The V12 is the king of all cylinder arrangements. Sure, you can have something more exotic if you want just raw power, like the W16 in the Bugatti Veyron or a massive Straight-8 like in an old Duesenberg, but almost every timeless classic has twelve pistons arranged in a "V."
The V12 is inherently perfectly balanced, and that many pistons spinning along will always be able to sing a beautiful tune. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard a bad V12.
This isn't about the engine alone, however, it's about the car as well. Sometimes the engine lets down the car, as in the case of the Jaguar E-type, whose Lucas electrics caused constant problems, and sometimes its the car that lets down the engine, like the McLaren F1 (Totally kidding! Just making sure you're awake. Put those pitchforks away).
We decided to select this topic as the much-loved Aston Martin V12 Vantage is coming to the end of its production run, and as it meets that magical criteria of "small car-enormous engine" it is our honorary winner for today.