Four-Cylinder Cars That Prove Little Engines Don’t Have to Be Lame

We’ve all heard the car-guy adage: “there’s no replacement for displacement!” Is that really the case, though? Smaller engines are turning out seriously admirable horsepower and torque numbers now, all while doing so efficiently. Maybe it is time to consider that some 4-cylinder cars on sale today prove that little engines don’t have to be lame. 

  • Lotus Emira
  • Porsche 718 Cayman S
  • Ford Mustang EcoBoost
  • Audi S3
  • Alpine A110
  • Mercedes-Benz A45 S
  • Toyota Supra 2.0
  • Subaru BRZ
  • Honda Civic Si
  • Mercedes-Benz SL43

Lotus Emira might be an evolutionary step in sports car DNA 

With a Mercedes-Benz AMG sourced engine tuned by Hethel engines, the baby Lotus looks formidable. The AMG powerplant will reportedly produce a respectable 360 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. Of course, in typical Colin Chapman fashion, the Lotus Emira will be light too.

Is the Porsche 718 Cayman S fast? 

Four-cylinder cars like the Porsche 718 Cayman prove little engines don't have to be lame
Porsche 718 Cayman | Martyn Lucy, Getty Images

Many petrol-heads consider the Cayman to be a baby 911, but that seems to limit to the little sports car. The 718 Cayman S is a fast, powerful four-cylinder car with Porsche performance pedigree. Porsche equipped the 718 Cayman S with a mid-rear-mounted turbo flat four-cylinder powerplant producing an enthusiastic 350 horsepower. Of course, if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, just get out and look at it. 

Are Ford Mustang EcoBoost good cars? 

What? A Ford Mustang on a list without the Coyota V8 pushing it? Yes, the performance credentials of the Ford Mustang don’t stop at the GT, Mach 1, or Shelby coupes. That isn’t really the case, considering Ford updated the S550 generation with not only a design refresh but also a 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. Buying a Ford Mustang EcoBoost today gets you a RWD muscle coupe (or convertible) with 330 horsepower. 

The 2022 Audi S3 is a fast car with a four-cylinder engine and daily driver potential

Four-cylinder cars like this Audi S3 prove little engines don't have to be lame
Audi S3 | Sjoerd van der Wal, Getty Images

Audi’s eager little S3 is built on the A3 platform, with an extra dose of performance. The S3 has AWD and 306 horsepower making it a solid performance car. Additionally, the S3 has four doors, meaning it will serve consumers well as a passenger car or commuter. 

How much does an Alpine A110 cost? 

Four-cylinder cars like this Alpine A110 prove little engines don't have to be lame
Alpine A110 | Daniel Pier, Getty Images

It might not be cheap, but the Alpine A110 delivers in character alone. The little French sports coupe packs a 252 horsepower four-cylinder engine. That might not seem like much, but the A110 has a curb weight of just 2,432 lbs. 

These lean, mean four-cylinder machines change the mold  

There might be no time like the present to try a different kind of performance car. With electrification and smaller, more efficient powerplants doing the work of much larger engines, buying a solid four-cylinder car seems prudent. The list doesn’t stop here, though, HotCars liked the Honda Civic Si, Toyota Supra 2.0, and Mercedes-Benz SL43 to name a few. Scroll down to read more about two fun four-cylinder cars: the 2022 Subaru BRZ and the 2022 Mazda MX-5. 

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