Listen Up: 10 Cars With the Best Engine Sounds
By David Arnouts
There is much to be said for the sound of a high-performance engine with the reins off, screaming in all its glory.
With the advent of electronic cars and new technology to “enhance” the sound of the engine--à la the BMW F10 M5--we thought it important to celebrate some of the best-sounding vehicles from today and years past.
Here is a list of 10 modern street cars that sound pretty incredible. Most are not stock, and while many purists might cry foul, in this author's opinion there are times when some things are just better when meddled with.
Make sure to leave your Comments in the section below. Which is your favorite? If you had to pick your top five, which cars would you include? Which ones did we miss?
Don't fret, racing fanatics, we have a “best-sounding race cars” list in the works.
Editor's Note:Some of the following videos appear to not be filmed under closed or controlled conditions. Autoweek does not encourage illegal or irresponsible behavior. Take it to the track.
The Honda NSX--the Acura NSX in North America--is still a highly sought after mid-engine high-performance car. The original NSX was produced from 1991 to 2005. It then went into hibernation for almost a decade, until Acura revealed the forthcoming 2015 Acura NSX at the Detroit auto show in January 2012. This particular example is said to have a set of DC Sport headers and an aftermarket clutch.
It wasn't long after BMW dropped the E46 M3 on the public in 2000 that enthusiasts and purists wanted a lighter, higher-performance variant. In 2004, BMW responded with a 1,400-unit run of BMW M3 CSLs. The Coupe Sport Leicht variant was 240 pounds lighter and not available in North America. The sound of that BMW's S54 inline-six is both intoxicating and arousing. This M3 CSL is equipped with a straight-pipe exhaust system and sounds just the way an M3 should.
The Chevrolet Corvette has long been the domestic performance-car king, and as General Motors prepares the next generation of the Corvette, the C7, the ZR1 is still tops in the Corvette world. This ZR1 sounds as if it has some serious work done under the hood, with an aftermarket cam and full exhaust. While the aggressive sound and lope may not be for all, the Chevrolet small-block comes in so many different varieties that it's hard to imagine that there isn't one to suit every taste.
Ferrari is known for its racing pedigree and heritage, and the Italian marque has an endless list of beautiful- sounding and -looking cars. The often overlooked and sometimes problematic 360 brought the curves back to Ferrari's styling when it succeeded the 355. The Challenge Stradale version was a track-focused street model with lighter weight and more performance. This clip features a 360CS touched by the hands of Novitec Rosso, a famed aftermarket Ferrari tuner. A 3.6-liter V8 never sounded so good.
The 2003-04 FordMustang SVT Cobra is lovingly known by the enthusiast crowd as “the Terminator.” The factory-built supercharged V8 churned out 390 hp stock, and when Kenne Bell tuning gets its hands on one, more than 600 hp is attainable.
Lamborghini introduced the “baby Lambo” Gallardo in 2003, and with its relatively lower price and 500 hp, it has become the best-selling Lamborghini platform of all time. With plenty of used Gallardos on the market, aftermarket tuners such as Heffner Performance began building twin-tubocharged monsters that quickly--pun intended--became popular. If forced induction and a 5.0-liter V10 isn't your cup of tea, then this is not the car for you.
While Maserati sources many parts from other brands within the stable of parent company Fiat--see Ferrari--the Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale stands on its own quite nicely. The growl of this V8 appears to be coming from stock equipment, making this one of three stock vehicles on this list. This car sounds spectacular as is.
Before Mercedes-Benz gave us the SLS AMG, there was the SLR McLaren. It was codeveloped with McLaren Automotive, which is responsible for the McLaren F1, the MP4-12C and countless race cars. The 722 Edition SLR is a nod to Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinsons' 1955 Mile Miglia win; 722 was their starting number in the race. The pure muscle-car growl is surprising on first listen, but it's appropriate when the car is in action.
The old saying “If you have to ask, you can't afford it” is true of Pagani. The Italian company is known for its Zonda supercar and its variants, as well as the Huayra, it's latest GT hypercar endeavor. The Pagani Zonda Cinque was a special edition--only five were built--and each sold for about $1.6 million new. This video has one of the Cinques giving test rides. This car, also stock, is one car that will never require any aftermarket work. Ever. If you can find one of the Mercedes-powered rolling pieces of performance art for sale, remember, if you have to ask ...
Even though the Porsche Carrera GT was made for only two years, the car's impact is impressive. Whenever a company such as Porsche puts a V10 in a mid-engine chassis, you should pay attention. With a reputation for being unforgiving on the best of days and expensive clutch replacements, the Carrera GT is a labor of love, but, oh, what an affair. AWE Tuning had a hand in unleashing some audible delight from this car. Welcome to audio nirvana.
Content provided by Autoweek.
Woot ^_^ Kenne Bell Mustang gotta love that Supercharged whine!
All very nice, but nothing beats the opening minutes of a movie titled, "Grand Prix."
I love cars in general some more then others; American Muscle cars are my favorite preferably the Mustang (GT500 my dream car). The whine of a supercharger sounds great to me I'm not bashing anybody nor did I say everybody likes that sound.
1. Maserati Gran-Turisom MC Straddale
2. Pagani Huayra
3. BMW M5 V10
4. Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series
5. Infiniti G37
and Ford's 4.6 & 5.4 generally sound better than GM's LS motors
Because no other engine in the world sounds like you have just woken a grizzly bear from hibernation by kicking it in the balls. And that bear has a running chainsaw in each paw.
LMAO, that's hilarious! Probably the funniest comment I've ever read on this site.
I can't listen to any of these, I don't have speakers o nthe comp I'm using, but I'll say from watching Top Gear the Ferrari and Maserati sound fantastic. The Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, well I've never heard one that I thought sounded better than ok. I mean they don't sound bad, but I'm not going ot have an eargasm from hearing them.
Gotta give it to Mustangs, starting with the 5.0 Fox bodies, they've all had the great, distinctive tone. Even the dark years with the 215hp SOHC 4.6's. Any car guy who can't identify a Mustang coming before they actually see it is not in fact a car guy.
I agree with King Patrol about the GM LS engines. I LOVE the LS, it's a fantastic motor, but the sound is not phenomenal. Mine sound much beter with a Magnaflow catback, but the older Gen 1 &2 small block Chevies sound better.
Since this is a MODERN list of engines, I'll excuse the absence of the small & big block Chevy, and also the Ford flathead. They don't put out much power, but a flatty breathing through glasspacks sounds amazing.
And actually, any OHV American V8 will sound great with the right exhaust setup, as Ford found out with great results with the 5.0.
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.