Great soundtracks that aren't your sweet mixtape
Just like popping in your favorite mix tape, or pressing play on your favorite playlist (if we’re being modern here), having an orchestral exhaust note accessible by the simple lever under your right foot can take a boring drive and make it so much more. Some of our picks accompany every second of their lives with a bark and a rasp, while others require some button-pushing. No matter the method, all will transform your drive, and all will make you look at – and listen inside of — tunnels differently.
The Alfa is all crackles and pops from its mid-engine turbo-four. You’ll wind it out again and again to hear the soulful Italian four-banger sing its song
Speaking of soulful Italians, the Abarth is one of those cars that sounds great and has tons of character, but isn’t really that fast. How’s the old adage go? It’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than drive a fast car slow.
First, take either flavor, add the Active Sport exhaust and a tunnel, then enjoy. OK, the tunnel is optional, but recommended for maximum awesomeness.
Sure, the 488 GTB is out, but the new kid on the block comes with a pair of turbochargers that sit squarely in the path between the iconic flat-plane V-8 and the human ear. No doubt Ferrari has done its best to keep the engine soulful, but it’s not quite the same. Let’s all raise a glass for the naturally aspirated high-rpm V-8.
Ferrari is famous for its V-12s, and with good reason. The F12 Berlinetta has 8,500 rpm, 731 hp, and a paddle-shifted seven-speed inspired by Ferrari’s F1 program. Tunnel also recommend, but not required.
It’s hard to argue with the sound of a rumbling V-8 when talking about awesome-sounding vehicles, and the new GT350R will be no exception to that rule. The high-rpm, flat-plane V-8 will be unique to the GT350, and boy, does it sing! Racetrack recommended.
The last-generation Z/28, with its track-specific extras, superb tuning, 2015 Best Driver’s Car upset, and a 7,000 rpm redline, certainly earns a space on this list. The Tremec six-speed manual is an excellent gearbox with nice, positive shifts that functions more like a conductor’s baton, directing the rising and falling crescendos of that 7.0-liter song.
This might be a controversial pick, but bear with me: From outside the car, the twin-turbo inline-six sounds like an M3 should. Listening to the M4 bang off the rev limiter in the BMW M Initiation ad makes us wonder why the automaker decided to pump fake sound through the speakers. Maybe the soundproofing was too good.
When you buy a supercar, you want brash, loud, and fast, right? The dynamically impressive Huracan is just that – impressive — but it can be downright docile when it’s in top gear and loafing along. The Aventador is many things, and can be described with many effusive adjectives, but docile it is not. Adding a tunnel is recommended, but pulling the paddle with a minus sign on it should entertain you the rest of the time.
Y’all remember the LFA, right? While not as exclusive, and far less expensive, the RC F takes the lessons Lexus learned and applies them in an attractive coupe. 7,300 rpm V-8 and 25 mpg? You can’t take the Toyota out of Lexus, but you can bring the Lexus into Toyota. Several runs to redline, perhaps with the windows down, should convince any naysayers that the RC F does indeed hold legitimate awesome credentials.
Bet you thought I’d say GranTurismo, huh? The GranCabrio is pretty much the same car, just without that pesky metal obstruction between your ears and the sweet V-8 exhaust note.
It’s hard to pick just one, as the AMG formula for making power (bigger motor, forced induction) makes for such a sweet symphony. Perhaps the SL65 AMG is more your speed? Droptops (like the Maserati previously mentioned) literally erase the only thing between you and sweet aural bliss. You even have that nifty Air Scarf for warming your neck when the going gets cold. See? Mercedes and AMG know this is the right way to experience awesome-sounding cars.
In terms of horsepower per dollar, the Dodge Hellcat twins are hard to beat. That 707-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 comes with all the trappings you’d expect: a loping cam at idle, supercharger pulley whine, and the unmistakable roar of American muscle.
The Corvette Stingray’s LT1 V-8 is responsible for many things. It produces up to 460 hp and matches that outstanding performance with an addictive soundtrack. Better yet, the available engine sound management system transforms the Corvette to a stealthy and quiet cruiser or an intimidating and loud track-slayer.
The posh and luxurious Range Rover Sport is normally library-quiet, but that all changes when it wears an SVR badge. New for 2015, the Range Rover Sport SVR is quick thanks to a 550-hp, supercharged V-8. Combine that with a two-stage active exhaust and the end result is a surprisingly racy-sounding luxury SUV.
Erick Ayapana contributed to this feature.