Is your V8 just not cutting it any longer? Perhaps you need an extra pair of cylinders. We pick five of our favourite V10s
Mark Pearson Autocar
22 September 2015

A big engine doesn't need to cost big money, as these V10-engined cars start from as little as £6000.

1 - Bristol Fighter (2004-2011)

The trouble with the V8 Bristols is that there are simply too many of them. Better by far to invest in the Fighter, a 525bhp 8.0-litre V10-engined, two-seat, gullwing-doored supercar, of which there are only 13.

Bristol tweaked both the humble Chrysler V10 and its six-speed gearbox, so what you get is a rare and fast car: 0-60mph in 4.0sec and a top speed of 210mph. As with all Bristols, it’s quirky, quixotic and intelligent, with an aluminium body, a low centre of gravity and steering and handling you can set up to your own tastes. Alas, a proposed 1012bhp twin-turbo version, with a 275mph top speed, was never built.

You won’t find many of these low-drag, lightweight, thoughtfully designed cars for sale, but £160,000 buys you one when you do.

2 - Volkswagen Phaeton V10 (2003-2007)

The Phaeton was VW showing us what it could do. It was large, luxurious and exquisitely made. It had four-wheel drive and a beautiful cabin with exceptionally comfortable seats, and there was even a long-wheelbase version for oligarchs to stretch out in the back of. It was subtle, classy, soft riding and, with the W12 engine from the Bentley Continental to power it, impressively refined and fast.

With this gravelly 306bhp 5.0-litre V10 twin-turbo diesel, though, it turns a little rough. It has enormous shove - 553lb ft - but on the road it never feels quick. Its brakes feel a little disconcerting and its official economy is a woeful 24.9mpg.

Problems are few, however, and such luxury can be yours from as little as £6k.

3 - Audi RS6 (2008-2010)

It may look like a beefed-up version of the car your solicitor drives, but underneath beats a 571bhp 5.0-litre V10 related to the unit found in a Lamborghini Gallardo.

The RS6 goes like stink; 0-62mph takes 4.6sec and it’ll top 170mph if you derestrict it. It has massive tyres and four-wheel drive to cope with its thuggish power. You can even drift it around a track all day, and, if you buy the Avant version, you can take the dog, too.

Alas, on the road the ride is so stiff that it can make grown men weep, the steering is a bit peculiar and the throttle and brakes are too sharp.

Pick one up now for £25,000, or try its precursor, the milder 429bhp V10-powered S6, with prices from £12,000.

4 - Lexus LFA (2010-2012)

A fire-breathing carbonfibre supercar isn’t what you associate with Lexus, purveyor of beautifully made but essentially rather dull eco-luxury cars.

In fact, the only thing the LFA has in common with a regular Lexus is its superb build quality. It’s wide and low, unfettered by hybrid activity and packing a 552bhp 4.8-litre V10 under its bonnet. It can dispatch 0-62mph in 3.7sec and hit 202mph. And it does all this with utter suaveness, emitting the most glorious noise as it goes. The roadholding is exemplary, the handling superb, the ride amazing and the interior a work of art.

Only 500 were made, costing £336,000 new; now you’re looking at £400,000. Worth every penny.

5 - BMW M5 (2005-2010)

The iron fist in the velvet glove of this Bangle-designed BMW is a ferocious and utterly amazing 507bhp 5.0-litre V10.

Drive is transmitted to the rear wheels through a seven-speed SMG paddle-shift transmission. This tech-fest can see off 0-62mph in around four seconds and 0-100mph in less than 10. Top speed is a limited 155mph, but once derestricted the car can fly up to 205mph.

Most impressively, it responds with utter alacrity to every command. Throttle and steering responses are top notch and the brakes sublime. Here is a car that is happy to potter around town and delighted to drift around a circuit.

There’s plenty to go wrong, however, and many will have been used hard, so check the condition carefully. Prices start from £12,000. 

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

BMW M5
The latest BMW M5 gets twin-turbocharged V8 engine

The BMW M5 is crushingly capable, but some of the charm of old M5s is gone

Join the debate

Comments
4

22 September 2015
Gallardo? Surely?

22 September 2015
eseaton wrote:

Gallardo? Surely?

Common as muck, and the obvious choice.

 

22 September 2015
Seriously, the Fighter?

22 September 2015
The 5 litre V10 in the first generation Gallardo was developed by Audi, but not related to any other forthcoming V10 engines.

The 5.2 litre V10 in the 2nd 3rd gen Gallardo, S6 (C6), S8 (D3), R8 5.2, are different tunes of the same engine and developed from the V8 4.2 FSI. The 5.0 TFSI in the RS6 (C6) is a destroked version with many unique parts.

And of course as said above, R8, Gallardo and S8 are sorely missing from the list, considering those are way more sensible options. The Fighter and the Phaeton are a joke, hopefully.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK