- No 1: Ferrari 812 Superfast
- No 2: Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae
- No 3: Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Over the last several days, we ran Buyer’s Guides suggesting the best-sounding cars powered by V8s and V10s, cars to enjoy before electrification takes over. Today, let’s look at three of the best-sounding V12-powered cars.
For silly money—exceeding $2 million—you can buy an exquisite sounding V12 powered car, like the Ferrari FXX, Lamborghini Veneno, Maserati MC12, or an Aston Martin Vulcan. For me, that FXX is the ultimate V12—its exhaust note is mind-numbing stuff. But it costs over $2 million, so we will leave it up there in the stratosphere.
We want to try to keep things within the realm of reality, so we’ve opted for V12s that come in at around $500,000 or under. If these numbers seem rather steep, and we know they are, then we recommend you check out the V8 Buyers Guide, where two of the Top 3 are priced at under $90,000.
Unfortunately for V12-lovers, but fortunate for the planet (many would say), 12-cylinder engines are a rare and rapidly dying breed. One of the greatest V12 engines of them all, that of the Lamborghini Aventador, is now in its last naturally-aspirated iteration with the brand’s first V12 plug-in hybrid slated for launch later this month in a car that will replace the Aventador.
So here are our Top 3 best-sounding V12-powered cars.
Ferrari 812 Superfast
- Price: Starting from $338,000 (in 2020)
- Power: 789 hp
It’s delicious, and yes, this one if the mightiest V12 of them all. And it’s our No 1 choice. The Ferrari 812 Superfast boasts a front-mounted, 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 mated to a rear-drive setup that pumps out 789 hp and 529 lb-ft of torque. It revs to 8900 rpm and when pushed to anything over 5000 rpm, the exhaust note roars prodigiously, sounding like legendary rock band Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan belting out Highway Star. Top Gear’s Chris Harris said, “ no one else makes a car like this. The engine is at the core of that. It’s a rolling national anthem to everything that makes Italy great.” One day in the future, when they display an internal combustion engine, long after EVs have taken over, they will most probably opt for this V12, and a red button you push to hear it scream.
Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae
- Price: Starting from $507,353
- Power: 740 hp
It might look like something Darth Vader would drive if invited to appear in the next Transformers movies, but the end-of-the-line Aventador Ultimae is an extreme machine in every sense of the word. And as we mentioned above, this model features the last raw V12. From its low-slung lines to its scissor doors to its difficulty getting in and out of, this Lambo wants to be the car everyone looks at. And listens to. Because when you punch its 740 hp 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 passed 6000 rpm, it sounds like AC/DC’s lead singer Brian Johnson, singing his heart on Thunderstuck. With its grippy AWD, this Lambo will jump from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds, which just happens to be the same as the 812 Superfast. When the Aventador replacement arrives with its V12 hybrid, we hope it sounds at least half as good as this one.
Aston Martin V12 Vantage
- Price: Starting from $300,000
- Power: 690 hp
The latest Vantage might have debuted in 2018, and received heaps of praise thanks to its design, but the brand’s end-of-an-era V12 Vantage arrived in 2022 packing a 690 hp 5.2-liter twin-turbo V12 shared with the DBS 11 and DBS Superleggera. Limited to just 333 units, this Aston will sprint to 60 mph in the mid-threes and top out at 200 mph. Unfortunately, the V12 Vantage is the last V12-powered Aston Martin model. Its tone when punished beyond 6000 rpm, sounds a little rawer than the Ferrari or Lambo, kind of like Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne singing Paranoid. To produce that sound, the Aston employs a revised design incorporating integrated twin pipes in its center-exit exhaust system, which is made of actual metal, albeit thinner than usual to save weight and to stop it from melting. That’s why it sounds so raw and glorious.
This is an easy choice for us as the Ferrari boasts the best-sounding V12 we’ve ever heard on a road-going car—apart from perhaps the FXX. Just not so easy for our bank accounts, right now. But if you’re looking for something that’s a little (just a little!!) more bank account-friendly then perhaps the V12 Vantage would satisfy your need for speed and your eardrums.