Spits, snorts, rumbles, and whomps: Who says all new cars are boring? Here are five production motors that are definitely Jalopnik-approved.
This is for those of you who think that modern machinery is dull, that there isn't anything out there worth pawning a kidney for. We're talking series-production stuff here; microscopic manufacturers need not apply. Hang onto your valuables and leave all sharp objects at the door. These engines is nuts.
Mercedes-Benz AMG 6.2-liter V-8 (C63 only)
What: 6.2-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V-8. Aluminum block, aluminum heads. 451 hp @ 6800 rpm; 443 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm.
Why: Because it crackles and snorts at idle. Because it will actually pop and spit on overrun if you toe in a little bit of throttle. Because it sounds like a cross between the pits at Englishtown and a DTM car that wants to break your face. Stuttgart sticks this engine in almost everything it builds, but it's somehow louder, angrier, and coarser in the C63 than it is anywhere else. A diabolical V-8 built by crack-smoking German engineers with a fetish for good hamburgers and the music of Glenn Danzig.
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: Wonder how much more awesome Talladega would be with a touch of balls-out blitzkrieg.
Photo Credit: The Car Spy / Flickr
Cadillac 6.2-liter "LSA" V-8 (CTS-V)
What: 6.2-liter, 16-valve V-8. Iron block, aluminum heads. 556 hp @ 6100 rpm; 551 lb-ft @ 3800 rpm.
Why: It's big, it's has pushrods and a supercharger, and it's in a Cadillac. (A Cadillac, people.) It pulls until Christmas and doesn't seem to care that it's hauling around four doors and a dairy farm's worth of leather. As a factory-backed, 100,000-mile-durable proposition, the LSA is nuts. Between a CTS's front fenders, it's undiluted madness.
(Those things on the left? Those are the blower rotors. They're art. When was the last time anything in a Cadillac's engine bay qualified as art?)
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: Throw away any and all doubt you have about the talent of Detroit's engineers. Look up the word "whompy" in the dictionary. Giggle.
Porsche 3.8-liter H-6 (911 GT3 only)
What: 3.8-liter, DOHC, 24-valve flat six. Aluminum crankcase, cylinder jugs, and heads. 435 hp @ 7600 rpm; 317 lb-ft at 6250 rpm.
Why: The movie Le Mans, that's why. Or maybe the titanium connecting rods, the seven oil pumps, and the fact that it sounds exactly like a 2.7-liter Carrera RS sounds in your head. (Hint: It's hollow and made almost entirely of love.) This is the heritage freak-out, the motorsport-focused mill that revs to the moon and produces all of its power at the north end of the tach. Words don't do it justice, except to say that there is no earthly reason why a modern engine should sound this wonderful, be this single-minded, and be available to ordinary men.
See that jumbled mass of plumbing over there? We used that snoozy picture for a reason: Like most modern Porsche powerplants, the GT3's six looks like little more than a horny water heater. Never judge a book by its cover.
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: Instantly conclude that your entire life has been a complete waste of time. (Did you design this thing? I don't think so. Go twiddle your thumbs, Bunkenheimer.) Deutschland über your mother.
Ferrari 4.3-liter V-8 (F430 Scuderia/Scuderia Spider 16M)
What: 4.3-liter, DOHC, 32-valve V-8. Aluminum block and heads. 503 hp @ 8500 rpm; 347 @ 5250 rpm.
Why: It's a Ferrari V-8. More specifically, it's an F430's flat-crank V-8 with higher compression and higher output. It's busy, it's nervous, and in Scuderia/16M tune — especially in the roofless 16M, where the yowl is loud enough to liquefy your eyeballs — it wants to crack your skull open and dry-hump your gray matter.
Remember that noise from Animal Planet, the one that cheetahs make when they're about to leap into a pack of running gazelles? Speed that up, bump up the pitch, and play it through a speaker the size of the Chrysler Building. Nothing built by human hands should sound this unhinged.
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: Get pregnant. Even — wait, no, especially — if you're not a woman. (You're essentially driving undiluted sex. What did you expect?)
Anything They Put In The Ariel Atom
What: Depending on where and when you bought it, anything from a Honda K20A four-cylinder to a 3.0-liter, 500-hp V-8.
Why: The engine's main air intake is literally five inches behind your ear. When you stab the throttle in an Atom, your brain gets sucked down that duct and spit into next Tuesday. If you're wearing a helmet, you'll probably be OK; if not, you'll wake up naked and carless in the Falklands wondering why your tongue hurts. (Lesson? Whatever you do, don't screw with the Brits.)
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: Go deaf. Whirring, whistling, sucking, screaming, agony-of-Armageddon deaf. Loud doesn't even begin to describe it.
RUNNER-UP: Lexus 4.8-liter V-10 (LFA)
What: 4.8-liter, DOHC, 40-valve V-10. Aluminum block and heads. 553 hp @ 8700 rpm; 354 lb-ft @ 6800 rpm.
Why: Lexus is trying to reinvent itself, and nothing screams reinvent like a supercar with a weight-obsessed design team and a set of hydraulic shift paddles. This from the company that gave the world the Camry Hybrid. Anything that goes under the LFA's hood is crazy on principle, much less a V-10.
Thing You Will Do The First Time You Floor It: We're not quite sure, largely because Wes is the only one who's driven it. He communicates in a language all his own. (Much like the Burger King chicken fry, Siler is a mystery to modern science. Also, he wears tight pants. You can't trust anybody in tight pants.)