Mini Cooper John Cooper Works
Most people consider the Mini a benchmark car in terms of driving dynamics, precision steering and a pure hot hatch feel. And the newest John Cooper Works edition doesn’t disappoint. In fact, with its 228 HP four-cylinder engine, it is one capable urban runabout.
The acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is achievable in just 5.9 seconds while the top speed is 140 mph accompanied by glorious noise coming from exhaust pipes.
This model was a true driver’s car with all the important features. It had a lightweight construction and the ideal weight distribution. They added a powerful and rev-happy engine with razor-sharp handling all in an elegant open-top package. Under the hood was a 2.0 or 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 HP.
And that was the main selling point of the car. This little gem of an engine featured a 9,000 rpm redline and four valves per cylinder. Also, it had the famous Honda V-Tec system that provided all the power in high rpms for a wonderful screaming sound.
BMW E30 M3
When most people think of BMW performance, they think of the “M” class cars. But, among the dozens of models that wore the M badge, the M3 E30 is the most iconic. But the heart of the E30 M3 was the S14 straight four engine with 2.3-liters of displacement.
Although it started with 195 HP, later the output was 215 HP. Since the car was light, the performance and road-holding were great. In fact, the M3 turned out to be the most successful racing car in touring car racing history.
Fiat 500 Abarth
Even though the 500 Abarth gets only 160 HP from its tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, it is a seriously fast and fun little car to drive. And that is due to its small weight and compact dimensions. Also, it is extremely practical for everyday driving and easy to park, as well.
And they completed the package with a small price and running costs. Also, the engine sound is exciting since the engine breaths through two tailpipes.
The Offenhauser or Offy is forgotten American manufacturer of race car engines that specialized in four-cylinder configurations. They used Offy engines in various open top cars from midget racers to Indy models. Despite the sometimes small displacement, any Offenhauser engine sounds glorious and powerful.
The 2019 model for the U.S. market comes with the signature Audi TFSI technology. It packs 2.0-liters of displacement and an advanced turbocharger that delivers 220 HP to all four wheels. This four-cylinder engine is common in the VW-Audi range.
It can produce from 200 to over 300 HP, depending on the engine tune. But that power wouldn’t be anything without the proper soundtrack. And thankfully, Audi delivers on that promise.
Porsche 904 GTS
Produced for just two years, just 1964 and 1965, the Porsche 904 GTS was a racing car for the street. In fact, they designed it especially for the track, but only homologated it as a road car. They positioned the flat-four engine behind the driver and displaced 2.0-liters with a high output of 180 HP. Since this was a racing car, the exhaust was uncorked. And that provided the 904 with glorious noise.