Here Are the 20 Best-Sounding F1 Cars

A symphony on wheels.

Ferrari 412 T1
Pascal RondeauGetty Images

Formula One has given us some of the greatest engine noises of all time. Here are the best of the best.

1 of 20
Lotus 33

The 33 was race through the mid 1960s, and proved to be fairly successful with Jim Clark behind the wheel, who took the championship in the 1965 season. The car's V-8 displaces just 1.5 liters, and sounds just lovely.

2 of 20
Brabham BT52

Not all F1 cars have big engines with lots of cylinders. Some, like the Brabham BT52, have turbocharged four-cylinder engines. As you can hear, that doesn't stop it from sounding wonderful.

3 of 20
Mercedes-Benz W196

Mercedes dominated the early days of F1 in the 1950s with the W196. A supercharged eight-cylinder engine sat in front of the driver but behind the front axle, making it a front mid-engine beast on track.

4 of 20
Minardi M191B

The M191B wasn't particularly successful during its time in F1, but it did have one thing going for it: That wonderful Lamborghini V-12 sound.

5 of 20
Ferrari 312T

The 312T used a 3.0-liter flat-12 engine layout to create a lower center of gravity. The "T" in its name represents the transverse gearbox layout used to give it better weight distribution. Also, it sounds nice. Very nice.

6 of 20
Mercedes-Benz W154

It might not be as ear-piercing as some of the other cars on this list, but Mercedes's W154 Silver Arrow still makes a thunderous noise. A 3.0-liter V-12 from the '30s will do that.

7 of 20
Honda RA272

Honda was mildly successful with the RA272, winning the Mexican Grand Prix in 1965. Equipped with a 1.5-liter V-12, it emits an impeccable noise.

8 of 20
Cosworth DFV

The DFV isn't a car—it's just an engine. Developed by Cosworth, it was featured in all sorts of F1 cars throughout the '60s and '70s, used by teams like Lotus, McLaren, and Brabham. It was successful, and more importantly for this discussion, it sounded great.

9 of 20
McLaren-Honda MP4/4

Today's F1 cars aren't the first to use forced induction. The series used turbo V-6s back in the 1980s. The difference? The 1980s versions actually sounded good. Let the MP4/4 demonstrate.

10 of 20
Ferrari F1/87

Ferrari's early turbo V-6 cars didn't sound half bad either. If you're not into today's muffled V-6 hybrid sounds, these cars are the ones to listen to.

11 of 20
Red Bull-Renault RB9

With these last few seasons of turbocharged hybrid V-6 cars, it's easy to forget what immediately preceded them. The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter V-8s were some of the greatest-sounding motors to come from F1.

12 of 20
Lotus 43-BRM H16

The Lotus 43-BRM is equipped with a 3.0-liter 16-cylinder engine formed by stacking two 1.5-liter flat-8s and gearing the crankshafts together. Unsurprisingly, it creates a symphony even at idle.

13 of 20
Ferrari F2001

Though many people call for the return of V-12s to F1, just as many people want the V-10s back. The screeching wail of Ferrari's 3.0-liter was unlike anything else.

14 of 20
BMW-Williams FW25

Of course, Ferrari's V-10 wasn't the only marvel. BMW and Williams teamed up in the early 2000s to race, and its car, the FW25, was simply wonderful to listen to.

15 of 20
McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10

Continuing with the V-10 theme, Mclaren's efforts in the 1990s included a partnership with Mercedes-Benz. While the MP4/10 wasn't very successful, it did make a hell of a noise.

16 of 20
McLaren MP4/20

Of course, Ferrari wasn't the only one with a magnificent-sounding V-10. The whole field was made up of various V10s at the time. The McLaren MP4/20 stands out as being one of the greatest.

17 of 20
Williams FW14B

The 3.0-liter V-10s are great, but they weren't the only 10-cylinder engines to grace the F1 world. The earlier, larger-displacement 3.5-liter V-10s made a great noise as well. Listen to both to see which one you like best.

18 of 20
Mercedes-Ben W125

If you've never heard the roar of the Mercedes W125's supercharged straight-eight engine, well, you're in for a treat. It sounds unlike anything else.

19 of 20
Matra MS11

The MS11 saw competition in 1968, equipped with a 3.0-liter V-12 and a seriously cool-looking exhaust. It never won a race, but that almost doesn't matter considering how good it sounds at full-tilt.

20 of 20
Ferrari 412 T2

Back in the 1990s, F1 was still running V-12s. Perhaps the greatest sounding in the field was Ferrari's 412, equipped with a 3.0-liter unit capable of revving past 15,000 rpm. If you're going to watch one video today, let it be this one. You won't be disappointed.

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