Best car exhaust sound, the definitive list 

Aivaras Grigelevičius

Aivaras Grigelevičius

When choosing a car, a myriad of variables goes into the equation. And for every person in the world, there’s a different set of "must-haves" they look for in their vehicle. Some want great mileage per gallon, some want raw power, some are interested in interior roominess and comfort, and some... some value the driving experience above everything else.

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For the latter category, a vital component of any joyride is the sound their car makes when they rev up its engine. That crisp, raspy roar when the pedal’s to the metal. In honor of the music cars make, we’ve put together a list of the best-sounding vehicles ever produced. As you’ll find out, the majority of them are no longer in production, so if you’re hunting for any of the vehicles mentioned below, you’ll need to buy a used car. If you do, use carVertical to check their service history before making the purchase – access this link to read more.

Now, without further ado, let’s dig in.

Lexus LFA

White Lexus LFA on the road
Source: Lexus of Christchurch / Flickr

If we had to pick a human equivalent to the Lexus LFA’s unmistakable sound, it would be a mix between Adele’s and Tom Waits’ voices. That raw sound of Waits’ voice with Adele’s incredible power.

Dubbed by many as the best-sounding car of all time, the Lexus LFA was designed to excel. Created to become Lexus’s flagship vehicle, its engine is co-developed with Toyota. And it shows.

Both its engine and chassis were designed with acoustics in mind which led to LFA’s sensational exhaust tone. The "Angel Roar" of its 1LR-GUE 4.8-liter V10 sounds like no other, and it still takes the lead in front of far more expensive and far more modern cars that are yet to imitate the LFA’s perfect exhaust sound.

Pagani Zonda Cinque

Yellow Pagandi Zonda Cinque in a showroom
Source: Kylie & Rob (and Helen) / Flickr

Built more than a decade ago and still illegal for road use in the US without a periodic “Show and Display” title, the Zonda Cinque delivers an almost F1-like sound as it accelerates.

Powered by a Mercedes-AMG sourced massive 7.3-liter V8 that will belt out a whopping 678 hp and 575 pound-feet of torque (780 Nm), the Pagani Zonda roars all the way through, like a cat that never learned to purr.

A contender for the top 5 in our list, but it doesn’t quite make the number one spot.

Porsche Carrera GT

Silver Porsche Carrera GT on the track
Source: Eivind Lindseth / Flickr

If there’s a car that can strip the LFA of its "best sounding car" title, it's the Carrera GT.

Its straight-piped exhaust delivers an old-school cool F1 sound that’ll raise the hair on the back of your neck as it dashes past. The peculiar exhaust adds more weight to the sound the GT makes, plus it stems from the bowels of the mid-mounted, naturally aspired 5.7-liter V10 that churns out 605 hp.

The combination of the two resulted in another unique tone which has convinced many enthusiasts to dub the GT as the best sounding sports car of all time. You can instantly see why if you rev its engine inside a tunnel.

Mercedes C63 AMG Black

Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG black edition in a parking garage
Source: nakhon100 / Flickr

You can tell the sound of a C63 AMG Black out of a million others. Not because it’s the loudest or the sexiest, but because it’s the scariest.

Hearing a C63 doesn’t make you think of engine power or F1-like performance. The AMG Black simply sounds evil, like it smoked for the past 50 years and now it’s up to no good, roaming the streets with mischief on its mind.

A decent naturally aspired 6.3-liter provides 517 hp, 620 pound-feet of torque (840 Nm), and enough nightmare fuel to last for a whole month.

Lamborghini Aventador

Black Lamborghini Aventador
Source: Louis Rix / Flickr

The iconic car manufacturer has never built a prim and proper model but the Aventador is as close as Lamborghini gets to creating a subdued vehicle. Powered by a vociferous 6.5-liter V-12, the Lambo sounds like a bee on steroids which is somehow underwhelming considering the car manufacturer’s reputation and the Aventador’s dashing exterior looks.

It could use a little more character and a hint of the exotic, rebellious nature Lamborghini is famous for.

Ferrari LaFerrari

Red Ferrari LaFerrari in the docks
Source: Westbroek / Flickr

LaFerrari literary translates to “THE Ferrari” in English so it’s fair to expect nothing but great things from it.

An absolutely stunning car that relies on a massive 6.3-liter F140FE V-12 to deliver just shy of 1,000 hp.

An absolute unit that has no fault. But then, as much as it does everything right, it lacks that spark of genius when it comes to its exhaust tone. You can’t say LaFerrari sounds bad, that would be blasphemy. But you also can’t say it’s one of the very best sounding cars out there, either. A model for the top 10, not the top 3.

Koenigsegg Agera R

Blue Koenigsegg Agera R parked by the side of the road
Source: Benoit cars / Flickr

The Agera R is able to spit fire. And it also sounds like it’s able to spit fire.

With a top speed of 245 mph (394 km/h) thanks to the center-mounted 4.7-liter turbocharged V8 that will belt out 910 hp and 811 pound-feet of torque (1099 Nm), the Agera R is illegal to drive anywhere in the United States. And what a shame that is considering how incredibly good its raspy exhaust sounds like.

Porsche 918

White Porsche 918 in the city
Source: Benoit cars / Flickr

Another fire-spitting supercar, the Porsche 918, can shoot blue flames out of its exhaust, something you’ll never see a Tesla do.

With an unusual placement of its exhaust system, mounted on the top of the chassis as opposed to underneath it, the 918 makes good use of its naturally aspired 4.6-liter V8 that, aided by 2 electrical motors, is able to deliver a very impressive 875 combined horsepower.

Competing against the best makes even exceptional cars look dull. And this is precisely the case when it comes to the Porsche 918. By all accounts, the car looks and sounds incredibly well. You get a sense of power every time you rev up the engine and the two exhaust pipes both look and sound the part. But put it next to the Lexus, or the Carrera GT and you won’t take notice of the 918 in the slightest.

Audi RS6 (2015)

Silver Audi RS6 Avant on grass
Source: FotoSleuth / Flickr

The best thing the Audi RS6 has going for itself is its price which is considerably lower than many of the entries on our list. Other than that it really can’t compete with the models presented in this article. Its exhaust is crisp and sharp but it lacks a strong bite.

It sounds like it’s trying its hardest yet misses the mark completely. An off-brand substitute for the original supercar sound that will never fool anyone.

Ferrari 599 GTO

Red Ferrari 599 GTO with black stripe in the middle
Source: dave_7 / Flickr

One of the most controversial cars on our list, the 599 GTO is considered by many to be undeserving of its GTO distinction.

An underperformer that fails to hit the mark when it comes to exhaust sound as well, even though it boasts a massive 6.0-liter V12 that sounds incredible. Just not incredible enough to pose any real threat to the Lexus LFA, the Porsche Carrera GT, or even the Ferrari LaFerrari.

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Aivaras Grigelevičius

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Aivaras Grigelevičius

Aivaras has been excited about cars since he was a little kid. Later, this passion for drivable objects (and everything that surrounds them) grew into work as an automotive journalist. Since then, Aivaras has written for several different magazines, covering anything with an accelerator pedal. He has a soft spot for cars with an Alfa Romeo badge.