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CATEGORIES (articles) > Engine, Gearbox > Technical > A look at the V10 engine

A look at the V10 engine

A V10 is an engine in V configuration, having 10 cylinders in two banks of five.


The V10 configuration is inherently imbalanced in the vertical plane and generates a rocking moment causing vibration from end to end of the engine. To contain this issue a balance shaft is required. Theoretically, the best V-angle is 72°; with this angle there is no vibration in vertical and transverse directions. The complexity of designing this made the V10 difficult to engineer without computer-aided design (CAD), and therefore the V10 was never used before the 1980s. To save development and parts costs, many V10 engines available today are based on 90° V8 engines, which is less than ideal for balance.

Road cars

Until recently V10s had rarely been a popular configuration for road cars: a V12 is only slightly more complicated and runs more smoothly and a V8 is less complex and more economical.

  • The Dodge Viper uses a 8.3 L (8.0 L in the previous generation) V10 engine, which has since been made available in the Dodge Ram SRT-10 Ram sport pickup. It is a 90 degree V10, but is arranged in an odd-firing order to allow for smooth operation without a balance shaft. The 2006 production 8.3 L engine is rated 510hp 535lbft. Highly modified naturally aspirated variants have run to 750 hp, and turbocharged variants to over 1200 hp.
  • Bristol has utilized the 8.0L Viper V10 crate engines in their cars, one tuned to 525 hp is used in the Bristol Fighter. The 2004 Bristol S model is tuned to 628 hp.
  • V10s are also available in the F250 and F-350 pickup trucks and the Ford Excursion full size SUV.
  • The Volkswagen Phaeton and Volkswagen Touareg currently have a 5.0 L turbocharged Diesel V10 option, available in Europe, making them the first diesel V10-powered sedan and SUV. They are rated 313 PS (230 kW).
  • BMW has introduced a 5.0 L V10 in the 2005 BMW M5, marking the first non-Diesel V10 sedan. It reaches a maximum power of 507 PS (373 kW).
  • The Lamborghini Gallardo also has a 90 degree 5.0 L DOHC V10 engine. It is has recently been improved to 520 PS (383 kW). A bigger (5.2 L) version of the engine, detuned to 450 PS (331 kW) version of the engine, is used in 2006 Audi S8.
  • Porsche has introduced the Carrera GT with a 68 degree V10 displacing 5.7 L and producing 612 PS (450 kW).


The most widespread use of the V10 has been in Formula 1 racing, where the configuration was introduced by Honda and Renault before the 1989 season. The introduction of the 3 litre rule made the V10 seem the best compromise between the V8 and the V12. Renault had a more flat 110° angle motor in 2002 and 2003 but reverted to a conventional layout following the change in rules which dictated that an engine must last two race weekends. In a further change to the rules V10s are to be banned for the 2006 season in favour of V8s.

There are also cars with V10 engines in sports car racing, usually with Judd powerplants with 4 or 5 litre engines, made available for customers, although the first V10 was seen in the works Peugeot 905, in the final races of the 1990 World Endurance Championship season.

Piston engine configurations
Straight 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14
V 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 24
Flat 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16
W 8, 12, 16, 18
Other inline H, VR6, Square, Opposed, U
Other Radial (Rotary), Pistonless (Wankel)

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CATEGORIES (articles) > Engine, Gearbox > Technical > A look at the V10 engine

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