It seems with the rise of turbochargers, hybrids and emissions regulations, the high revving cars from the past are a dying breed. Having that extra part of the engine often enhances the driving experience, even if lower revving counterparts are more capable performers. To mark that fact, here are 7 of the most high revving vehicles on the road today.
Ferrari turned hybrids on their head with this one. The La Ferrari is the first mild hybrid from Ferrari, producing the highest power output of any Ferrari whilst also reducing fuel consumption by 40%. The car has a 6.3-litre, 789 horsepower V12 in a rear mid mounted position in combination with a 161 bhp motor system.
Unlike most hybrids, they didn’t cut off the power at around 6750rpm spoiling the fun. Instead, they kept the ability for the immensely powerful V12 to rev to 9000rpm! Also unlike a lot of the other high revving cars in this list, the hybrid KERS system allows for a combined torque of 664 lb·ft and that’s through the rear wheels!
The main defining factor of the LFA is probably its engine. The 4.8 litre V10 developed in combination with Yamaha revs to a sky-high 9500rpm. There are few cars quite like the LFA generally, and none that quite compare on the sound front. When it was built, between 2010 and 2012, the LFA had the highest revving V10 of any production car. To cope with such strain and resonance, the engineering team had to use forged aluminium pistons, solid titanium valves forged titanium connecting rods. To cope with revving speed, they also had to use a digital rev counter! Those cant have been cheap!
The LFA is most similar in sound and rev capacity to the V10 F1 cars that Toyota had produced in the early 2000s. These days, high revving engines tend to be on their way out favouring better performing lower revving turbo engines. The LFA, as good as it sounded was hardly a torque monster.
You would have to be mad to exclude the Mazda RX8s wankel rotary engine from this list. Revving to the identical 9000rpm as the LFA, here in the UK you could buy approximately 300 clean RX8s for the price of 1 £440,000 ($551,000), Lexus LFA! Due to the one directional manner of Wankel engines, they support the higher RPMs with a lot less resonance, vibration and other losses of a conventional piston engine. Don’t expect much torque though. 156lb ft is hardly ground-breaking. Still, its always fun to rev out engines to their peak so if that’s your bag, the RX8 is a great way of doing that on the cheap! Just watch those valve seals.
Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale
Anyone who has played the Forza Horizon series will know the pain of being beaten by one of these on the drag strip. Whilst on the game, they seem like they’re just a way make people pay to play, with a huge price tag, yet actually, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is one very beautiful, fast and rare car indeed. Alfa Romeo only built 18 road-going versions of the Tipo 33 racer ever!
The 33 essentially had the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33’s 2-litre V8 engine with twin overhead camshafts, a dry sump and fuel injection although it was slightly detuned. The engine had a redline of a screaming 10,000rpm producing a respectable 230hp. Its not like the 33 Stradale was heavy either Weighing just 700kg (1543lb), the 33 Stradale did the 0-60mph sprint in just 5.5 seconds eventually reaching 160mph. A high revving, 2 litre V8 sound is just something that wouldn’t exist these days!
Hondas have always been known for their high revving engines, no more so than the S2000. Perhaps at the peak of Hondas engineering capabilities, the S2000 was released with much fanfare in 1999 with a low-displacement, 4 pot engine. Powered by the F20C, the S2000 will rev to a mighty 9000rpm before hitting the redline. At the time, the S2000’s engine was a world record holder for producing the highest specific output in a naturally aspirated piston engine. Its not a big horsepower producer at just 240bhp, however the S2000 rewards and provides driver engagement like few other cars on the road.
Audi R8 V10 1st gen
First unveiled on the 8th December, 2008, Audis V10 5.2 litre FSI engine R8 soon became the bargain supercar of the time. Boasting the same engine as its way more expensive Lamborghini Gallardo brother, the R8 seemed like a better choice for those seeking a better value supercar. Putting out 522bhp and 391 lbf.ft, the R8 reached 60mph in 3.9 seconds. More importantly for this list however, the first gen R8 was less limited by emissions regulation than the new one, allowing the redline to be 8700rpm! Some claimed that the V8 R8 wasn’t really a supercar. That’s not really something you can claim about the V10 model, which reaches a max speed of 196.4 mph.
Tesla Model S
Alright, it’s not strictly speaking an engine, however the Tesla Model S motor spins so fast it seemed silly not to include. The P85Ds rear motor spins at a whopping 18,000 rpm. Better still, this redline can be increased with software changes as the cars develop. This redline will obviously only be reached at the maximum speed of 155 mph due to the Teslas one gear design. The great thing about electric motors is that they produce a lot of torque and rev very highly, with the model S P85D putting out an earth spinning 864 lb·ft. Perhaps in future, we will have geared electric cars that behave more like a conventional vehicle, or who knows, maybe even the RPMs will increase.