Top 10 Most Powerful Four-Cylinder Cars Available in 2016

You can no longer reasonably argue that there’s no replacement for displacement.

With fuel economy becoming more and more important, automakers have turned to smaller engines to maximize fuel efficiency. The problem is, people aren’t ready to sacrifice performance. In recent years, turbocharging technology has advanced to the point that automakers can offer smaller four-cylinder engines with V6 power straight from the factory without having to worry about reliability issues. Today, there are plenty of turbocharged four-cylinder engines around, many of which pump out more than 300 horsepower.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Cheapest Cars with 300 Horsepower

So if you’re in the market for a four-cylinder car and want plenty of performance, check out a list of the top 10 most powerful four-cylinder cars you can purchase in 2016 below.

10. Chevrolet Camaro


Die-hard Chevrolet Camaro enthusiasts will probably deny the fact that there’s a four-cylinder model available, but there is, and it doesn’t suck. Sporting a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the turbocharged Camaro packs 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

9. Audi S3


The high-performance Audi S3 is a formidable, entry-level sedan powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 290 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

ALSO SEE: Audi RS3 Sedan Confirmed for US Market, and There’s Video Proof It Exists

8. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution


There’s a good chance you might not actually be able to get your hands on a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution in 2016, but you might get lucky if you act quick. The Japanese automaker has axed its sports car after decades of being a staple in its lineup. For its farewell, you can get your hands on a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 291 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.

7. Audi TTS


The new Audi TT is a stunning sports coupe and the TTS satisfies everyone’s performance hunger. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine, it sports 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque to go along with its good looks.

6. Volkswagen Golf R


The same powerplant as the Audi TTS can be found in the Volkswagen Golf R, giving the German automaker’s sporty hatchback the same 292 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It’s the best Golf we can get until the Golf R400 arrives … eventually.

5. Subaru WRX STI


With the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution fading away quietly, the Subaru WRX STI could be the go-to all-wheel-drive performance sedan for enthusiasts worldwide. Unlike many of the vehicles on this list with a 2.0-liter engine, the WRX STI is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged Boxer four-cylinder engine with 305 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque.

4. Ford Mustang EcoBoost


Similar to the Chevrolet Camaro, some Mustang enthusiasts are rolling their eyes at the idea of a four-cylinder engine sitting under the hood of a modern ‘Stang. But this 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine packs a meaner punch with 310 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.

3. Volvo XC90 T6


No, this isn’t a sports car or a hot hatch. The Volvo XC90 T6 is not your run-of-the-mill SUV, powered by a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 320 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Volvo XC90 Wins’s Utility Vehicle of the Year Award

2. Ford Focus RS


One of the most talked about cars last year, the Ford Focus RS is now heading to dealerships sporting a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 350 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. It also has plenty of other interesting technology, including an advanced torque vectoring all-wheel drive system.

ALSO SEE: 10 Surprising Cars the Ford Focus RS is Faster Than

1. Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG


Mercedes-Benz recently increased the performance of its CLA45 AMG offering in order to stay ahead of the competition. The German automaker likes to boast that it has the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world, with the 2.0-liter mill cranking out 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The competition is getting fierce though, especially with Volkswagen wanting to bring out a 400-hp four-cylinder monster. We’ll have to see what Mercedes does to answer the call, but for now it reigns supreme.


gjrip says:

I get that maybe you wanted to sneak the Camaro in there for the page views, but you’re forgetting the Lincoln MKC 2.3T makes 285hp and 305 lb-ft.

gjrip says:

And while we’re at it, the Ford Explorer makes 280hp and 310 lb-ft in the 2.3 Ecoboost variant.

timothyhood says:

They could have combined the TT-S/Golf R siblings since they share the same engine.

taco says:

As well as the S3.

Anthony Murray says:

I have to disagree with the entire concept that these replace displacement. These are already forced inducted, and pushed fairly close as you can safely push them. You get these numbers and higher from NA larger displacement then you have a lot of safety to add forced induction, cams, heads, etc.

Jeff Lachance says:

These aren’t anywhere close to being maxed. A simple tune on a factory turbocharged engine can net anywhere between 40-80 more ponies.

heavy2 says:

do not forget to brake with that extra power.