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Sounds of the supernatural

By Louis Cordony, 10 Apr 2015 Features

Sound testing the greatest V8, V10 and V12 engines ever built

Sounds of the supernatural

After hearing a Ferrari 4.5-litre flat-plane-crank V8 scream its lungs out for the first time, you’ll swear nothing else could sound as good.

That is, unless, you were part of the wide-eyed MOTOR crew on a particular road test last October. Because accompanying the 4.5-litre V8 nestled mid-ship in our Ferrari 458 Speciale was Lexus’s symphonic LFA, equipped with a 5.2-litre V10, and Lamborghini’s 6.5-litre V12 Aventador LP700-4.

Gathered for no other reason than to celebrate the naturally aspirated engine, its existence endangered, each engine had earned its rightful place as one of the greats.

Ferrari’s donk manages to extract 99kW from each litre of capacity, well above the previously revered 100-bhp-per-litre benchmark. Lexus’s V10, meanwhile, can send its crankshaft from idle speed to 9000rpm in 0.6sec.

Then there’s the big daddy Lamborghini’s V12 that relies on displacement and cylinder count to produce 515kW.

What we really wanted to experience with these powerplants, though, didn’t have as much to do with speed as it did noise. Turbochargers can make any vehicle faster, but make it sound better? Rarely, and these three underscore that.

But which of our trio does it best? That’s what we want to find out from you. Hit play on the video above, treat your ears to a V8, V10 and V12 orchestra of noise, and let us know which soundtrack you’ll be telling your grandkids about.

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