While turbocharging has boosted power and torque outputs to new levels, naturally aspirated engines can still be found at the core of some of the very best supercars on the roads today. Their instantaneous power delivery and ability to deliver a knock-out blow at very high revs makes them the purists choice.
If all goes to plan, the Aston Martin Valkyrie will arrive later this year and when it does it will have the most powerful naturally aspirated engine ever fitted to a road car. Cosworth announced on Tuesday that its 6.5-liter V12 will make a massive 1,130hp, around 10% more than the 1,000hp that was hinted at during development. The amount of power assistance provided by the hybrid battery system has not been revealed just yet though.
Cars like the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, Porsche 911 GT3 and Ferrari GTC4 Lusso all have high-revving atmospheric engines that deliver massive performance without the aid of forced induction. In recent years, the title of most powerful production atmospheric engine has been ping-ponging between Ferrari and Lamborghini with the 789-hp 6.5-liter V12 in the 812 Superfast currently claiming the crown.
A fairer comparison though would be with hypercars like the 950-hp LaFerrari and 887-hp Porsche 918 Spyder, which both make use of hybrid assistance to boost their outputs but even these cars will be put into the shade when the Valkyrie arrives.
This Aston’s output also eclipses all but the most powerful turbocharged super and hypercars. Aside from very limited production vehicles such as the hybrid Koenigsegg Regera, the 1,479-hp Chiron and its predecessor, the 1,184hp Veyron Super Sports, are the only rivals that produce more power.
And they need four turbos and an 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine to do it. Perhaps the days of the naturally aspirated engine are not as numbered as everyone thought, especially when combined with some even more newfangled hybrid assistance. Of the 175 examples slated for production (which includes the track-focused AMR variants) exactly 0 are still available to buy, so this tech makes it into a few more modern hypercars.