Sounds Good: Cars With The Best Exhaust Notes

2012 Lexus LFA

2012 Lexus LFA

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The degree of driving pleasure relies on certain things, how well a car drives, how comfortable the car is, how “snicky” is the shifter, how well the road translates into the steering and so on.

One area of driving pleasure where manufacturers have been focusing on is the exhaust note.  It may not seem like it, but engineers are working to make the car sound sportier than the competition, whether the manufacturer builds a pipe to pump engine noise into the interior or valved mufflers to increase the decibels at high speed.

Each different engine configuration provides a different sound, so only a few, more common cars or engines will be picked for this article.

Inline-Four: Alfa Romeo Twin Cam—this engine was put into nearly every car produced by Alfa Romeo from 1954 to 1994. The engine design used an 8-valve, hemi cylinder head that helped produce one of the most amazing, zesty four-cylinder exhaust notes in automotive history. With so many different cars that used this engine, it’s hard to pick, but a ‘60s Giulia is hard to beat.

Inline-Six:  BMW E46 M3/ E85 Z4 M—the biggest champion of inline-six engines in the world right now is probably BMW. Most of their cars feature inline-six engines, either turbocharged or naturally aspirated. The best sounding exhaust has to be the previous generation M3 and Z4 M cars that used the same 3.2L engine.

V-6:  The Dino V-6—there is barely a company that doesn’t make a V-6 engine. But the best sounding one has to be the Dino V-6.  So far in history, the engine is the only V-6 have a 65 degree configuration, which may give its unique noise. Found in cars from Fiat, to Lancia, to “Ferrari,” the Dino V-6 has seen good use.

V-8:  Ferrari F355—there are certainly faster more reliable Ferraris out there. Its successor, the 360 Modena was much easier to drive day-to-day and with less expensive maintenance costs. But it lacked the sheer noise the 20v 3.5L V-8 could shriek out. It’s not the best sounding Ferrari ever, but it is the best sounding modern Ferrari. Nice stock, it gets even better when combined with a Tubi Exhaust.

V-10: Lexus LFA—does the exhaust note of the Lexus LFA make up for its high-price tag? No, but it probably helps numb the pain. The V-10 configuration was chosen for high revs and lower reciprocating losses that help give the car what has to be the sweetest sounding ten-cylinder out there.

V-12:  Lamborghini Murcielago—sure, Ferraris’ aren’t horrible compared to the Lamborghini’s 6.5L V-12, but this shrieking engine has essentially been in production since the 1960s. Besides, Ferrari’s already dominating the exhaust contest with 1.5 cars/engines on this list.

These results are, of course, subjective, so leave a comment as to tell us what you think should occupy these spots.

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