Five iconic V10-powered cars of all time
In today’s world, there is an abundance of V8 and V12-powered performance cars, but the same can’t be said about the V10 engine. V10s are unique, and in many ways, better than V8 engines as they can rev higher, and also take up less space than big bulky V12s. They also have a distinctive howl at higher revs that can set the hearts racing of every enthusiast. Yet, times are such that the V10 engine configuration is gradually being phased out. The Audi R8 GT and the Lamborghini Huracan Tecnica are what could be the last of their kind to feature V10 engines, making it the perfect time to celebrate one of the most iconic engine configurations ever and the most popular cars they powered.
1. Lexus LFA
The LFA was Lexus’ halo supercar that debuted in December 2010, and there has been nothing like it ever since. To this day, the LFA is one of the most iconic supercars ever, thanks to its highly symphonic 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine. The engine was co-developed with Yamaha and is constructed using lightweight components such as forged aluminium pistons, forged titanium connecting rods and solid titanium valves. This engine reportedly weighs less than Toyota’s in-house 3.5-litre V6 engine, which is insane. As for power figures, the V10 engine is rated at 552bhp and 480Nm of torque and drives the rear wheels via a six-speed single-clutch AMT operated by paddle shifters. This beast of an engine revs up to a whopping 9000rpm and at that much engine speed, the exhaust notes are very reminiscent of an F1 car. The LFA was limited to just 500 units, making it a very rare supercar from its era.
2. Porsche Carrera GT
It has been almost two decades since the legendary Carrera GT debuted and it is still a sensation in the supercar world. It is often recognized as one of the final analogue supercars. The Carrera GT is powered by a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V10, which is slightly bigger than the prototype which debuted with a 5.5-litre mill at the 2000 Paris Motor Show. The engine was developed for the 24-hour Le Mans in 2000. But for the Carrera GT, the engine was slightly modified to meet emissions and noise regulations for production road cars. The V10 engine is rear mid-mounted and is good for 603bhp and 590 Nm of torque. There are fewer joys in life greater than hearing the Carrera GT rev past 8000 rpm, even if most of us have heard it only on YouTube. Porsche had initially planned to build 1500 examples of the Carrera GT, but due to stricter airbag regulations in the U.S., it was a rare occasion when fewer Porsches were sold than planned. The German carmaker managed to sell 1270 Carrera GTs eventually, of which 644 units were sold to the U.S. alone.
3. Lamborghini Gallardo
The Gallardo was the first Lamborghini production supercar with a V10 engine and only the second car under its parent company Audi (hence a shared engine with the R8). The Gallardo made its market debut in 2004, ran two generations of the V10 engine and lasted a decade after eventually being succeeded by the Huracan. The first generation Gallardo was powered by a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated even-firing V10 engine, with up to 523bhp rating at 8000rpm and 510Nm of torque at 4250rpm. The second-generation Gallardo got a slightly bigger engine at 5.2 litres, but the odd firing order made its predecessor more sonorous. As for the gearbox configurations, Lamborghini offered consumers to choose between a six-speed H-shaped manual or a six-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox. Lamborghini built 14,022 units of the Gallardo before it was succeeded by the Huracan, and it was the best-selling Lamborghini of its time. The Huracan’s production has also ended, which means there will be no Lamborghini V10s ever again.
4. Dodge Viper
The Viper was America’s response to European V10 supercars. It debuted as a production model in 1991 but was axed in 2010, due to economic problems within Chrysler. This iconic V10-powered American muscle was revived in 2013 and was again discontinued in 2017. The speciality of the Viper is what lies under the hood. A massive 8.0-litre naturally aspirated V10 powered the first-generation Viper and the capacity increased to 8.4 litres over the years. This engine was built in collaboration with Lamborghini. The V10 was based on the Chrysler LA V8 and Lamborghini helped Chrysler, its previous parent company, to design the aluminium block castings. This engine, though it was a V10, had a distinctive roar when revved. Also, this engine was known for its higher torque output. The V10 in its final iteration was rated at 645bhp and 813Nm of torque with the 2015 SRT Viper. Dodge built a total of 31,500 units of the Viper, including 2050 units for Canada and 1730 units for the foreign markets.
5. BMW E60 M5
The BMW E60 M5 needs no introduction as it was the world’s first production sedan with a roaring V10 under the hood. Despite its infamous reliability issues, the E60 M5 is definitely an icon in the automotive scene. The E60 debuted in the same year as the Lamborghini Gallardo in 2004. Internally named the S85, this 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V10 was rated at 500bhp and 520Nm of torque. This beast of an engine came mated with a seven-speed single-clutch automated manual gearbox, but BMW also offered a six-speed manual gearbox exclusively for the U.S. market. BMW’s M division developed the engine specifically for the E60 M5, which was later introduced with the E63 M6, and was not based on other BMW engines. BMW’s previous F1 involvement was the inspiration behind the development of the V10 engine. BMW built 20,589 units of the E60 M5, including 1025 Touring models, during its five-year production run.
Apart from these five cars, there are a few notable mentions, such as the C6 generation Audi RS6, the D3 generation Audi S8, also the Volkswagen Touareg. The Audi RS6 from 2008-2010 employed an in-house developed 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V10. On the other hand, the second-gen Audi S8 shared the 5.2-litre V10 engine from the second-gen Gallardo. However, the most unusual among them is the diesel-run 5.0-litre V10 found with the 2002-2008 Touareg. This engine had a turbocharger and was rated at 309bhp and 750Nm of torque. Lastly, the Lamborghini Huracan and the Audi R8 came close but it all started with the Gallardo, which is why these successors couldn’t make the cut.