If you wanted to hand someone a list including every automaker producing V10s for the mass market right now, it would be a blank sheet of paper. The ten-cylinder engine was always a bit of an oddity in the automotive scene, only catching on as a very niche option. The V10 already didn't exist as a mainstream, mass-market engine in recent years, and with the end of the Audi R8 and the Huracan, even the niche market is drying up.

At last check, there were only three automakers still carrying V10s in 2024 and only two companies building them. And none of these engines are found in vehicles you can just go pick up at the local dealership. Here's everything you need to know about the rise and fall of the V10 engine and where to look if you want to drive one in 2024.

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A Brief History of the V10

The most iconic car equipped with a V10 may be the Dodge Viper, launched in 1991 with the base engine being a 488 cubic-inch 8.0-liter ten-cylinder cranking out 400 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, showing the world what you could achieve by simply adding two more cylinders than any reasonable automaker would ever think to add to an engine. The Viper was far from the first V10, being predated by various diesel-powered locomotives, military vehicles, commercial trucks, and Daimler-Benz buses, but Dodge's two-door convertible helped to popularize the V10 road car, being the first of its kind to run on gas, not diesel.

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V10s were appealing because they were more powerful than a V8 but didn't demand as much space as a V12. This made it easier to offer V10s as an option in the same cars you would offer a V6 or a V8.

The V10 sort of had its moment in the 2000s. About a decade after the launch of the first Dodge Viper, you had a whole range of luxury and sports cars packing ten cylinders, like the Volkswagen Touareg in 2002, the Lamborghini Gallardo in 2003, and the Audi R8 coupe in 2006. The Lexus LFA was also famously equipped with a V10 that revved so quickly it had to have a digital instrument cluster. However, the layout never became more than a niche product within the automotive industry.

Ford Triton V10




362 hp


460 lb-ft

For most drivers, the only chance you're ever going to get to own a ten-cylinder auto is going to be a Ford Triton V10. This is a 6.8-liter crate engine currently available in certain Ford commercial trucks like the F-650 and F-750 and large vehicle applications like the Blue Bird Vision school bus and the F53 motorhome chassis. If you want to drive one of these brand-new monsters, you're probably going to need a CDL.

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On the other hand, if you're looking at the used market, you could keep an eye out for a Ford Excursion. We've spotted listings for ten-cylinder Excursions for as low as $7,500. That's a great price, but you'll make it up at the pump, as you can expect a combined average fuel economy of around 12 MPG in a 2000 model. The good news is that it shares many parts with Ford's 5.4-liter V8, and the Triton is known for its simple, reliable build, so you won't be spending as much on repairs as you might expect.

Judd V10 For The McLaren Solus GT




829 hp


479 lb-ft

If you're looking for something a little sportier than a school bus, you can still get your hands on a McLaren Solus GT, a supercar with a 5.2-liter Judd Power V10 capable of hitting a 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds. Judd's website lists a handful of V10s, including the 5.0-liter GV used to place the Pescarolo team in fourth at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2004, and second in 2005. But these are one-offs and competition engines. If you want something you can own as a civilian without a racing team behind you, the Solus is it. And it's not street-legal. And it's a single-seater. And it costs three million dollars.

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Judd V10 For The De Tomaso P900




888 hp


470 lb-ft

The De Tomaso P900 is a track-only racer made in a run of just 18 models for three million bucks each. De Tomaso's stated end goal is an environmentally friendly V12 that runs on synthetic fuels. In the meantime, the car is currently available with a Judd V10 based on the one found in the 1997 Benetton B197 F1.

It should help to illustrate our point that V10s are a dying breed when you consider that one of the few cars currently available with a ten-cylinder engine is only carrying it as a placeholder for a more powerful twelve-cylinder.

Why Don't They Make V10s Anymore?

V10s are impractical, they're hard to push through emissions regulations, they occupy a weird middle ground where they might not fit in a lot of street-legal vehicles, but they're not as powerful as larger V12s, they're very thirsty, and they're less stable than V8s, operating as a pair of inline-fives which creates an odd rocking effect. But that's all been true for a long time. So, what's changed in the last decade or so, that has essentially killed the V10 as a viable option, even in supercars and extra big trucks? The bottom line is that they're not necessary anymore.

When Dodge built the first Viper, they started with a Chrysler LA V8 engine, bumping the horsepower up by adding two extra cylinders, resulting in one of the largest capacity engines ever made. If you wanted to do the same today, you'd probably take a V6 or a V8 and equip it with a pair of electric motors and twin turbos to achieve the same results in a less cumbersome way.

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Electric vehicles are not the only way forward, and automakers have found ways to keep our favorite engines running for longer.

In fact, that's exactly what Lamborghini is doing with the Huracan's successor. The upcoming Lamborghini Temerario is a mid-engine bi-turbo V8 with a hybrid powertrain helping it to get up to 791 hp. New developments in engine technology mean that the V10 is more of a novelty than it is a viable powerplant to build a car around, whether it's for the mass-market or millionaire car collectors.

V10s create some of the most gorgeous engine notes you'll ever hear, but at the end of the day, automotive engineers are looking for the most efficient way to achieve exceptional power output. Ten-cylinders just don't make sense as a means of shaving milliseconds off your 0-60 sprint when you could do the same with an electric motor and a turbocharger and not have the EPA breathing down your neck over it.

2024-07-10T07:29:56Z dg43tfdfdgfd