More automakers are turning to four-cylinder engines to find an ideal balance between performance and fuel efficiency.
But not all four-cylinder engines are created equally. While more modern ones are turbocharged, there have been some high-revving, naturally aspirated mills that not only deliver amazing performance, but sound great as well.
AutoGuide.com scoured YouTube to find you the top 10 best sounding four-cylinder engines.
10. Fiat 500 Abarth
Sporting a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the Fiat 500 Abarth is one of the best sounding compacts available today. The small engine delivers 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque when mated to a five-speed manual transmission, while its dual exhaust system helps make the Fiat 500 Abarth sound the part of a high-performance compact.
ALSO SEE: Fiat 500c Abarth Review
9. Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG
As the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine, it’s only natural that the Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG sounds great. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine now delivers 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, helping the four-door coupe go from zero-to-60 mph in 4.1 seconds.
8. Chevrolet Camaro 2.0t
Some may consider it blasphemous that the Chevrolet Camaro now comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but at least it sounds better than the Ford Mustang’s Ecoboost. The 2.0-liter turbo-four engine cranks out 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and helps propel the Camaro to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds.
7. Volkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen might be in the headlines these days for its massive dieselgate scandal, but let’s remember that the German automaker has some great gasoline engines. The Volkswagen Golf R is one hot hatch, thanks to a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with the six-speed DSG automatic transmission, the Golf R does the 60-mph sprint in 4.9 seconds and has lapped the Nurburgring in an impressive 8:15.
6. Subaru WRX STI
For decades now, the Subaru WRX STI has stood for four-cylinder performance with its turbocharged Boxer engine. In the latest iteration, the powerplant cranks out 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, and you really can’t mistake the sound it makes with any other engine in today’s market, unless it comes from Porsche.
5. Mitsubishi Evolution
Truth be told, the stock Mitsubishi Evolution engine doesn’t sound insane. But once it’s been modified, it’s one of the craziest sounding four-cylinder engines available. Enthusiasts will say that the older 4G63 engine is the better engine, but as the company bids farewell to its four-door sports car, it comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged unit with 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.
4. Porsche 718
Yes, it’s true, Porsche is using four-cylinder engines for its 718 models and at the very least, they sound like they belong. Available on the Cayman and Boxster models, the standard trim 2.0-liter engine delivers 300 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque while the more powerful S models pack a larger 2.5-liter engine with 350 hp and 309 lb-ft of torque. Like the Subaru WRX STI, the Porsche’s engine is a turbo Boxer four-cylinder, delivering a signature sound.
3. Ford Focus RS
There is so much to love about the Ford Focus RS hatch, but we can all agree it’s the 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-cylinder engine that steals the show. Churning 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque, the Ford Focus RS is one of the meanest sounding cars we’ve ever heard with a four-cylinder engine.
2. Alfa Romeo 4C
You’re probably wondering how it’s possible the Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t the best sounding four-cylinder engine on our list. Well, consider it sort of a tie with the one we have after this. The 1.75-liter turbocharged engine packs 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, allowing the lightweight sports car to hit 60 mph from zero in 4.1 seconds. But when you push down on that gas pedal, the Alfa Romeo 4C just sounds mean.
1. Honda S2000
So what four-cylinder engine possibly sounds better than the Alfa Romeo 4C? Well, that honor goes to the Honda S2000 and that’s because it’s a naturally aspirated mill instead of all these other turbocharged units. First introduced in 1999 for the 2000 model year, the S2000 had a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, while revving to a ridiculous 8,800 rpm redline and 9,000 rpm fuel cut off. Later on, Honda updated the S2000 with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with a lower redline to 8,000 rpm and fuel cut off at 8,200 rpm. But still, there are very few engines to this day that sound as wonderful as that naturally aspirated S2000 engine.