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Luxury cars are known for their over the top performance and features. Aside from that, these expensive automobiles that separate them from the rest—their oversized powertrain. But why are luxury cars equipped with big engines and not smaller, fuel-efficient ones?
Car manufacturers put large engines in luxury cars for several reasons, but most of them are centered on their performance. The larger the powertrain, the more power it produces, and the faster the car can accelerate. Additionally, the size of the engine also affects its top speed and overall ride quality.
The majority of the luxury cars in the market are equipped with powerful engines from V6 to V12 engines. While traditional luxury cars have the front-engine rear-wheel-drive layout, the more modern models incorporate the all-wheel drivetrain.
For an engine to achieve the utmost power output, it must have a huge engine displacement. For this reason, most luxury cars have engines that displace 6.0-Liter of fuel or more. However, smaller engines can also boost their horsepower rating through turbocharged technology, which allows more air into the engine.
Reasons Why Luxury Cars Have Big Engines
Aside from keeping their grandiose personality, there are several reasons why luxury cars are equipped with massive engines. After all, bigger is always better in the automotive world. Forget about fuel efficiency, because when it comes to the big league cars, it’s all about performance.
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Below are some of the points why car makers put big engines into their luxury car models:
1. Reach an Insane Top Speed
It’s no secret that luxury cars have some of the most jaw-dropping top speeds in the automotive industry. Thanks to the high output of their enormous engines, they can easily outspeed any regular cars. Furthermore, most luxury cars are already pre-tuned, which means you have your work cut out for you.
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur, for example, can reach up to 200 miles per hour. It can achieve such a feat thanks to its twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine, which supplies 616 horsepower. Because of its big engine, it’s also able to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in just 4.3 seconds.
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2. Reduce Vibrations
Bigger engines don’t need to stress themselves to reach incredible speeds since they have more power strokes and cylinders. Because of this design, they have smoothened the idle when running that ultimately reduces vibrations on the powertrain.
Consequently, fewer vibrations also equate to decreasing the harshness in the vehicle. In automotive slang, harshness is that unpleasantly rough experience that can be jarring to the sense of the passengers. In short, reducing the vibrations in the engine allows luxury cars to stick to their identity as “premium” automotive.
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3. Minimize Engine Noise
Smaller engines tend to be noisy, especially when they are hitting near their top speeds. In contrast, large engines don’t need to exert much effort to reach highway speeds of over 60 miles per hour. Hence, big engines significantly contribute to the driving experience of the car, both for the driver and passengers alike.
Additionally, most luxury car owners look for a car with a specific engine sound that is “music” to the ears of a true aficionado. Big engines usually have that distinct “growling” sound when you are revving up.
4. Better Handling and Ride Quality
The driving experience of a car can be a bit subjective since there are so many factors to take in. Handling, for example, entails things like how the vehicle moves into different driving situations like taking a turn or switching gears. However, there is no denying that the more horsepower and torque also doesn’t hurt.
Another reason why big engines favor luxury vehicles is its exemplary throttling. This means you can accelerate fast while still maintaining comfortable ride quality. Moreover, luxury cars often have highly advanced transmission systems that can control their excessive horsepower.
5. More Torque
Torque is often overlooked when it comes to luxury cars because it’s often associated with towing capacity. However, the torque also plays a massive role in things like how a vehicle handles turns and corners. Some owners of luxury SUVs may also welcome.
Furthermore, the extra horsepower you get from massive engines can help carry the additional weight of luxury cars. Car manufacturers often throw in a bunch of equipment that makes luxury cars heavier than regular cars in their respective categories.
RELATED: 15 Pros and Cons of Heavier Cars
Examples of Luxury Cars with Big Engines
The word “luxury” is often associated with grandness and excessiveness. If you are paying a small fortune for a luxury car, you want it to have the best performance, features, ride comfort, and amenities that will separate it from a regular car.
Below are some luxury cars that are equipped with large engines:
1. Dodge Viper
The Dodge Viper is equipped with the largest automotive engine in current production– an 8.4-Liter V10 engine from Chrysler. Thanks to its massive powertrain, the Viper oozes with 640 horsepower and 600 pound-foot of torque, which is all that this muscle slash supercar needs.
The engine block weighs around 323 kilograms and is 50 kilograms lighter than what can be found on a similar 10-cylinder cast iron truck version. Surprisingly, Lamborghini was actually behind the project when it was owned by Chrysler a few years ago.
2. Aston Martin DB11
This British car is one of the few luxury cars that boast a twin-turbocharged V12 powertrain under its hood. The 5.2-liter engine produces 630 horsepower and 516 lb-ft, which is enough to propel it from 0-100 kilometers per hour in just 3.6 seconds.
Aston Martin also released an AMR Signature Edition car of the DB11, which features Lime Green accents over a Stirling Green color scheme. Only 100 units of this variant were produced, and it’s the base price starts at $241,000.
3. BMW 7 Series
When we talk about luxury cars, most European car brands come to mind, especially BMW. The seven series have consistently been the German brand’s flag bearer in the “premium” automotive category. The latest range of the BMW 7-series comes with a wide variety of large engines with different outputs.
For example, its midrange powertrain is a 4.4-Liter turbocharged V8, which supplies 446 horsepower on top of a 479 lb-ft torque. It can accelerate from 0-100 kilometers in under 4.3 seconds. The 7 series also comes with more powerful V10 and V12 engines.
4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Mercedes-Benz is another European luxury car brand that comes to mind when it comes to high-performance vehicles. The C-Class is one of the smallest cars in its fleet, but it certainly is not a slouch when it comes to driving quality.
Equipped with a modest V6 engine, the mid-level Mercedes-Benz C-Class can spurt out 362 horsepower. However, if you want more power, you can opt-in for an AMG C63 S variant, which brandishes a twin-turbo V8 with 503 horsepower.
5. Land Rover Range Rover Velar
This highly decorated luxury SUV combines a robust body with an elegant design. The Velar has three powertrain options, with the biggest one being the 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine. Thanks to this colossal engine, the Velar can rack up 550 horsepower, which can be distributed through its four-wheel drivetrain and controlled with 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Range Rover Velar is also a bonafide off-roader thanks to its high ground clearance and 19-inch aluminum wheels. Land Rover also equipped it with all the bells and whistles such as full LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, and a 10-inch infotainment system.
Learn more about luxury cars when you get the book Luxury and Speed: World’s Greatest Cars
Luxury cars have big engines because they complete their flamboyant persona. Moreover, these premium vehicles also benefit from things like added horsepower and torque. Overall, large drivers simply complete the persona of a luxury vehicle in terms of performance and comfort.
What are the different luxury vehicle categories?
Luxury vehicles are divided based on their market segments, much like regular cars. However, they don’t usually come in hatchback and pickup truck bodies. Below are the different luxury car categories:
- Premium Compact
- Compact Executive
- Executive or Mid Size
- Full-Size Luxury Sedan
- Ultra Luxury
- Luxury Crossover / SUV
What is considered a luxury vehicle?
Luxury cars are often sold to more well-off clients who can afford their high sticker price. Aside from looking stylish, they usually have the most powerful engines and tons of amenities that improve comfort. Furthermore, they are also loaded with premium equipment, such as leather trims and tech-centric gadgetries.
Why are luxury cars heavier than regular cars?
When compared to regular cars in the same category, luxury cars tend to be 10 to 20 percent heavier. Most luxury vehicles are equipped with equipment you won’t find in mass-produced cars, such as all of the latest safety and navigation features.