anatomy of a sportscars engine

So What is it About a Sportscar’s Engine That Really Makes it Go Fast and Purr like it Does? Here are the Answers..


Sports cars and high performance cars are distinct from most other vehicles, owing to their power, speed, and purring sound. They achieve these features because of their special engines – the V-Engines.

Why V-Engines are the Ideal Choice for Sportscars

The V-engine is an internal combustion engine configuration, whereby the piston alignment takes the shape of a “V” when viewed along the positioning of the crankshaft. The anatomy of a sportscars engine offers many benefits, which make the engines ideal for powering sports cars. Some of these benefits include:

1. Smaller Engine Size

V-engines are more compact than the conventional inline engine configurations, owing to their comparatively shorter crankshafts. The advantages of reduced engine length, weight, and height include:

  • The V-engines are smaller, but have similar or even higher engine capacity to equivalent inline engines.
  • The V-engines are able to fit in smaller engine bays.
  • The short length allows the V-engines to be mounted either on the front, or at the back. However, mounting the engine on the front of the car ensures that all the weight is distributed past the front axle, or towards the middle of the car, which improves the weight distribution and handling.
  • A shorter crankshaft means less flexing and in effect reduces wear and tear on the main bearing.
  • The shorter and separate cylinders heads, as well as shorter crankshaft decreases the distance and surface area through which pressurized oil from the oil pump has to travel. This results in improved engine cooling.

2. Smooth power deliver


V-engines offer a higher number of power strokes per revolution, as compared to other engine configurations. As a result, the engines’ power delivery is much smoother, especially at low RPM.

3. Reciprocating masses

The V-engine configuration offers an increased number of cylinders in a smaller package. An increase in the number of cylinders lowers the mass of reciprocating components in an engine, including pistons and valves, for a given displacement. Therefore, V-engines are able to produce more power for a given displacement, due to the higher RPM that results from the lowering of the reciprocating masses.

4. Improved Gas Flow

The higher number of cylinders in a V-engine for a given displacement creates additional room within the cylinder heads for valves. In effect, the gas flow in the intake manifold is improved, and there is low restriction for exhaust and intake gases.

The Anatomy of a Sportscars Engine – What produces the distinct Purr?

V-engines have an irregular firing order. Each time a cylinder fires, it creates an exhaust pulse. Having two cylinders firing on the same side, in a given sequence, creates two opposing exhaust pulses, which results in an unevenly high exhaust pressure and loud noise. The purr is created when this noise escapes through the tailpipe.

Wendy Feliu