V6 vs V8 vs V10 vs V12 vs V16: Performance Analysis

V6-Vs-V8-Vs-V10-Vs-V12-Vs-V16 engines

Every time we see a car review or car release some terms are quite common.

V6 engine with 350 HP…V8 engine with 500 HP…and many other jargons. 

Now, most of us already know what these mean. As you know the basic stuff…V8 means 8 Cylinders, V10 means 10 cylinders, etc. 

But when you get into the nerdy stuff what do these numbers mean actually? I mean what do these mean for the performance of these beasts? 

I’m here to help you with just that. I’ll go all nerdy into the details of these engine types and I’ll compare these types from different performance metrics. I’ll try to explain what the tiniest details mean for the car at regular times and on the track. 

To be more specific, I’ll do a V6 vs V8 vs V10 vs V12 vs V16 here. 

Now, let’s rev directly into the details –    

Brief Comparison of V6 vs V8 vs V10 vs V12 vs V16

Here is a brief comparison table of V6 vs V8 vs V10 vs V12 vs V16 under a variety of performance characteristics.

Engine Type/ Performance V6 EngineV8 EngineV10 EngineV12 EngineV16 Engine 
No. of Cylinders68101216
Power 172-485 HP495-797 HP500-645 HP563-788 HP1000+ HP
Torque173-500 Lb Ft429-707 Lb Ft354-600 Lb Ft480-663 Lb Ft1000+ Lb Ft
Engine Displacement 2.0-4.0 L 4-6.2L5.0-8.4 L 5.0-6.75 L13.6 L 
Time To Reach 0-60 mph 2.9-7.5 sec2-3.8 sec2.7-4.9 sec2.7-5.1 secN/A
Top Speed 107-176 mph172-211 mph153-205 mph155-221 mph232 mph
Emission162-246 g/km277-294 g/km344-489 g/km306- 545 g/kmNA
Gas Mileage 18-23 mpg15-19 mpg12-15.9 mpg11-17 mpg7.7 mpg
SoundSmooth, refined with a rhythmic pulse.Aggressive, powerful with a deep throatier tone. 
Powerful, memorable sound. 
Smooth, refined, and luxurious. 
RPM 5800- 71006000-75005600-87005500-88005800
Weight361-450 lbs400-700 lbs620- 712 lbs462 -772 lbs N/A
Price Range$27-53 K$59-511 K$81- 448 K$165- 574 KN/A
Type of Car Sedan, SUV, Truck, Sports carsSports cars, Luxury vehicles, trucksHigh-performance sports cars, luxury vehiclesHigh-end luxury cars and sports carsHigh-end luxury cars
Famous Cars Ford GT, Maserati MC20Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang Shelby BMW M5, Dodge Viper Ferrari 812 GTS, BMW M7
Cadillac Sixteen 

At a glance, you can see that with added cylinders, fuel consumption is rising together with engine power and top speed. The V16 engine produces higher HP, torque, and top speed compared to V6, V8, V10, and V12. At the same time, V12, V8, and V10 engines perform better than V6 in all aspects other than gas mileage and emission.

On average V16s, and V12s have larger engine displacements and are more costly than V6, V8, and V10s. A V6 engine is preferred to V8, V10, and V12 because of its high gas mileage, and low emission.

Now, gear up for a deep dive into the world of V engines.

Number of Cylinders

The primary difference is in the number of cylinders. The number after the letter V indicates the number of cylinders in that engine.

Engine TypeV6 EngineV8 EngineV10 EngineV12 EngineV16 Engine 
No. of Cylinders68101216

A V6 has six cylinders compared to a V8 which has eight cylinders. Similarly, a V10 engine has ten cylinders in contrast to a V12 which has twelve cylinders. V16 engines have a total of sixteen cylinders against a V6 with only six cylinders.

Between V12 and V8, a V12 has two banks of six cylinders contrary to a V8 which has two banks of four cylinders. When comparing V6 and V10 engines, V10s have two banks of five cylinders while V6s have two banks of three cylinders.


Engine power is measured in HP and varies from engine to engine. As a rule of thumb, more cylinders mean more power for the engine. You will have more fun accelerating at high speed and towing heavy loads with a powerful engine. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Power (HP)172-485 HP495-797 HP500-645 HP563-788 HP1000+ HP

Here in the table, we can clearly see that the power range for engines is increasing. To answer your question, Which engine is more powerful V6 or V8?

A V8 engine is more powerful than a V6, at the same time a V12 produces a higher power than a V10. Likewise, V16 engines are more powerful than V6, V8, V10, and V12s. You might be wondering, Which engine is more powerful V12 or V8?

A V12 engine is more powerful than V8, V10, and V6 engines. Similarly, V10 engines produce more power (HP) than V6 and V8s.

This graph shows the relationship between different V engines and HP

From this graph, you can clearly see the difference in HP in V engines. Added cylinder means a larger and heavier engine that will burn more fuel. To get the same power output, a smaller engine can be modified such as turbocharging or supercharging.

Verdict: If you want a better power output then you should go for the V12 or V16 engine. However, the V16 engine isn’t available nowadays. 

This Photo shows the Cadillac V16 engine released in 2003.
Source: Conceptcarz.com 


Engine torque is measured in lb-ft. Torque is in layman’s terms the pulling power of an engine. A higher torque capability means ease of acceleration and better handling. Similar to engine power, the torque also increases gradually with the added number of cylinders. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Torque (lb-ft)173-500 lb-ft429-707 lb-ft354-600 lb-ft480-663 lb-ft1000+ lb-ft

We have considered both naturally aspirated and engines with forced induction in our comparison. Actually, when we look closely at V8, V10, and V12, the torque range doesn’t increase significantly.  

This graph shows how different V engines have varying torque

On average, a V10 or V12 will give you more towing power than a V6 or V8. Between V6 and V8 engines, a V8 has higher pulling power than V6s. Often turbocharging or supercharging an engine will increase its torque. If you are wondering Can a V8 have a turbo?

Yes. A V8 engine can be turbocharged. There are many V8 engines that are twin-turbocharged. You will notice one V8 engine, Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, produces 707 lb-ft torque which is much higher than a V12. This is because this V8 engine has a supercharger and intercooler.

On the other hand, most V12 engines are naturally aspirated or twin-turbocharged which don’t produce as much power as the turbocharger in V8. It’s harder to produce larger V engines so manufacturers usually modify smaller engines to produce high torque. 

Torque is especially important if you are looking for a quickly accelerating sports car. Two popular vehicles Ford GT, and Maserati MC20 both have V6 engines. You will get the same torque with a twin-turbo V6 engine as you would with a V8 engine. 

Verdict: V16 engine will give you the highest torque. However, it’s been out of production for a while so your best choice is a V8. 

Engine Displacement 

The V6 engine has six cylinders whereas V12 has 12 cylinders. So naturally, a V12 engine will be bigger and have a higher engine displacement value. Additionally, V6 and V8 engines will be more compact compared to V10 or V12 engines.

Engine Type V6V8V10V12V16
Engine Displacement (L) 2.0-4.0 L 4-6.2L5.0-8.4 L 5.0-6.75 L13.6 L 

V8, V10, and V12 have bigger engines than the V6 configuration. Now, you might be wondering which engine is bigger V10 or V12?

V12 engines are larger than V10, V8, and V6 engines. However, high-performing vehicles don’t need to have a large displacement. For example, F1 uses a 2.0L V6 engine that has a twin-turbo. 

This graph shows different V engines' displacements

From this graph, you can see that engine displacement overlaps for V engines. However, the trend shows V6 engines are the smallest and V16s are the largest engines. A bigger cc engine will consequently lead to higher fuel consumption as well. Sometimes in V12 or V16, manufacturers design it so that you can disengage a few cylinders to reduce fuel consumption. 

Verdict:  Other than V16 which isn’t in the market anymore, V10 has the highest engine displacement. For a sportscar, you can choose either V6, V8, or V12. 

Time To Reach 0-60 mph

How fast a vehicle can reach 60 mph determines its acceleration capability. High-end vehicles and sports cars need to be able to accelerate quickly. 

Engine Type V6V8V10V12V16
Time To Reach 0-60 mph (sec)2.9-7.5 sec2-3.8 sec2.7-4.9 sec2.7-5.1 secNA 

This table shows V8, V10, and V12 can go from 0-60 mph in around 2 to 2.7 seconds. One common ask among auto enthusiasts is, Are V8 faster than V6?

Yes. V8s are faster than V6 engines. V6 engines in production cars are a bit slower compared to V8, V10, and V12s. However, not all V8s are faster than V6 engines. There are some V8 engines that take longer to reach 60mph than a V6.

This graph shows acceleration time of different V engines

Among all V engines, V8 engines have the lowest acceleration time. It is no wonder that the famous Ford Mustang Shelby runs on a V8. The values in the table show a V12 can reach 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds. Does this mean all V12s are faster than V6s?

Yes. V12s are faster than V6 engines because on average, a V12 accelerates faster than a V6. How about a V16? What is the fastest V16? 

The 2003 Cadillac is the latest and fastest V16 engine. V16 engines are out of production for a while. The last manufacturer was Cadillac and it was a flop. 

Verdict: A V8 engine will take you to 60 mph quicker than a V6, V10, and V12 engine.

Top speed 

A vehicle’s top speed refers to the max speed a vehicle can reach. For sports cars, it is an integral part of the performance. Top speed is measured here in mph. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Top Speed  (mph)107-176 mph172-211 mph153-205 mph155-221 mph232 mph 

A bigger engine will crank out more power which results in high top speed. Now the logical question to ask is, Is a V16 engine fast? 

Yes. A V16 engine is pretty fast compared to other V engines. V16 engines have higher top speeds than V12, V10, V8, and V8. However, it is out of production so we will focus on the other four. For V8. V10 and V12 engines the top speed range is near one another and sometimes they overlap.

This graph shows top speeds of V6, V8, V10, V12 and V16 engine.

V8, V10, and V12 engines have higher top speeds In contrast to V6 engines. Among these four V12 has the highest top seed. A torchbearer of V12 engines, the Lamborghini Aventador S has a top speed of 221 mph. 

In comparison to a V10 engine, V12 engines have elevated top speed. However, between V8 and V10s, V8s give you higher max. speed than V10s. This is because manufacturers often turbocharge V8 engines to enhance performance.

This photo shows a Lamborghini Aventador S.
Source: Lamborghini.com

Verdict: If you want to feel the highest max speed on a V engine, get a V12 with 221 mph.


With strict emission regulations each year, manufacturers are moving towards engines that don’t burn a lot of fuel and contribute to huge carbon emissions. 

This graph shows different emission levels V engines.

This graph shows the amount of CO2 emission from different V engines. As a climate-conscious citizen, you might ask, Which V engine has the highest carbon emission?

V12 engines have the highest carbon emission in contrast to V6, V8, and V10s. Here in this graph, Carbon emission is measured in g/km. So which engine is more environmentally friendly V6 or V8?

 V6 engines are better for the environment than V8, V10, and V12 engines. V8 engine’s carbon emission is lower than V10 and V12s. On average, V10 emits lower CO2 per kilometer than a V12 engine.

Verdict: V6 engines have the lowest carbon emission.

Gas Mileage

How much fuel your vehicle needs to go a certain distance determines its gas mileage. Here we have calculated gas mileage in miles per gallon or mpg. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Gas Mileage (mpg)18-23 mpg15-19 mpg12-15.9 mpg11-17 mpg7.7 mpg

It is evident that a V16 engine goes the shortest distance with a gallon of fuel. This is because the engine displacement is highest for V16 and consequently it burns more fuel to run the cylinders. V16 has the lowest fuel economy against V6, V8, V10, and V12 engines.

This graph shows gas mileage in mpg for V engines.

V6 has the best gas mileage as opposed to V8, V10, and V12s. Similarly, V8 engines have better fuel economy than V10 and V12s. However, V10 and V12s go an identical distance with a gallon of fuel. So on average, V10s and V12s have matching fuel economy.

A follow-up question might pop up, V8 vs V10 fuel economy?

V8 engines have superior fuel economy than V10 engines. In the same way, the V6 engine’s fuel economy is better than V8, 10, and V12s. However, this is a minor concern for us motorsports lovers. At the end of the day, performance matters above everything else.

Verdict: V6 has the best gas mileage out of all other V engines. 


Engine rpm refers to the revolution per minute of the engine and it is an indicator of how many times your engine spins every minute. For your reference, average passenger vehicles have around 1500-2000 rpm at 100 km/h. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
RPM 5800- 71006000-75005600-87005500-88005800

All five types of engines have rpm ranging around the same value 5500-8800 rpm. 

The relationship between engine torque, hp, and rpm is shown below. 

 Horsepower = Torque x RPM / 5,252

So engine HP is distributed between torque and rpm. For towing or pulling a heavy load, drivers need high torque with low rpm. When speeding on a highway lower torque value is needed so the rpm will be high. 

These rpm values are significantly higher than passenger vehicles since these engines are used in high-end luxury vehicles or sports vehicles. 

Verdict: You can choose any V engine, the rpm range is close to one another. 


How much an engine weighs depends on many factors such as the material used and engine configuration. Adding cylinders will certainly make a V engine heavier. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Weight (lbs)361-450 lbs400-700 lbs620 – 712 lbs462 -772 lbs NA

In this table, you can see that the lightest engine is a V6 engine and the heaviest one will be a V12. V12 engines are heavier than V6, V8, and V10 engines due to their containing more cylinders. How about V6 vs V8 engine weight?

Usually, V8 engines weigh more than V6 engines. In a similar way, V10s are heavier compared to V6 and V8 engines. Making the engine larger and heavier means you need a larger engine compartment. So the vehicles that use these engines are usually high-end luxury cars or sports cars. 

Verdict: V6 has the lightest engine out of all V engines. 

Price range 

This is the price of vehicles containing V engines as shown below. A sedan with V6 will cost around 27 to 53K USD. However, with an increasing number of cylinders, vehicle prices will rise.

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Price Range$27-53 K$59-511 K$81- 448 K$165- 574 KNA

In general, manufacturing a V12, or V10 will be more complicated than producing a V6. This is the reason why you will see a lot of V6 in production vehicles but not the other four types. 

This graph shows price ranges of V engines

You can see the general trend of price variations of V engines with V6 being the least expensive to V12 being the most expensive one. V12, V10, and V8 engines usually are more expensive than V6 engines.

Manufacturing difficulty and maintenance cost of high-configuration V engines are the main reason why many automakers are turning away from them. So the ones remaining in the market are custom-made vehicle manufacturers who don’t make more than a few hundred units. 

Verdict: V6 is the cheapest V engine whereas V12 is the most expensive one. 

Vehicle Type 

Not all vehicles can accommodate a huge V engine. So here are the types of vehicle that has V engines. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Vehicle Type Sedan, SUV, TruckSports cars, Luxury vehicles, trucksHigh-performance sports cars, luxury vehicleHigh-end luxury cars and sports carHigh-end luxury car

V6 is fairly common in sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks. The other four types of engines can be found in sports cars and high-end luxury vehicles. 

Verdict: V6, V8, V10, and V12 are all available in a sports car. So you can choose any of them depending on your preference. 

Famous Cars 

Despite being hard to make, manufacturers can’t look away from V engines. Here are some famous cars you might know that have a V engine. 

Engine Type V6V8V10V12V16
Famous Cars Ford GT, Maserati MC20Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang Shelby BMW M5, Dodge Viper Ferrari 812 GTS, BMW M7
Cadillac Sixteen 

These cars come with different aspiration systems, gear ratios, etc. but the common trait among them is that they have a V engine. 

This photo shows a Maserati MC20
Source: Motor1.com

A few years back we held two exhibitions for Ferrari and Mustangs. In the Ferrari exhibition, we had the Ferrari 812 SuperFast and for Mustang we had the famous 1964 and a Half. Both times we had this discussion about V engines as the Ferrari 812 runs on a V12 and the mustang had a V6 engine.

Now, let’s move to the cherry on top of this piece. The sound of V engines.


V6, V8, V10, V12, and V16 make different types of sound. Engine sound depends on many factors such as whether it is naturally aspirated or induced, engine size, firing order, and design system of exhaust. 

However considering every other factor to be the same, the number of cylinders in an engine affects the dominant frequency of the engine. Considering the engine rpm to be 5000 here are the dominant frequencies of V engines. 

Engine TypeV6V8V10V12V16
Dominant Frequency*275 Hz367 Hz459 Hz550 Hz734 Hz
Sound (described by users)Smooth, refined with a rhythmic pulse.
Aggressive, powerful with a deep throatier tone. 
Powerful, memorable sound. 
Smooth, refined, and luxurious. 

*These values are not absolute since it depends on many variables like no. of cylinders fired in each cycle, rpm, etc. 

As you can see, with an increasing number of cylinders, the dominant frequency rises gradually. 

This graph shows dominant frequncies of V engines.

V16, V12, and V10s have higher dominant frequencies than V8 and V6s. In this regard, V6 will make a lower pitch sound than V8, V10, and V12. In the same manner, V8s sound will be in a lower pitch than V10 and V12s.

However dominant frequency is just one aspect of engine sound and the powertrain moderates engine noise. So manufacturers tune their power units to get the most pleasant sound. 

Now you might wonder Why do V8s sound so deep?

V8s sound so deep because the power unit’s frequency lies in a pleasing acoustic range. Likewise, V10 and V12 engines have higher root notes than V6 and V8 engines. Nevertheless, engine sound is subjective and depends on many factors so we can’t call one engine louder than another.

Verdict: It is hard to recommend one engine sound over another since preferences change from person to person. 

This photo shows a V10 engine
Source: Lexus Magazine UK


Engine reliability doesn’t depend on how the cylinders are arranged. It mostly depends on how the engine block was produced, the materials used in the engine block, and the thermal resistance of that material. 

However, some V8 engines are legendary for their reliability. Doing regular maintenance and basically taking care of your car will go a long way in this regard. 

Verdict: Reliability doesn’t depend on engine configuration. 

Final Verdict

V engines with a lower number of cylinders will produce smaller torque and HP compared to V10 and V12. The fuel consumption and engine weight will be higher with a larger engine. V10s and V12s are rare compared to V6 and V8 hence they are more expensive. 

Is V16 better than V8? V16 is better than V8 in terms of HP, torque, and top speed but it’s not available in the market now. 


Can I Modify V6 To Perform Like V8? 

Yes. You can modify a V6 engine to perform like V8. In a naturally aspirated V6, if u add a twin-turbo or supercharger, it will perform like a V8. 

Is V6 Faster Than Turbo? 

Yes. A V6 can be faster than a turbo. A naturally aspirated V6 will be more powerful than a turbocharged four-cylinder inline engine. 

Why There Is No V4 Engine?

Usually, manufacturing V engines cost more money than inline engines. At the same time turbocharging an inline 4 cylinder inline will give similar output as a V6 engine. So there is no need to make a V4 engine.  

Why F1 Uses V6 Engines Only?

F1 uses V6 engines with turbochargers since 2014. FIA regulated the engine configuration and allowed turbochargers. The twin-turbocharged V6 is the most fuel-efficient engine and most V12, and V10 engines are wasteful according to FIA.  

Bottom Line 

If this article helped you distinguish among all V engines and potentially choose one for yourself, leave a comment. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top