engine which will send a shiver don your spine when you plant your right foot.

Not only does it sound fantastic, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio also also stupidly fast and it’s ridiculously good to drive on a twisty road. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were at the helm of a sports car, until you turn around and realise your kids have been sick in the back.

10) BMW M850i

  • 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
  • 530hp
  • 0-60mph in under 3.9-seconds

The 2000s BMW E46 M3 CSL had a fantastic engine note, thanks in part to its carbon-fibre intake. The one-and-only E90 M3 V8 wailed all the way to its 8,400rpm redline like a thoroughbred sports car, but if you want a similarly exhilarating soundtrack in a modern BMW, it’s not an M3 you need but the 8 Series in M850i trim.

It’s not quite as powerful as the full-fat M8, but its 530hp 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 actually has a more melodic tone, sounding like an old-school muscle car one minute and a hard-edged sports car the next.

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