Home Cars Top 25 Four-Cylinder Soundtracks

Top 25 Four-Cylinder Soundtracks

Vukasin Herbez September 17, 2019

A car’s engine sound can sometimes be just as important than its performance.

For decades, car enthusiasts have lusted after the glorious sounds of V8 and V12 engines. Although the orchestrated sounds of eight or 12 cylinders are magnificent, less coveted four-cylinder units can often provide the perfect soundtrack.

Due to that dynamic, we broke down several instances of four-cylinder cars with excellent sounding engines. Here are 25 of the most musical four-cylinder automobiles ever made.

Porsche 356
  1. Porsche 356

The predecessor to the legendary Porsche 911, the 356 model was the first proper sports car the iconic company produced. Introduced in 1948 and sold until 1965, the Porsche 356 had a four-cylinder boxer engine closely related to the Volkswagen Beetle and T1 Van engines.

However, Porsche tuned this motor to produce much higher output and won numerous races with it. As you can expect, the flat-four sounded angry and aggressive even though it produced modest power compared to later Porsche models.

Ford RS200

  1. Ford RS200

Debuting in 1984, this was a mid-engine, turbocharged sports car. It featured a lightweight body, 2.1-liter four-cylinder engine with 250 HP, and two seats. It was a racecar with no intention of hiding it.

Thanks to all-wheel drive, it was capable of jumping from 0 to 60 mph in just five seconds flat. It was all business and sounded like it with its fire-spitting exhaust as well.

Toyota Corolla AE86

  1. Toyota Corolla AE86

The AE86 was just a version of the standard Corolla model. But since the eighth generation was also the last rear-wheel-drive model, the engineers added a high revving 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to transform the car.

The results were fantastic since the AE 86 wasn’t a boring, slow Corolla anymore. Instead, it was an agile, light and nimble machine that appealed to driving enthusiasts. Also, it sounded great, which was a plus with buyers.

Ferrari 500 Mondial

  1. Ferrari 500 Mondial

Even though most car enthusiasts know about the V8 and V10 Ferrari engines, in the late ’50s, Ferrari produced the 500 Montreal. It was a racing car with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood.

The car produced around 200 HP and won several prestigious races back in the day. Also, it sounded raw and aggressive just like a proper race Ferrari should.

Alfa Romeo 4C

  1. Alfa Romeo 4C

In 2013, Alfa Romeo introduced the 4C. Nobody expected such a car from Alfa Romeo. The 4C was a “junior supercar” with a carbon-fiber tub, lightweight construction, cramped interior, and a four-cylinder turbocharged engine.

The heart of the 4C is a tiny, 1.8-liter engine with a turbocharger that delivers 238 HP to the rear wheels. The performance numbers are impressive just like the soundtrack is.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

  1. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

Despite being discontinued, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X is still a legend among performance car enthusiasts. The automotive world sorely misses this long-lasting series of four-door sedans with four-wheel drive and powerful four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

The latest version they call the Evo X comes with a 2.0-liter turbo engine. It delivers 291 HP and produces not only neck-snapping acceleration figures, but also great sound.

Ford Focus RS

  1. Ford Focus RS

The RS is one of the most powerful four-cylinder cars on the market. For the first time, it’s now available as a regular production model to U.S. buyers. The new Focus RS has a 2.3-liter turbocharged unit that delivers 345 HP to all four wheels, making it a capable hot hatch beast.

The performance is incredible. To go from 0 to 60 mph, it takes the RS only 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. But that’s not all since the Focus RS has an explosive engine sound with all the bangs and pops of a real rally car.

Brabham BT52

  1. Brabham BT52

In the early ’80s, BMW entered the Formula One along with the Brabham Team. In those days, turbo technology was all the rage, so they equipped the BT52 with a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder heavily turbocharged engine.

It produced a fantastic 800 HP. The result was one of the fastest cars on the grid and the first-ever Formula One title by a forced induction car.

Dodge Neon SRT4

  1. Dodge Neon SRT4

When Dodge introduced the Neon SRT4 in 2003, it was one of the best and most affordable performance cars in America at the time. They turned the compact Neon into a pocket rocket with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

It produced 230 HP, propelling the Neon from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.4 seconds. Although most Neons got aftermarket exhaust systems, the stock exhaust is one of the car’s signatures features.

Lancia Fulvia HF

  1. Lancia Fulvia HF

The Fulvia Coupe was a little 2+2 two-door car with a narrow-angle V4 engine powering the front wheels. This unique layout handled fantastically. With the small weight of the car itself, it presented solid performance.

It also had a distinctive engine sound similar to a raw V8, but with the half of the cylinders. This exhaust note was noticeable in the HF version, which they prepared for racing with an uncorked exhaust.

Porsche 944

  1. Porsche 944

In 1983, Porsche presented the 944, an important model for the brand. One of the main features of this new car was the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that could deliver 170 HP at first.

The big four-cylinder, which they later enlarged to 3.0 liters provided drivers with a deep, strong sound. Apart from the sublime handling thanks to its transaxle gearbox, the 944 had a distinctive roar that is still recognizable.

Alpine A110

  1. Alpine A110

This small coupe weighs just over a ton and has a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder behind the driver powering the rear wheels.

The power is more than adequate, with 252 HP running through the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. This is the epitome of a light sports car with great performance and a soundtrack to match.

Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

  1. Mini Cooper John Cooper Works

The Mini was always a benchmark car in terms of driving dynamics, precision steering, and pure hot hatch feel. The newest John Cooper Works edition doesn’t disappoint with its 228 HP four-cylinder engine making it one capable urban machine.

The acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is achievable in just 5.9 seconds while the top speed is 140 mph. All that is accompanied by a glorious rev coming from the exhaust pipes.

Jaguar F-Type 2.0

  1. Jaguar F-Type 2.0

The current F-Type sports car from Jaguar is quite a successful model. Everybody seems to adore the crazy 5.0 SVR with 550 HP and a thundering soundtrack. However, Jaguar introduced an interesting entry-level model in the form of the 2.0-liter turbocharged F-Type.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivers 300 HP, which is enough to keep the sports car reputation along with a fantastic soundtrack.

Honda S2000

  1. Honda S2000

This model was a true driver’s car with all the important features like lightweight construction and ideal weight distribution. Also, it had a powerful, rev-happy engine with razor-sharp handling. They put all of that in an elegant open-top package. Under the hood was a 2.0 or 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 HP, which 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. Best of all, it came with Hond’s famous V-Tec system. It provided all the power in high RPMs as well as a wonderful screaming sound.

BMW E30 M3

  1. BMW E30 M3

When most people think of BMW performance, they think of the “M” class cars. Among dozens of models that wore the M badge, the M3 E30 is the most iconic. The heart of the E30 M3 was the S14 straight-four engine with 2.3-liters of displacement and 195 and later 215 HP.

Since the car was light, its performance and road-holding was great. In fact, the M3 turned out to be the most successful racing car in touring car racing history.

Ford Focus ST

  1. Ford Focus ST

The third-generation Ford Focus was a great economy compact car. But when Ford introduced the ST model in 2012, buyers got an almost perfect hot hatch. Under the hood was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a turbocharger and 252 HP.

The rest of the car was perfectly tuned and represented a fantastic balance between performance and everyday usability. Of course, Ford didn’t forget about the sound, which completes this cool package.

Fiat 500 Abarth

  1. Fiat 500 Abarth

Even though the 500 Abarth gets only 160 HP from its tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, it’s a seriously fast and fun little car due to its small weight and compact dimensions. Also, it’s extremely practical for everyday driving and easy to park as well.

They completed the package with a small price and running costs. The engine sound is exciting since the engine breathes through two tailpipes.

Offenhauser Engines

  1. Offenhauser Engines

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 small displacement, any Offenhauser engine sounds glorious and powerful.

Audi TT

  1. Audi TT

The 2019 model for the U.S. market comes with 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. That power wouldn’t be anything without the proper soundtrack, and thankfully Audi delivers on that promise.

Porsche 904 GTS

  1. Porsche 904 GTS

Produced for just two years in 1964 and 1965, the Porsche 904 GTS was a racing car for the street. They designed it especially for the track but only homologated it as a road car. The flat-four engine was 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, which provided the 904 with glorious noise.

Subaru BRZ

  1. Subaru BRZ

This little sports coupe comes with a signature flat-four engine that delivers 205 HP from 2.0-liters. The BRZ is a light and nimble coupe, but the secret is in the position of the engine.

Since Subaru uses a flat-four engine, the center of gravity is lower than with regular inline four-cylinder motors. That’s the secret of unique engine sound since the flat-four has a distinctive engine noise, appealing to a wider range of customers.

Subaru Impreza WRX STI

  1. Subaru Impreza WRX STI

Another street racing and rally legend is the famous Subaru WRX STI. For decades, Subaru has been one of the most powerful four-cylinder cars on the market. And the latest generation of WRX STI doesn’t disappoint. Under the hood is a flat-four engine with 2.5-liters of displacement as well as a turbocharger.

This combo delivers 305 HP, which goes to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. It’s a true driver’s car with a proper manual gearbox, great road holding, and enough power to make this car fly. And there is a distinctive and perfectly recognizable sound produced by that potent turbo four.

Chevrolet Cobalt SS

  1. Chevrolet Cobalt SS

Although they discontinued it, the Chevrolet Cobalt SS was one of the best, most powerful four-cylinder cars. Available as a supercharged, turbocharged, or naturally aspirated model, the best SS was the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder they introduced in 2008.

The engine delivered 260 HP, which was astonishing by the standards of the day and more than any of its competitors. It also had a cool sound.

Volkswagen Golf R

  1. Volkswagen Golf R

The Golf R is a top-of-the-line Golf with a powerful four-cylinder turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and brutal performance for a family hatchback. However, the latest versions feature a smaller, more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-four that delivers almost 292 HP.

As you can expect, the performance is quite brutal for what is a family compact. To get from 0 to 60 mph, it only takes 4.5 seconds. This car can top 155 mph, which is amazing. All of that is accompanied by a fantastic sound coming from its twin tailpipes.

These are 25 of the greatest four-cylinder soundtracks. Which one of these cars caught your eye and your ears?

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