We knew, when challenged to identify the best sounding V8 engine, that our crankandpiston massive wouldn’t let us down.[Not a valid template]
Many suggestions filtered in during our facebook campaign (two days still counts as a campaign). Some suggestions were obvious, some were left field, and some were so specific you’d think the people concerned had built the engines themselves. Notable mentions included the AC Cobra, the Jaguar F-Type, the Ferrari 360, the Lexus LS, and the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, with the Hemi 440 and Chevy big blocks being thrown in for good measure.
4.6-litre V8, MR6 (Porsche)
Notable models: 918 Spyder, LMP RS Spyder
No, we’ve not gone potty. The ‘roar’ from two electric motors in a hybrid powerplant won’t set the world alight, but the 4.6-litre V8 they are connected to might just do the trick. The V8 makes its headline appearance in Porsche’s new 887hp 340+kph hybrid sportscar, a follow-up to the Carrera GT and its fearsome 5.7-litre V10. Doubters amongst you may scoff at this, but consider also that this particular V8 is a derivative of the 3.4-litre monster that powered Porsche’s American Le Mans Series winning RS Spyder, which took series honours from ’06-’08 as well as outright 12 Hours of Sebring victory in 2008.
The growl of close to 900bhp hitting optimum oomph at 8600rpm isn’t to be mocked either: just check out 7m 28s in Chris Harris’ review of the 918 HERE.
4.7-litre V8, AJ-V8 (Aston Martin)
Notable models: Vantage V8
There are few things in life guaranteed to rattle the fillings from your teeth with ferocity. One is the water rippling approach of a Tyrannosaurus Rex (but failing leaps and bounds in frog DNA development, that shouldn’t be a problem). Another is the base tone that ricochets from the exhausts of the baby Aston. Though based on the monster that powered Jaguar’s XKR, the 420bhp 4.7-litre (from 2008) V8 is all Aston, giving the Vantage a truly unique warble. Well, to a point. The 420bhp Roadster, and 430bhp Vantage S and S Roadster use the same eight cylinders. LISTEN HERE
6.2-litre V8, M156/M159 (Mercedes-Benz)
Many an argument took place during last year’s Dubai 24 Hours amidst the team, half of whom voted that the Vantage GT4 had the best soundtrack. ‘Rubbish’, said the other half, it was clearly the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. And with good reason. Its road going counterpart is powered by the same 6.2-litre V8 that once powered the refined E63 AMG lunatic before being dropped in favour of a 5.5-litre bi-turbo. In the SLS, 6208cc kick out 571hp – which is hoiked up to 591hp in the GT version – which, when they hit their optimum 6800rpm, are likely to split eardrums as well as the room. Even with your help, we couldn’t find a winner between the Aston and the Merc at the 24 Hours.
7.0-litre V8, 428 (Ford)
Notable models: 1967 ‘Eleanor’ GT500
You couldn’t honestly expect a ‘best V8 noises’ poll not to include a muscle car. Stepping up to the plate is Eleanor, boss of a Mustang, demon on the straights, tyre smoker off the line and a king among V8s. A wordy epitaph, but considering the Eleanor boasted a 7.0-litre Ford V8 from a Police Interceptor (replacing the original 400hp V8) boasted 650hp before an inboard nitrous canister boosted that figure to 1000hp, we’d say justified.
We’re unsure how Nicolas Cage managed to leap a crowded bridge with it though…
6.2-litre supercharged V8, GM-LSA (General Motors)
Notable models: Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Cadillac CTS-V
When crankandpiston drove the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, we discovered a couple of things: a) it’s mental, b) no, it’s properly mental, c) it accelerates like a rocket-fuelled juggernaut, and d) the sound it emits when doing so sends small children scurrying for therapy. Said sound from the 6162cc unit – shared by Cadillac’s outrageous CTS-V saloon and a derivative of the Corvette C6 ZR1 – comes courtesy of 580 angry horses stampeding in unison at 6000rpm, whilst 556lb ft of torque is enough to start the earth revolving in the wrong direction. The ferocious power – which brings with it a 296kph top speed – is apt, given the ZL1 takes it name from Chevy’s legendary limited 1969 model that kicked out a staggering 430hp. Loud, uncouth and boy does it want you to notice. Job done.
4.5-litre V8, F136FB (Ferrari)
Notable models: Ferrari 458 Italia
The screamer of the pack. Big, baritone notes shouting at you in this list are replaced with the shrill shriek from a 4.5-litre V8 with a prancing horse gallivanting on it. Chances are high your eardrums will be ruptured should you fire the 458 into life in an underground garage, 570hp from the 4499cc unit keen to make an impression at the 9000rpm mark (and that impression includes more than 325kph top speed). Dig way below the surface though and you may find the basic V8 architecture that powers little sister Maserati’s Quattroporte.
4.9-litre V8, S62 (BMW)
Notable models: Ascari A10, BMW E39 M5, BMW Z8
The inclusion of a BMW engine on this list yet without an M1 in sight may seem a bit odd. That is until you consider what Beemer’s 4941cc V8 is bolted to. The Ascari, a British supercar manufacturer (named in honour of an Italian Formula 1 World Champion for some reason), launched its A10 to much fanfare, given that the monster weighed just 1280kg, tipped the speedometer at just shy of 355kph, and cost a whopping 350,000 (around $520,000). Kicking out 625bhp, the roar from the back end sounds like an F1 single seater mated to a spitfire. All this from the uber-souped M62 V8 that powered the E39 M5 and the shortlived Z8.
A selection of many, and no doubt we’ve missed a few. If your favourite isn’t in the poll, why not let us know in the comments box at the bottom.