Everyone loves the low growl of an American V8, the high-pitched sing of a naturally aspirated V12 or V10, or maybe the six-cylinder symphony of something built in Germany, but an engine configuration that many tend to overlook is the four-cylinder one. Rightly so, most of us are used to only finding four-cylinder engines in so-called “normal” cars, and while that’s somewhat true, there are also plenty of four-pots with a sweet squeal . And we thought we should just mention that if you want to maximize the amount of sound that hits your eardrums, always, and we mean, always try to find a convertible musician.
For this list, we’ll be looking into the wonderful world of exuberant four-cylinders, whether they’re found in sports cars, hot hatches or even miniature supercars, these are the best quad-cylinder cars the world has ever seen.
ten Fiat Abarth 500 2012
For as long as we can remember, we’ve wondered what dark magic Abarth engineers were dabbling in to make their cars sound as good – and loud – as they did. Well, the answer is much simpler than you might think. From the factory, the turbocharged engines of these hot Fiat 500s had no mufflers attached. How is that possible, you might ask – well, we’re not sure either.
Somehow Abarth managed to find a loophole when building the 500 and convinced everyone that its turbocharger was more than enough to dampen its noise – and it worked. So when the Abarth 500 appeared in the late 2000s, none of them were equipped with a silencer, which meant they looked a bit like a crazy cat on factory steroids.
9 2022 Hyundai Elantra N
It’s not too often that you see new cars that give off a sweet exhaust note, and it’s all thanks to those pesky sweet limiters and non-pop exhaust notes, but some manufacturers truly believe that if there has a will, there is a way. Hyundai has seriously killed it in recent years, especially with its hot hatches, but a newly added weapon to its hot hatch arsenal is a compact sedan called the Elantra N.
It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces up to 286bhp, but best of all, it has a valved exhaust that takes you from quiet, comfortable cruising to aggressive buzzing when you release the accelerator by pressing a button.
8 2018 Ford Focus RS
They just don’t make them like they used to anymore, and that’s especially true when we look at one of the best cars Ford has ever built, the latest-generation Focus RS.
Under the hood of this hot economy car is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four engine that delivers 350bhp to its four wheels, but arguably more important than its engine and sound was the fact that it wasn’t offered only with a 6-speed manual gearbox, and it had a nifty drift button that wasn’t just there for show. But don’t think we forgot, the Focus RS has one of the most obnoxious and beautiful exhaust tunes of all time, listen.
7 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider 2020
It’s rare to see a performance car from Alfa Romeo not equipped with a V6 or, in rare cases, a V8, but their last driver-focused lightweight sports car, the 4C, was equipped a tiny 1.75 liter turbocharged engine mounted on four cylinders in line. in the middle of its frame.
That little engine only produced 235 hp, but since this topless Alfa only weighed less than 2,000 pounds, it was more than enough to knock you back in your seat when you hit the pedal to the floor with a 0-60 deg time. only 4.2 seconds. What’s equally disconcerting is the sound this 1.75-litre engine is capable of producing, and it’s even nicer with the top down.
6 Honda S2000 2001
You knew it would be here, come on. As many of you know, the Honda S2000 is considered one of the most affordable modern sports cars to ever grace our roads, but it wasn’t just a joy to drive. The S2K was powered by an inline-four engine called the F20C, and there were quite a few things that made it unique.
First and foremost, it had Honda’s legendary VTEC technology, second, it delivered almost 250 bhp, but most importantly, it had a redline equivalent to that of a Ferrari 458… 9,000 rpm. Yes, that means you can go out today and buy yourself a Honda S2000 for around $20,000 and enjoy its high-revving engine with the top down and the wind slapping you mindlessly.
5 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works 2012
Just like we said with the Focus RS, they don’t make them like they used to anymore. The new JCW hatches made by Mini might be better performing cars than the ones from 10 years ago, but there is one aspect in which the previous generation JCW will forever reign supreme, and that is when it s is about sound.
The 2012 JCW (R56) hatch was powered by a 208hp four-cylinder engine – which is already a respectable amount – and it was making noises you can’t believe were legal at the time. When shifting gears, revving the engine from a standstill, or even just releasing the right pedal, those little hatchbacks sound like machine guns stuffed with cocaine.
4 1985Ford RS200
There’s a lot of envy around the Ford RS200; it was built by an american car manufacturer but just when america thought it was getting this monstrous road legal rally racing icon, ford decided it was best to flourish in the uk so only 200 models were manufactured, and most resided in the UK.
And when we say it was a street-legal rally racing icon, we really mean it. It was powered by a Cosworth-built 1.8-litre four-cylinder which developed 250 bhp in the road-legal variants while producing up to 450 bhp in its racing counterpart. The RS200 may not have had many victories in its racing days, but it was involved in one of the most tragic crashes the WRC has ever seen.
3 BMW E30 M3
The BMW E30 is considered by many to be the greatest 3-series the Bavarians have ever created, and its M version wasn’t even powered by an inline-six like most of its successors.
The E30 M3 used a high-revving, DOHC, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, and it generated between 192 bhp and 197 bhp in its base variants, while the M3 Evo and Evo II sported up to at 235 hp. So what made it so appealing, you might ask. The feeling that this E30 gives you by listening to it chirp is really inexplicable, just listen for yourself.
2 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B
It still breaks our hearts to see Subaru kill the STI badge as a whole, we still haven’t fully dealt with it, to be honest…but what’s the point of crying over spilled milk. Of all the different generations of STIs there isn’t a big difference between the sounds they make, after all they all use the same type of boxer motors but the one that stands out from the rest of the pack is the 22B .
Its turbocharged 2.2-litre four-cylinder boxer engine produced 300bhp, but what made its sound even more intoxicating than the boxer’s hum was its turbo screeching noises…
1 1968 Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce
There’s an expression that Jeremy Clarkson used to say that to be a real petrolhead you have to own at least one Alfa Romeo in your life. There have been countless great-sounding Alfas over the years, but the top performers usually have an Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, and that’s exactly what the 1750 GT Veloce was strapped with.
Its naturally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine produced just 132bhp, but again, it’s the car’s weight that’s the magic ingredient. If you’ve ever wondered what a true cinematic masterpiece looks like, take the time to watch the video of Robbert Albas driving his yellow GTV.
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