V6 and V8 engines have long been the choice of the North American motorist, however, some four cylinder cars are extremely powerful, as well as efficient and reliable too. Japanese car manufacturers have long used four cylinder motors in performance cars. This includes the legendary SR20DET motor which has had a permanent home in the Nissan Silvia since 1988. Although fuel efficiency of a four cylinder motor is usually superior to that of a V6 or V8 engine, this does not necessarily mean power will be compromised. Check out the 10 most powerful four-cylinder cars on the market today.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2.0
Many Chevrolet fans will wonder why the company would use a four cylinder engine in one of their flagship vehicles which have always had a V6 or V8. At a lighter 3,300 pounds than previous models of the Camaro, the 275 horsepower is more than enough to get the frame moving. Great torque from the engine gives the turbo little to no lag when spooling up and providing the extra power to the wheels. Reviews of this rear wheel drive vehicle describe it as fun, responsive, and surprisingly powerful. Slightly sluggish in the 0-60 miles per hour category at 5.4 seconds, the Camaro makes up for it with great fuel economy and reliability, perfect for a daily driver. A Camaro 2.0 can be usually be purchased for between $25,000 and $33,000 USD, which is a bargain for a performance vehicle that is good to go from the factory.
2016 Audi S3/Volkswagen Golf R
The Audi S3 and the Volkswagen Golf R do not share the same exact appearance on the exterior, but inside both vehicles lies the same 2.0 four cylinder turbocharged engine capable of producing 295 horsepower. Both of these vehicles should be considered sleepers but can unleash absolute fury when called upon. The Audi is actually slightly quicker from takeoff with a 4.7 second 0-60 miles per hour time, with the Volkswagen only just behind at 4.9 seconds. The Golf R however, has better driver reviews and this may be due to the lower price point and superior open road handling of the Volkswagen as well as the fact it houses a 6-speed manual transmission. Whichever model is chosen from these two, it will definitely not disappoint in terms of performance and handling. The Golf R has proved especially popular in Canada, where dealerships have had to order more of the future models to supply the demand.
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster
The 718 name is a historic one for Porsche, with 718 being previously used in race cars from 1957 until 1962. The original 718 won 5 Driver's Championships in F1 during this time and the 2017 reincarnation of the 718 will certainly have the driver feeling as if they are piloting a racing car. This four-cylinder Porsche ditched the six cylinder engine in favour of a smaller, turbocharged one that produces 300 horsepower straight out of the showroom. The transmission and drive-train (Porsche PDK) within the 718 is well equipped to handle this type of power, and many have praised this aspect of the vehicle specifically. The 2017 Boxster is also capable of a standing 0-60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds, which is highly respectable. Additionally, there is also a more powerful model available, which will be looked at later in the slideshow.
2016 Subaru WRX STI
The WRX STI has had a long history of great performance and handling on the road, and the 2016 model is no exception. The engine within the WRX produces 305 horsepower as standard and can achieve 0-60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds. These vehicles also have an electronically limited top speed of 159 miles per hour. The WRX STI also comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, giving owners a real driving experience. The 2016 WRX STI has continued the tradition of producing a well-rounded performance car that will give drivers the ability to navigate winding roads with ease. Although the power in the WRX has not significantly increased over the past decade, this car is still impressive and one of the most powerful four-cylinder vehicles available today.
2016 Ford Mustang EcoBoost
Ford opted for the high-performing Ford EcoBoost engine, a 2.3 litre, four cylinder, turbocharged motor, over the original V6 that were usually found in a Mustang, and it has paid off. The EcoBoost engine produces a massive 310 horsepower, a number previously reserved for high-capacity V8 engines within muscle cars. The 2016 Mustang has clocked quarter mile times of 13.9 seconds as a standard vehicle and this is impressive considering the engines are ripe for modification. The EcoBoost engine also promotes better fuel economy and efficiency than a 2015 Mustang V6, so there is also a financial advantage to owning this vehicle over a V6 or V8 model. For around the same price as a V6, as well as boasting around the same amount of horsepower, the Mustang EcoBoost is a great four cylinder vehicle that is one of the most powerful available today.
2016 Volvo XC90 T6
This Volvo is equipped with 316 horsepower as standard and also shares this engine with another entry on this list from the same manufacturer. The engine is a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine and many will wonder how 310 horsepower is even possible until learning that this engine is both supercharged and turbocharged. This all wheel drive vehicle is perfect for road trips, seating 7 people, as well as getting reasonable fuel economy both on the highway and in the city. The XC90 has been praised for its high quality of build, safety features, as well as unique interior. The interior itself has also been praised for its spaciousness and comfortable seats. This is one SUV that can outperform a lot of so called “performance cars” which is why it appears as one of the most powerful four-cylinder vehicles available today.
2017 Ford Focus RS
Car and Driver
Ford seemingly pulled out all the stops for the 2017 Focus RS, creating a powerful car that is a driving enthusiast's dream. Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, and electronically adjustable suspension are a few features that will have drivers flocking to the Focus RS. The 350 horsepower produced from a tuned 2.3 litre Ford EcoBoost engine is also another amazing feature of this vehicle which can reach an electronically limited top speed of 165 miles per hour. The 0-60 miles per hour time of 4.6 seconds is slightly quicker than the WRX STI, as well as being faster than an Audi S3/Golf R, and the Porsche 718 Boxster among other vehicles. The Ford Focus also represents perhaps the best value for money in this entire slideshow.
2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S
The 2017 Porsche 718 Boxster S is an even more powerful model of the 718 Boxster, which was discussed earlier in this slideshow. Reducing the 0-60 mile per hour time of the standard model by 0.5 seconds to 4.2, this Porsche can reach speeds of 177 miles per hour (electronically limited). The 2.5 litre, turbocharged engine is bigger than that of the standard model and is rated at a whopping 350 horsepower. The Boxster S is also capable of a 12.5-second quarter-mile, which is just as fast as the 2017 Shelby GT350R and faster than the 2017 Ford Mustang GT. The upgraded suspension will increase this model's handling abilities over the standard model, making it easy to drive this Porsche the way it should be driven.
2017 Volvo S60/V60 Polestar
This Volvo is capable of 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds, giving an idea of the ridiculous power beneath the unassuming exterior. An amazing 362 horsepower is produced from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This engine, as mentioned earlier, is supercharged and turbocharged, known as twin-charged. The 20-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin sports tires and stiff sports suspension gives the vehicle great handling attributes, outperforming many initial expectations. One reviewer described the Polestar as a “livable performance car”, as well as one of the “safest performance cars on the market”. It may be more expensive than anticipated, but this car is absolutely the definition of a sleeper. The handling and safety of the Polestar ensure the twin-charged engine's power is used to the full extent, creating an amazing driving experience.
2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLA45/GLA45
This model was the fastest production four cylinder ever made when launched in 2014, with power hitting 355 horsepower. This turbocharged 2016 AMG Mercedes received 20 more horsepower than previous models and now can hit close to 380 horsepower straight off the production line. The 2016 model also has the ability to go from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds, faster than a 2017 Aston Martin Vantage GT8, the 2016 Audi S4, and a 2017 Jaguar XE S, among quite a few others. The aggressive stance of this vehicle has turned it into a favourite among sports car owners and the power inside matches the exterior styling perfectly. This powerful vehicle also received great reviews from almost everyone that drove it. This sports cars killer can be purchased for between $60,000- $80,000 USD today.