Ask any car enthusiast to name some major factors in the appeal of a car is, and they will probably place the noise it makes near the top of the list. But why is this? If you could buy a car that got you from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds but sounded like nothing more than a stiff breeze, would you buy it? It’s unusual how much of a factor a simple sound can be in how we perceive a vehicle and how much pleasure we can get from it, but there’s more to it than that.
If you’ve ever gotten goosebumps from your favorite song, gotten immersed at a concert or even enjoyed listening to a song bird chirp away, you realize how engaging sound can be. A good score can turn a mediocre movie into an epic, spine tingling thrill ride that you can’t take your eyes off of. Humans can be aural creatures and being able to accentuate any experience with a well-written soundtrack, especially when it comes to cars, is a critical component to appealing to those of us with oil in our veins.
Well for gearheads, sound is what can make a car come alive, give it a personality. Why would we want to make our cars louder, you ask? It’s pretty simple really, we get goosebumps from that drive through a tunnel at full throttle, that open-window concert hall that’s an assault on all the senses. Ever notice how some of the more track-oriented cars on sale don’t come standard with radios? Well, we’re ok with that because the only sound we need comes out the back and that gives us all the entertainment we need.
With all of that nonsense explained, here are a few cars (in no particular order) that top our list with some of the best sounds ever to exit a tailpipe.
1) Ford Escort MK2 rally car: Think a 4 cylinder can’t make a good noise? Think again. The sound coming out of this nimble little rally monster at full bore is nothing short of spectacular.
2) Aston Martin V12 Vanquish: Not only are these cars stunning to look at, they also make one of the best sounds ever produced by a car. A big, meaty V12 and a free flowing exhaust is a recipe that is hard to beat
3) Pagani Zonda: Another exotic, but this time the V12 (crafted by AMG) is a much higher-strung, free revving one designed to delight (and often destroy) the eardrums of passengers and drivers alike
4) Lamborghini Aventador: This is one of the newest offerings from the Italian manufacturer and after hearing one of these, we’re glad they’re sticking to their roots with big V12’s instead of adopting the smaller displacement turbo method like many competitors
5) BMW e39 M5: While some may argue that you need an aftermarket exhaust to unleash the potential of this super-saloon, there’s no denying that this thing can get your hairs standing on end and put a smile on your face in short order
6) Audi R8 V8: This is the same basic engine as was found in the much-lauded RS4 which ended production in 2008. No matter that the V8 was considered the base engine, it still made a sound that would put many faster cars to shame.
7) Ferrari 355: This list wouldn’t be complete without a high-revving Ferrari crafted V8, and the 355 is possibly one of the best sounds to come out of their factory.
8) Porsche Carerra GT: This is one of the few times that Porsche has strayed from its flat 6 heritage, but the V10 in this hyper car makes you wish they’d do it a few more times. No wonder this has turned into a real collector car
9) Porsche GT3RS: A good naturally aspirated 6 cylinder from Porsche has a very unique sound that is recognized the world over as something that means business. No surprise then that one of the rawest variants of the 911 makes this list
10) Chevrolet Corvette ZR1: While the ZR1 is no longer in production at this time, this Chevy V8 with a supercharger strapped to it will make Chuck Norris run for the hills. Did you really think we would leave some proper American muscle off of this list?
Now you have to remember that something sounding “good” is all really subjective and as a result, some great sounding cars haven’t made the cut. Some people out there may prefer the wail of a high-revving F1 car to a deep, bass-like V8 from AMG. We are not here to pick sides, but rather point out some noteworthy cars that in our opinion produced sounds worth listening to. If you’d like to add, comment below with a video clip and let others enjoy!