2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 and McLaren 720S Spider Bring the Noise

Big engines and beefy exhausts often translate to big sound. For some sports car enthusiasts, there’s something magical about a sweet ride that roars while going fast. Car and Driver compiled a recent list of the loudest cars its staffers have ever tested. And both the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 and the McLaren 720S Spider make an appearance on this roster. These cars are well-known for their under-the-hood rumble and certainly have the chops to bring the noise.

2019 Chevy Corvette and McLaren 720S Spider: Two of the loudest cars of all time

The folks at Car and Driver put together a fun list of the loudest sports cars. In their evaluation, these elite rides get noisy in the wide-open throttle. If how your car sounds matters, this list breaks it down by the decibels. And it may not be much of a shock to learn the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 and 2019 McLaren 720S Spider make the official roster of loud and proud beasts.

Proof in the decibels 

When it comes to measuring loudness, it’s usually a subjective scenario. What’s loud to you may not be necessarily loud to someone else. But for this list of noisy cars, Car and Driver measures actual decibels as a method for ranking sound pressures. The 2019 McLaren 720S Spider, for example, cranks 99 decibels with the folding-hardtop variation. The coupe drops it down a notch, albeit a still loud, at 95 decibels. 

Equally impressive is the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1. This was the “loudest Targa we’ve tested,” according to Car and Driver. The American classic sports car clocked at 99 decibels, as well. To put these measurements in perspective, the average backyard lawn mower achieves 90 dB, and a casual conversation is around 60 dB.

Why this Chevy Corvette and McLaren 720S are so loud

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There’s more to the science behind loud cars than you might think. Of course, it’s one part engine size. The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1, for example, uses a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 to harness 755 horses. Throttling an engine that size is going to be loud. The combustion reaction alone increases with each cylinder added.

But as Road and Track points out, car noise, in general, is about having a great exhaust note, too. This team put together a list of “best-sounding” cars you could buy for less than $100,000 back in 2019. And you guessed it, the Chevy Corvette made that list and also won the critics’ 2019 Performance Car of the Year award.

Dangers of driving loud cars

If you’re of the opinion that the louder the sports car, the better, it’s important to heed a few warnings. Too much noise can be damaging, and the CDC suggests that prolonged exposure to 70 decibels or more can begin to damage your hearing.

According to Digital Trends, both OSHA and NIOSH say continuous sounds 140 decibels and above (which is about the same metrics as the sound of a loud rock concert) can lead to temporary and permanent hearing damage.

The 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 and the McLaren 720S Spider are both capable of achieving high speeds on the track and turning heads with impeccable, sleek styling. But they’re also both monsters at bringing the noise. And when you’re driving Corvette or a 720S Spider, you likely will appreciate the neighbors will hear you coming.