From an 8,500rpm Lamborghini to a T-50 that revs to over 12,000rpm, this list has everything an auto enthusiast could want.
Nothing compares to the sound of a high-revving internal combustion engine. It sends a shiver down your spine and sends the rev counter needle into the red. In ascending order of spin speed, here’s our list of the best, revvier road car engines
Lamborghini Huracan STO – 8,500rpm
The Lamborghini Huracan STO has the words “Super Trofeo Omolagata” in its name, so you know it’s something special. The same 5.2-liter V10 engine found in other Huracan models, with a rev ceiling of 8,500rpm, is at the heart of this track-focused model. It generates 640 horsepower, enough to propel the lightweight STO from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 3.0 seconds.
The way the Lamborghini’s V10 engine races towards the red line, rather than the dizzying rev limit, is what distinguishes it. The Huracan is naturally aspirated, unlike some of its turbocharged competitors. As a result, it appears to build in a more rabid manner as the revs rise, aided by the fact that it has to propel less weight because this model only has rear-wheel drive.
8,500rpm McLaren 570S
McLaren’s 3,799cc twin-turbo V8 was always going to be special, and it has proven to be so. It happily revs all the way to 8,500rpm in the 570S, though peak power arrives 1,000rpm earlier, giving the driver some leeway before changing gears.
The peak torque of the 570S is even lower in the rev range, with a 600Nm maximum spread between 5,000 and 6,500rpm. With 570 horsepower, the 570S can accelerate from a standstill to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 328 kilometres per hour.
8,700rpm Audi R8 V10
Although the Audi R8’s 5.2-liter V10 engine is shared with its Lamborghini cousin, Audi clearly wanted something special for its side of the family. This explains why the R8’s engine spins at 8,700 rpm versus 8,500 rpm for the Huracan.
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The 570hp maximum power arrives at 8,000rpm, leaving plenty of room for an upshift in the seven-speed S tronic gearbox. Audi claims that each piston travels at a rate of 26.9 metres per second, or over 100 kilometres per hour, on every stroke.
8,900rpm Ferrari F12tdf
If you’re going to name a car after one of the most famous road races in history, it had better be something special, and the Ferrari F12tdf was exactly that. The tdf had a 6,262cc V12 with 780hp, up 40hp from the standard F12. It was a winner on looks alone, paying homage to the 1960s 250 GT models, while under the hood was a 6,262cc V12 with 780hp, up 40hp from the standard F12.
To reduce mechanical friction, the factory carefully balanced this engine and used lighter materials for some of the motor’s internal components. As a result, the engine can rev to a maximum of 8,900rpm while remaining extremely smooth.
8,900rpm Honda S2000
The Honda S2000 is Exhibit A, proving that you don’t need a millionaire’s budget to enjoy giddy rev limits. The Honda came with the most power per litre in a naturally aspirated engine in the world when it was launched in 1999 as a 50th birthday present to itself, producing 243hp. You had to work the engine hard to get this power, which is when you discovered the joys of an 8,900rpm red line.
Honda’s V-TEC variable valve timing system produced so much power and high-revving fun. In 2004, Honda lowered the peak rev ceiling to 8,200rpm in the interest of durability, which felt a little flat compared to the previous version.
9,000rpm Ferrari 458
When the Ferrari 458 was introduced in 2009 to replace the F430, it made a huge impression. The 458 had the job wrapped up just in terms of looks, but Ferrari wanted to make sure there was no confusion between the newcomer and its predecessor, so the 458’s 4.5-litre V8 engine produced 570 horsepower and a whopping 9,000rpm redline.
The 458 would reach 325kph if it was allowed to reach peak revs in top gear. The motor’s graphite-coated pistons allowed them to slide up and down the cylinders with less friction, allowing it to spin faster.
9,000rpm Lexus LFA
The LFA was a no-holds-barred attempt to create a halo model for Lexus, with a 4.8-litre V10 engine capable of 9,000rpm at its core. Lexus had to use a digital rev counter because an analogue one couldn’t keep up with the way the motor changed revs with each gear shift through its six-speed transmission.
The 560hp engine was only used in the LFA, and while it provided Lexus with the halo it desired, it was developed in collaboration with Yamaha. Yamaha used titanium for the connecting rods and valves to reduce weight and reciprocate mass, drawing on its motorcycle expertise in this type of high-revving motor. This is also why a V10 engine was chosen, as it allows for smaller, lighter pistons than a V8 with the same capacity.
9,000rpm Porsche 911 (991) GT3
The Porsche 911 GT3 is undoubtedly one of the sweetest spots in the Porsche 911 range, stimulating your senses on every drive. Much of this is due to the current model’s 4.0-litre engine, which can rev up to 9,000rpm. There’s no reason to go faster than 8,400rpm because peak power is reached at that speed, but the noise will force you to go faster.
The engine’s race-bred pedigree is evident in its specification, which is nearly identical to that of the Cup competition car. It’s also built on the same assembly line as Porsche Motorsport’s racing cars.
9,150rpm Porsche 918 Spyder
When it comes to designing a high-revving engine, a V8 engine layout isn’t always the first choice. However, Porsche has always enjoyed a challenge, which is why the 918 Spyder has a 4.6-liter V8 engine. This is a smaller displacement than many V8s, allowing each piston to rise and fall more quickly within the cylinders. The maximum power of 608hp is reached at 8,600rpm, but if you keep your foot on the gas, you’ll hit the limiter at 9,150rpm.
The Porsche 918 Spyder’s engine may not rev as high or produce as much power as the Ferrari LaFerrari’s, but it is faster from 0 to 100 km/h, taking 2.8 seconds versus 3.0 seconds for the Italian.
9.250rpm Ferrari LaFerrari
The engine in the LaFerrari is based on the same basic unit as the F12tdf’s, but Ferrari was never going to release its limited-edition hybrid hypercar flagship with the same numbers. Instead, the 6.3-liter V12 was rebuilt with lighter internal components and the rev limit was increased to 9,250rpm, with maximum power of 800hp reaching 9,000rpm.
This much power was achieved without the use of turbochargers, and with the help of the LaFarrari’s electric assistance, it could go from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in 3.0 seconds flat, with a top speed of 350 kilometres per hour.
9,300rpm Suzuki Cappuccino
There are few sounds more satisfying than a Suzuki Cappuccino’s tiny three-cylinder engine being wrung out to its red line of 9,300rpm. Even if it isn’t the fastest car when driven this way, you won’t notice because you’ll be too busy enjoying the noise and grabbing the next gear to do it all over again.
Even better, the Suzuki’s 657cc turbocharged engine will not jeopardise your driver’s licence while delivering 64 horsepower and high maximum revs. With a top speed of 150kph, you can enjoy its fast spinning nature without guilt.
9,500rpm Honda S800
The S800 sports car was heavily influenced by Honda’s experience with motorcycles, particularly racing. Although the S800 was designed to compete with the MG Midget, the British car’s plodding engines couldn’t match the S800’s ravenously revving 791cc four-cylinder engine.
Despite its small capacity, the S800’s engine produced 71 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and a top speed of 161 kilometres per hour. When you weren’t enjoying the noise from the engine being driven flat out, it was also capable of an impressive 14.88kpl.
9,500rpm Mazda RX-8
Because there are no pistons going up and down in a cylinder, rotary engines are suited to high revs. Instead, a central shaft is surrounded by a triangular rotor. It’s a look Mazda has perfected over time, with the RX-8 being the most recent example. In the past, Mazda has used this engine to win the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 1.3-litre rotary engine in the RX-8 produces 231 horsepower and is a twin rotor design with two chambers sharing the same central shaft. When the RX-8 is pushed to its 9,500rpm rev limit, this design also gives it its distinct engine sound. If you press on, you’ll need to because there’s only 216Nm of torque available.
10,600rpm Ariel Atom V8
The Ariel Atom V8 is a generator of numbers. It has 507 horsepower, weighs only 550 kilogrammes, and accelerates from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in just 2.3 seconds. It also accelerates from a stop to 160 kph faster than a Bugatti Veyron. The Ariel’s 10,600rpm engine, on the other hand, is one of the most perplexing figures.
The 3.0-litre engine is made up of two Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle engines spliced together on a common crankshaft. This helps to explain why peak torque is reached at 7,750 rpm. The rev limit was set at 10,500 rpm for the slightly more road-biased road-track model, which was 100 rpm lower than the road-race version.
Valkyrie Aston Martin – 11,100rpm
Aston Martin’s flagship mid-engine hypercar, the Valkyrie, is ultra-exclusive. The road-going Valkyrie will be produced in only 150 units, all of which have already been sold. Not only does the Valkyrie have F1-derived technology and aerodynamics, but it also has a ludacris 6.5-litre V12 petrol engine that produces 1,014hp and is paired with an electric motor that adds another 162hp. Aston enlisted the help of Cosworth to build the engines, which resulted in a naturally aspirated V12 engine with an insane 11,100rpm redline. Because of the car’s 1,030kg weight, Rimac was consulted for the electric motor, which when combined with the petrol engine produces 1,176hp, giving the Valkyrie over 1hp/kg.
T50 Murray – 12,100rpm
Gordon Murray doesn’t do things half-heartedly, so his T50 supercar had to be powered by a naturally aspirated V12 engine. The 3.9-litre engine, which reaches a peak of 12,100rpm and sounds and revs like a Formula 1 engine from the 1990s, was designed by Cosworth Engineering.
The engine produces 659 horsepower, which isn’t much in comparison to many hypercars, but the T50’s lightweight helps it out. It also revives Murray’s Formula 1 ‘fan car’ concept, though this time for aerodynamic grip rather than engine cooling.