Here Are The Best Four-Cylinder Engines Ever Built

Dan Smith

All car enthusiasts love the robust and balanced straight-six, the big and powerful V8 and the screaming V12. And it's easy to love these engines. These engines are powerful statements of automotive engineering ingenuity that best represent our desire for speed and performance. Updated December 2022: This list has been updated with the latest information. If you want to buy an efficient car with a 4-cylinder under the hood, or are looking for something a little more "spicier", these are the cars for you. Many car enthusiasts seem so in love with big, big powerplants that they completely overlook smaller, more streamlined four-cylinder engines. For many enthusiasts, admitting he likes 4-pots is like throwing a classic car away. For years, 4-cylinder engines have been associated with basic, uninspiring "point A to point B" cars, or the cheapest trim levels. That's partly true, but the 4-cylinder engine still has real gems. Some of them are known for their amazing output, others for their reliability. But most importantly, all of them prove that an engine doesn't have to have more horsepower or more cylinders to qualify as a legendary powerhouse. RELATED: Ranking the Best V10 Engines Ever Produced

11/11 Honda F20C

Let's take just one number, 8,800. This is exactly his RPM at which his Honda F20C engine redlines.

2008 Honda S2000
Via: Bring The Trailer

Yes, it is. This modest 2.0 liter monster drove the famous Honda S2000 Roadster. In its U.S. market configuration, it may have "just put out" 234 horsepower, but it certainly did so with passion.

10/11 Mercedes-Benz M111

Mercedes-Benz M111
Via YouTube
In the 90's and early 2000's the M111 was featured in various Mercedes vehicles including the C-Class, E-Class, CLK Coupe and Convertible and SLK Roadster. It's a pretty mediocre engine, save for one thing - a supercharged version. Today, his forced-aspiration four-cylinder engine is nothing new.

2007 Mercedes-Benz C230
Via: Mecham

But in the past compressor Otherwise, the normal mass-produced, budget-friendly engine was pretty unconventional and cool. With a 2.3-litre supercharged engine producing about 194 horsepower, his M111 performed very well without falling apart. German engineering at its finest.

9/11 Alfa Romeo Twin Spark 16V

Alfa Romeo Twin Spark 16V
Via Wikimedia Commons
Before turbocharging became the norm, many automakers tried to figure out how to improve four-cylinder engine performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency and reliability. And if Mercedes' supercharged M111 engine sounds weird, wait until you hear about Alfa Romeo Twin Spark technology.

Source: Netcars

As the name suggests, these engines used two spark plugs per cylinder. This was an interesting piece of technology with its racing roots, but it didn't become very popular, but not until it found its way into luxury cars like the 156 and GTV. RELATED: Here's what the Alfa Romeo 916 GTV is worth today:

8/11 Subaru EJ25

Subaru EJ25
Despite reliability issues and mechanical complexity, Subaru's Flat 4 has stood the test of time. And the 2.5-liter EJ25 seems better than ever for an engine that has been on the market in various versions since the 90s.

Source: Subaru

Most recently, it was installed in the 2019 Impreza WRX STI and put out 310 horsepower, but still retains the famous Subie exhaust note.

7/11 Nissan SR20DET

Nissan SR20DET
Everyone loves Nissan's RB series straight-six engine that powered the legendary Skyline GT-R, but what about its smaller cousins? worthy of After all, without it the Silvia Coupe would never have earned its reputation as a drifting machine.

S15 Silvia front

In its prime, the S15 Silvia, the SR20DET put out 247 hp. However, as tuners have proven time and time again, they can withstand more power, making them a popular replacement option even today.

6/11 Toyota 3S-GTE

Toyota 3S-GTE
Arguments are endless, but we believe the A80 Supra wasn't the best sports car Toyota ever made. Or, at least, not the best Toyota sports car of its time.

JDM 1994 Toyota Celica GT-Four sports car
Via: Bringa Trailer

In our opinion, that honor goes to the 2nd generation MR2 and the 6th generation Celica GT-Four. We especially love the Celica and its stunning turbocharged 3S-GTE engine.

5/11 Saab B234

Saab B234
Saab is widely known as a turbocharger pioneer, and the B234 is a prime example. This engine is what really put Saab on the map, making the 9000 Aero one of his top-performing sports sedans in the 90's.

Silver 9000 aero rear

The turbocharged B234 produced about 225 horsepower from its 2.3 liter displacement, and the 9000 Aero could go from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds. Not an outrageous number by today's standards, but back then it was a big deal.

4/11 Ford Ecoboost 2.3L

Ford Mustang 2.3LEcoBoostHPP
For some reason, the EcoBoost 4-cylinder is very popular as a hated engine, but I don't know why. Yes, we can argue as much as we wish Ford ruined the Mustang by putting his 4-pot under the hood.

Via Ford

In fact, the 2.3 liter version of EcoBoost is a really good engine. Sure, it's not a V8, but it's getting 24 mpg while delivering 310 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.

3/11 Toyota 4A-GE

Toyota 4A-GE
After reading the name above, if you suddenly start hearing weird disco beats in your head and really want some tofu, it's because 4A-GE moved a very special car. Introducing the Toyota AE86, one and a true pop culture icon.

ae86 drift
Via: Hachiroku

With dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and a total output of around 130 horsepower, the 4A-GE was anything but a powerful engine.But there were countless Bee Rox It sidetracked the mountain roads of Japan, inspiring an entire field of motorsport in the process. RELATED: 9 Things Everyone Forgot About the Toyota Corolla AE86

2/11 volvo red block

volvo red block
Few engines ever created can match the enduring fame of Volvo's Redblock series of 4-cylinder engines. These robust Swedish workhorses are best known for powering the Volvo 200 series vehicles.

Via Independent

And the turbocharged version is the most famous of them all. These exact engines are responsible for the 200 sedan and wagon's "Turbo Brick" nickname. We won't mention the exact power output of these engines, but all you need to know is that they probably last longer than ours.

1/11 VW 1.9 TDI ARL

Volkswagen 1.9 TDI
Via Pinterest
That's right, a diesel engine! Volkswagen's 1.9 TDI unit is the automaker's most successful diesel His engine to date. These are virtually unbreakable, return very impressive MPG, and last forever.

Front 3/4 view of a US spec Mk4 Golf

The most powerful 1.9 TDI engine was an ARL code unit that was able to produce 150 hp thanks to a new fuel injection system. It is a very simple engine with an 8-valve head, but this is one of the reasons why it is popular among diesel tuners. Source: Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, Volvo