The V10 can be considered to be constructed by mating two even firing straight-5 engines together. The straight 5 engine shows first and second order rocking motion. Here it should be assumed that the crankshaft with low second order vibration is used and the first order is balanced by a balance shaft. By mating the straight-5 banks at 90 degrees and using 5 throws the balance shafts balance each other and become null. The firing sequence is odd (BMW M5, Dodge Viper). Using an 18° split journal crankshaft the firing order can be made even, and the two balancer shaft do not balance each other completely, but are combined into a single very small balance shaft (Lamborghini Gallardo, Ford 6.8 V10). Using a 5 throw crankshaft and 72° bank angle the firing order can be made even, and the two balancer shafts do not balance each other completely, but are combined into a single small balance shaft. A 36° degree bank angle and a 108° flying arm crankshaft would allow even firing without a balance shaft and smaller counterweights, but are impractical.
The V10 configuration is not an inherently balanced design like a straight-6 or V12 or a flat-6 or a straight-8 or a crossplane V8 (ignoring the counterweights) and does still have a small second order rocking motion, which can only be compensated by two additional balance shafts.
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. Nevertheless, modern engineering has made it possible to use V10 engines for applications where a V8 would produce insufficient power and a V12 would be too complicated or bulky.
Dodge was the first to develop a modern V10 engine, originally designing a version of its LA series small block for use in trucks. However, the engine saw its first production use in substantially revised form in the Dodge Viper. The original truck version of the engine was eventually used starting in 1994 in the Dodge Ram. It discontinued in that application after 2003. However, 2003 also saw the introduction of the Dodge Ram SRT-10, a performance model meant to rival Ford's successful F-150 SVT Lightning. The Viper engine (a 90-degree engine with odd firing order to obviate the need for a balance shaft) has been tweaked through the years, and now produces 600 hp (447 kW; 608 PS) (447 kW) in a standard state of tune from its 8.4 liter displacement. The engine is also used by Bristol, in tuned form, in their two-seat Fighter coupe, where it can produce upward of 630 hp (470 kW; 639 PS) (470 kW).
Ford also developed a heavy-duty V10 version of their Triton engine to replace the aging 460 big block in truck applications. It was introduced in the E-Series/Econoline full-size van, and also saw duty in the F-Series Super Duty line and the Ford Excursion SUV, and is still in production in 2008.
European marques were slower to adopt the V10 configuration. However, high-revving V10 powerplants were incorporated into supercars from Lamborghini and Porsche. BMW and Audi later unveiled ten-cylinder versions of their mid-range saloons (the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 families, respectively). Interestingly, Volkswagen developed a ten-cylinder engine as well, but as a turbodiesel.
A list of post-war V10-engined production cars (sorted alphabetically by manufacturer, sub-sorted by year of introduction):
- Audi S6 (C6) - 5.2 litre
- Audi RS6 (C6) - 5.0 L biturbo
- Audi S8 (D3) - 5.2 L
- Audi R8 - 5.2 L
- BMW M5 (E60) - 5.0 L
- BMW M6 - 5.0 L
- Bristol Fighter
- Connaught Type-D (entering production in 2007)
- Dodge Viper SRT-10 (the first modern V-10-engined car)
- Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Heavy Duty (pickup trucks)
- Dodge Ram SRT-10 (pickup truck)
- Ford E-350 (full-size van)
- Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty (pickup trucks)
- Ford Excursion (sport-utility vehicle)
- Lexus LFA - 4.8 L
- Lamborghini Gallardo - 5.0 L (5.2 L facelifted)
- Porsche Carrera GT - 5.7 L
- Volkswagen Touareg (a turbodiesel)
- Volkswagen Phaeton (a turbodiesel)
- Wiesmann MF GT 5 (BMW S85-B50, BMW M5, M6; 550HP)
The most widespread use of the V10 has been in Formula One racing. Alfa Romeo made the first modern Formula One V10 in 1986; although it was never used in a Formula One car. Later the configuration was introduced by Honda and Renault before the 1989 season. The introduction of the 3.5 litre rule after turbos were outlawed made the V10 seem the best compromise between the V8 and the V12. V10 motors became common-place after the reduction from 3.5 to 3 litres, and V10 engines were exclusively used by teams from the 1998 season. Renault had a more flat 110° angle motor in 2002 and 2003, but reverted to a more conventional layout (a 72° angle) following the change in rules which dictated that an engine must last two race weekends. In a further change to the rules, V10s were banned for the 2006 season in favour of 2.4 litre 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 Sportscar Championship.
| Piston engine configurations|
|Type|| Bourke • Controlled combustion • Deltic •Orbital • Piston • Pistonless (Wankel) •|
Radial • Rotary • Single • Split cycle • Stelzer • Tschudi
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|Flat||2 · 4 · 6 · 8 · 10 · 12 · 16|
|V||4 · 5 · 6 · 8 · 10 · 12 · 16 · 20 · 24|
|W||8 · 12 · 16 · 18|
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Sleeve • Rotary valve • Variable valve timing • Camless
|Mechanisms|| Cam • Connecting rod • Crank • Crank substitute • Crankshaft •|
Scotch Yoke • Swashplate • Rhombic drive
|Linkages||Evans • Peaucellier–Lipkin • Sector straight-line • Watt's (parallel)|
|Other||Hemi • Recuperator • Turbo-compounding|