Forget turbocharging: 10 naturally aspirated engines worth your attention | Taza Khabre

Ask a gearhead what car engine he thinks is the best, and he’ll almost certainly name a supercharged engine. What is an atmospheric engine? It’s an engine that takes air from the environment at atmospheric pressure, mixes it with fuel, and ignites it to create power. Unlike turbocharged or supercharged engines, which draw in air and compress it beyond atmospheric pressure, naturally aspirated engines deliver power much more linearly, rev higher, and most importantly, sound better.

Unfortunately, the entertainment comes at a high price – higher emissions. Due to the fact that the industry is forced to adhere to stricter regulations, most major manufacturers are gradually abandoning non-supercharged engines. Only a few atmospheric cars are still for sale, and we have compiled a list of the 10 most interesting of them.

10 Ferrari F140 6.5L V12

via the Intercooler YouTube channel

With emissions regulations being the strictest they’ve ever been, it’s truly a wonder how Ferrari managed to sell the 812’s massive 6.5-litre V12, and that too without any electrification. Getting such a naturally aspirated engine up to speed was a huge hurdle, but Ferrari knew it was worth it. The F140 is an engineering masterpiece that traces its origins back to the Ferrari Enzo. In its current, most powerful iteration, it develops over 830 hp. and revs to a stratospheric 9,500 rpm, producing an ecstatic 12-cylinder symphony that few supercars can match. The F140 is the jewel in the crown of Ferrari engines, and for good reason. This is as close as possible to automotive nirvana.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Ferrari 812, Purosangue

Model

Front engine

power

830 hp

A turning point

510 lb-ft

Method of transmission

7-speed DCT

0-60 mph

2.8 seconds

The highest speed

211 mph

9 Porsche MA2.75 4.0L Flat-6

Porsche 911 GT3 RS, front view on pit lane
through Porsche

As one of the most uniquely positioned engines in history, the naturally aspirated six-cylinder Porsche 911 has a cult following of its own. Even though the standard 911 lineup has switched to forced induction, Porsche simply refuses to let the naturally aspirated version of its iconic engine die. That’s why the top of the 911 range, the GT3 and GT3 RS, are equipped with this delightfully shrill engine, as well as the sportier models of the Porsche 911. GT3 buyers get an even sweeter deal, as they can spec the Flat-6 with an optional 6-speed manual transmission. Combine that with a 9,000rpm redline and a mountain road, and you’ve got the ultimate driving experience.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Porsche 911 GT3, GT3 RS, 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Model

Rear engine location, central engine location (Cayman)

power

503-518 hp

A turning point

347 lb-ft

Method of transmission

7-speed DCT, 6-speed manual

0-60 mph

3.3 seconds

The highest speed

186 mph

On the subject: This Porsche 911 GT3 sounds so good it turned Porsches for life.

8 Lexus 2UR-GSE 5.0L V8

Lexus LC500 on the road
Via bizjournals.com

The Japanese manufacturer being one of the few to offer a naturally aspirated V8 is certainly unusual, but we couldn’t be more grateful to Lexus for it. Co-developed by Yamaha and Toyota, the 2UR-GSE V8 does duty in Lexus’ high-performance “F” cars, and emits a raspy, booming soundtrack as it climbs to its 7,300-rpm redline. Motorsport pedigree is also part of the package as this engine is used in the Gazoo Racing Toyota Hilux Dakar truck. Japanese V8s are as reliable as they are rare, and with Toyota and Lexus focusing on hybrids and BEVs, this might be a good time to pick one up.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Lexus LC500, RC F, IS 500 F-Sport Performance

Model

Front engine

power

472 hp

A turning point

395 lb-ft

Method of transmission

10-speed automatic

0-60 mph

4.4 seconds

The highest speed

168 mph

7 Lamborghini L545 6.5L V12

Lamborghini Revuelto in the Lamborghini studio
via Lamborghini

The words “V12” and “Lamborghini” have been synonymous for the past 60 years. All of the brand’s flagship supercars are powered by incredibly impressive naturally aspirated V12 engines, and Lamborghini doesn’t want to break that tradition as emissions regulations tighten. The successor to the wildly popular Aventador, the Revuelto will continue the lineage, using a naturally aspirated L545 V12 paired with three hybrid engines for a total of 1,015 hp, making it the most powerful Lamborghini ever. We’ve heard it before engine roar at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speedand it’s fair to say that this V12 packs all the drama and glitz we’ve come to expect from the successor to the Aventador.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Lamborghini Aventador, Sian, Revuelto

Model

Medium engine

power

830 hp

A turning point

531 lb-ft

Method of transmission

8-speed DCT

0-60 mph

2.5 seconds

The highest speed

218+ mph

6 Ford 5.0L Coyote V8

Ford-Mustang-2024-1024-02
Source: netcars

In a relatively short period of time, Ford’s naturally aspirated V8 Coyote has already gained a huge following. Introduced in 2010 to take on tough competition from the Chevrolet LS3 and Chrysler HEMI, the Coyote managed to do just that. It had a higher redline at 7,500 rpm (which is very respectable for a transverse V8) and made about the same amount of power, but was much less powerful. And to top it off he let out a visceral growl that was so loud Ford had to include a “quiet mode” in the sixth-generation Mustang reduce complaints from the owners’ neighbors.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Ford Mustang S550, S650

Model

Front engine

power

486 hp

A turning point

418 lb-ft

Method of transmission

6-speed manual, 10-speed automatic

0-60 mph

4.3 seconds

The highest speed

155 mph

5 Chevrolet LT6 5.5L V8

An orange 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sports car is parked
Chevrolet

Jaws were on the floor when Chevrolet revealed the C8 Corvette Z06. The regular Stingray had already blurred the lines between affordability and performance, and the Z06 crossed them by a half-mile. A good reason for this is the Z06’s motorsport-built LT6 crank V8 engine, which is an absolute beast on paper. Headline numbers of 670 hp, 460 lb-ft and an 8,600 rpm redline are hugely impressive, but the soundtrack that goes with it is absolutely superior to just about any European supercar you can think of. This makes the Z06 one of the best naturally aspirated cars on sale today.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Chevrolet C8 Corvette Z06, C8.R race car

Model

Medium engine

power

670 hp

A turning point

460 lb-ft

Method of transmission

8-speed DCT

0-60 mph

2.6 seconds

The highest speed

200 mph

Related: Watch the 2023 C8 Corvette Z06 Prove Its Power on the Stand

4 Lamborghini 5.2L V10

Lamborghini Huracan STO
Through Lamborghini

Running for 20 years, Lamborghini’s famous V10 was a big reason why the Gallardo and Huracan became their best-selling models. Considered by many to be one of the best naturally aspirated engines of all time, in 2023 it was the last of its kind. However, Lamborghini has unfortunately decided to ditch this great unique engine in favor of a twin-turbo V8 hybrid for the Huracan successor. As far as production cars go, the V10 is officially dead. However, his latest foray into the Huracan Sterrato was phenomenal, revving to a divine 8,500rpm and singing its signature 10-cylinder song on the street.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Lamborghini Gallardo, Huracan, Audi R8

Model

Medium engine

power

630 hp

A turning point

443 lb-ft

Method of transmission

7-speed DCT

0-60 mph

2.8 seconds

The highest speed

202 mph

3 Chrysler HEMI 6.4L V8

2016 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack - Front
YouTube – GoldPony

The HEMI engine has an incredibly rich and enduring heritage. Its name comes from unique hemispherical shape of the combustion chamber, which allows a more powerful flame front to spread when the spark plug ignites the fuel-air mixture. Chrysler produced the first HEMI engines, dubbed “FirePower,” for World War II aircraft, and in 1951 they began selling cars such as the Imperial, New Yorker, and C-300 with this new engine. Launched over 70 years ago, the HEMI is a favorite among muscle car enthusiasts thanks to its classic grunt engine, powerful torque and optional manual transmission.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Dodge Charger SRT, Challenger SRT, Grand Cherokee SRT

Model

Front engine

power

485 hp

A turning point

475 lb-ft

Method of transmission

8-speed automatic, 6-speed mechanics

0-60 mph

4.3 seconds

The highest speed

176 mph

2 Toyota FA24D 2.4L Boxer-Four

toyota-gr-86-via-Motor1
Through the engine1

Even though it’s the smallest engine on this list, Toyota’s FA24D isn’t the worst. Carrying out duties on the current generation Toyota GR-86 and Subaru BRZ, the switch to naturally aspirated from the previous generation FA20D forced induction was a pleasant surprise. Ditching the turbo isn’t without its drawbacks either, as the new engine makes more power and torque (even at lower engine speeds), redlines at a respectable 7,000 rpm, and can be had with a manual transmission. Combining that with an affordable price makes the GR-86/BRZ one of the most entry-level sports cars you can buy.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Toyota GR86, Subaru BRZ

Model

Front engine

power

228 hp

A turning point

184 lb-ft

Method of transmission

6-speed automatic, 6-speed mechanics

0-60 mph

5.4 seconds

The highest speed

140 mph

On topic: This is the best feature of the 2022 Toyota GR 86

1 Chevrolet LT1 6.2L V8

2023 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Chevrolet

The Chevrolet LT family of small-block V8s is one of Chrysler’s most famous American HEMIs, but unfortunately, they live alongside the Camaro, which will be phased out in 2024. That makes the current… generation Camaro SS the swan song for the naturally aspirated LT1 V8, and we’d recommend anyone on the fence to pick it up right away. Over 450hp, massive torque, a manual transmission and a good old V8 is a package that should be irresistible to any gearhead.

Engine characteristics

Famous cars

Chevrolet Camaro SS

Model

Front engine

power

455 hp

A turning point

455 lb-ft

Method of transmission

10-speed automatic, 6-speed manual

0-60 mph

4 sec

The highest speed

180 mph

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