Originally Posted by Chris.Dudman213 View Post
I am trying to find out what makes a V12 so aspirational
I have been giving this some thought since my rather cryptic reply when you asked this question in another forum.
I am not an engineer, so my reasons are less well founded in logic, more in perception and feeling.
Generally, when it comes to high performance, the more cylinders the better: 6 is better than 4, 8 is better than 6, etc. and 12 is about the most anyone has put in a car engine, with one or two notable exceptions (Cadillac and very few others). A straight 12 would pose all sorts of problems, so that really leaves a V12 at the top of the pile.
Then there are the associations with the V12 engines that have powered some of the greatest and most glamorous sports and racing cars of all time, e.g. from Ferrari and Lamborghini (not forgetting the fabulous R-R V12 aero engines that powered Schneider Trophy winners, Spitfires etc.).
For most people, Ferrari epitomises the pinnacle of high performance cars (even Lamborghini fans will surely recognise that their favoured marque would not have come into being if its founder had not seen Ferrari as the car to beat) and Enzo Ferrari always favoured V12s. So if it's good enough for him . . .
And let's not forget, just because this is a forum for owners of high performance cars, that not only do V12s power the most aspirational sports cars, they are also to be found in the world's top luxury cars, where refinement is as important as outright performance, Rolls-Royce being the obvious example today (as well as in the 1930s, with an earlier Phantom); and Jaguar in the '70s. V12s are probably the smoothest, most vibration-free of any format, closely followed by straight-6s (let's not forget the Silver Ghost, whose straight-6 engine set standards for smoothness over 100 years ago that some would say have still not been beaten), but then what is a V12 but a pair of straight-6s sharing a common crankshaft?
And it may be that it is not the engine formation that is the attraction itself, but the cars. The fact that they happen to be powered by V12 engines may for some be incidental.
Sorry if this is a bit rambling, but there is more to a V12 than its engineering qualities - it has soul!