Everyone loves the low rumble of an American V8, the high-pitched chant of a naturally aspirated V12 or V10 engine, or maybe the six-cylinder symphony of something built in Germany, but an engine layout that many often overlook is those with four cylinders. 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-cylinder engines with a sweet cry. And we thought we should just mention that if you want to get as much sound on your eardrums as possible, always, and we mean, always, try to find a convertible musician.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the wonderful world of lavish four-bangers, whether they’re found in sports cars, hot hatches, or even miniature supercars, these are the best sounding quad-cylindrical cars the world has ever seen.
10 2012 Fiat Abarth 500
Ever since we can remember, we’ve wondered what black magic Abarth engineers use to make their cars sound as good – and loud – as they do. Well, the answer is much simpler than you might think. The turbo engines of this hot Fiat 500 had no mufflers at the factory. How is this possible, you may be wondering – well, we’re not sure either.
Somehow Abarth managed to find a loophole in building the 500 and convinced everyone that his turbocharger was more than enough to muffle the noise – and it worked. So when the Abarth 500 made its appearance in the late 2000s, none of them were fitted with a muffler, and that meant they sounded a bit like crazy cat on factory steroids†
9 2022 Hyundai Elantra NO
It’s not often you see new cars that make a sweet sounding exhaust note, and it’s all thanks to those annoying soft limiters and popless exhaust noises, but some manufacturers really do believe that if there’s a will, there’s a way. Hyundai has been seriously killing it in recent years, especially with their hot hatches, but a newly added weapon to their hot hatch arsenal is a compact sedan called the Elantra N.
It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out up to 286 horsepower, but best of all it has a valved exhaust that lets you switch from comfortable, quiet cruising to aggressive roar when you let off the throttle with a push on the button. a button.
8 2018 Ford Focus RS
They just don’t make them like they used to, and this is especially true when we look back at one of Ford’s greatest cars ever built, the last-generation Focus RS.
Under the hood of this hot economy car is a 2.3-litre turbo-four EcoBoost engine that delivers 350 horsepower to all four wheels, but perhaps more important than the engine and noise was the fact that it was turned on alone. offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, and that it had a handy drift knob that wasn’t just there for show. But don’t think we’ve forgotten, the Focus RS has one of the most annoying but beautiful exhaust tunes ever listen†
7 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
It’s rare to see an Alfa Romeo performance car not equipped with a V6, or on rare occasions a V8, but their last driver-focused lightweight sports car, the 4C, came with a small 1.75-litre turbocharged inline -four mounted in the middle of its chassis.
This tiny engine only produced 235 horsepower, but since this topless Alfa weighed just under 2,000 lbs, it was more than enough to push you back into your seat when you kicked the pedal to the floor with a 0-60 time of just 4 ,2 seconds. What’s equally astonishing is the sound this 1.75-litre engine can produce, and it’s even more fun with the hood down.
6 2001 Honda S2000
You knew it would be here, come on. As many of you know, the Honda S2000 is considered one of the best affordable modern sports cars to ever grace our roads, but it wasn’t just a joy to drive. The S2K was powered by a four-cylinder inline engine, the F20C, and there were quite a few things that made it unique.
First, it had Honda’s legendary VTEC technology, second, it spit out nearly 250 horsepower, but most important of all, it had a red line similar to that of a Ferrari 458… 9,000 RPM. Yes, that means you can go out today and buy a Honda S2000 for about $20,000 and enjoy its high revving engine with the roof down and the wind that will drive you crazy.
5 2012 Mini Cooper John Cooper Works
As we said with the Focus RS, they don’t make them like they used to. The latest JCW hatches Mini produces may be better performing cars than those of 10 years ago, but there is one aspect where the previous generation JCW will reign supreme, and that is when it comes to sound.
The 2012 JCW (R56) hatch was powered by a 208 horsepower four-cylinder engine – which is already a respectable amount – and it made noises you can’t believe were legal at the time. When shifting between gears, running the engine when stationary or even releasing the right pedal, these little hatchbacks sound like machine guns high on cocaine†
4 1985 Ford RS200
There is a lot of jealousy surrounding the Ford RS200; it was built by an American car company, but just when America thought they would receive this monstrous street-legal rally racing icon, Ford decided it would be better to blossom in the UK, which is why only 200 models were made, and the most lived in the UK.
And when we say this was a road-legal rally racing icon, we mean it. It was powered by a Cosworth-built 1.8-litre four-cylinder that developed 250 horsepower in the road-legal variants, while producing up to 450 horsepower 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 accidents the WRC had ever seen.
3 BMW E30 M3
The BMW E30 is considered by many to be the best 3-series the Bavarians have ever made, and the M version wasn’t even powered by a six-cylinder like most of its successors.
The E30 M3 used a high-revving 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, double overhead camshaft engine and generated between 192 hp and 197 hp in its base variants, while the M3 Evo and Evo II had up to 235 hp. So why did it sound so enticing, you may ask. The sensation this E30 gives you when you listen to it vibrates is really inexplicable, listen for yourself†
2 1998 Subaru Impreza 22B
It still breaks our hearts to watch Subaru kill the STD name badge as a whole, we still haven’t fully processed it, to be honest… but what’s the point of crying over spilled milk. Out of all the different generations of the STI there isn’t a huge difference in the sounds they put out, after all they all use the same type of boxer engines, but one that stands out above the rest of the pack is the 22B.
The turbocharged 2.2-litre four-cylinder boxer engine pumped out 300 horsepower, but what made the sound even more intoxicating than the boxer’s hum was the turbo noise…
1 1968 Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce
There’s a phrase that Jeremy Clarkson used to say that to be a true 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 best sounding ones usually have an Alfa Romeo Twin Cam engine, which is exactly what the 1750 GT Veloce came with.
Its naturally aspirated 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine produced just 132 horsepower, but again, a car’s weight is the magic ingredient. If you’ve ever wondered what a true cinematic masterpiece looks and sounds like, take a moment to watch the video of Robbert Albas driving his yellow GTV†
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