Best, or just sweetest 4 cylinder engines?

Best, or just sweetest 4 cylinder engines?


Electrics not for me

Original Poster:

37 posts

1 month

As a long time devotee of 5, 6, 8 and upwards cylinder-ed cars i often wonder if there are any smooth, powerful 4 bangers around? The A45 AMG is obviously epic from a performance point of view, 420 bhp and supercar 0-60 times are stunning efforts but i find them raw, loud and uncompromising.
What 4 cylinder cars have been made that are quick but smooth and quiet?


14,248 posts

200 months

Honda four pots? The old Fiat Twin Cam was a lovely old unit. And I have a massive sof spot for the VAG 1.9 tdi. Most influential engine of the 20th century?


11,041 posts

214 months

biggbn said:
Honda four pots?
^ This

The old zingy 1.6 VTEC engines were fun to ring out. But they werent great on power. But when we got to the 197BHP CTR engine, it changed the game. They got quick and that engine was amazing. Smooth and sweet to use. Did a trackday at Castle Combe in an EP3 CTR years ago, didnt even break into a sweat until I cooked the brakes of course. Not the only cracking Honda engine, but they have a reputation for a good reason.


10,709 posts

184 months

Not driven any, but I have read good things about the four-pots fitted to Porsche 944 / 968


1,565 posts

126 months

Good thread, not really thought about it myself, Honda as mentioned got to be hard to beat. Mitsubishi 4G63 I guess stood test of time for a good while.


686 posts

84 months

Another vote for Honda 4 pots. By far the best out of all the 4 pots I’ve tried. Vw prob next best. Then BMW. Then Ford, Kia, Hyundai. Worst were Vauxhall and Fiat. I don’t like how Vauxhall engines are tuned at all. No top end, very grumbly, noticeable vibrations through major controls.

Matt Watson did some youtube stunt, running some cars without engine oil. Unsurprising the Honda 4 pot lasted the longest. Read a car magazine article in the past that said they are built to tighter tolerances than the competition, that Soichiro Honda wanted their engines to be the best.

Edited by wyson on Friday 5th August 19:36


4,738 posts

157 months

Vauxhall C20XE ‘red top’ (just make sure it has the Cosworth cast heads).


383 posts

25 months

The EA888 is smooth, I wouldn't particularly say it's sweet but it does the job without a fuss 90% of the time.
I think it tends to be the purely direct injection ones that are clattery, particularly at low revs.


307 posts

57 months

Honda S2000 has a cracking engine, late '90s tech.
I have a Lancia with a Lampredi 1.6, very sweet engine..1960's tech with 1980's fuel injection.
Alfa busso Nord twin spark, as in 75, early 164 etc. very good engines, well built, chain timed..1980's variable valve timing tech developed from 1950's Busso Nord.
Don't know about any contemporary examples, but these old petrol engines were designed to be zingy, i.e. needed to be revved up for full power.


14,248 posts

200 months

I love the old vw flat four, a bog standard 1200 is the sweet spot for me, will still trundle on when everything modern has failed to progress! The early small capacity alfa flat fours and lancia v4s were super sweet also.

Mr Squarekins

568 posts

42 months

My s1000rr has quite a nice 4 pot.


3,456 posts

121 months

The 4G63T in my Evo will always hold a special place in my heart as my favourite engine after the RB26DET. Made power OEMs are only just catching up with and made a not unpleasant sound at full chat.


1,856 posts

208 months

80s - Ford RS cosworth
90s - Vauxhall 2.0 16 redtop.
00s - honda ctr 2.0 / mitsubishi Evo /
10s - meh...


13,106 posts

70 months

The Rover K series 1.8 VVC is a whizzy little motor. Going further back into old school stuff, the Lotus Twin Cam is hard to beat for sheer enthusiasm.


14,330 posts

262 months

The Ford Kent/Crossflow/BDA/BDG


328 posts

69 months

Honda H22 or B18.
The K20 is a ‘better’ engine, but loses quite a bit of the character the 90’s engines had.


2,958 posts

117 months

cherryowen said:
Not driven any, but I have read good things about the four-pots fitted to Porsche 944 / 968
I've driven the 968 with the 3.0 four. Wasn't it one of the biggest fours ever put in a production car? I think it was around 240bhp. Anyway it felt lovely and torquey and made a bassy rumble at low revs. Gave really good performance in its day. Not bad for the early to mid 1990s. I'd love to own one now!


841 posts

70 months

The 16v Alfa Twinspark is a very nice engine.


377 posts

132 months

Having owned an EA888 (2017 Audi S3 Saloon), they are soul-less and dull sounding, but fast, with a small amount of lag.

The old Alfa 2.0 16v Twin-Spark on the other hand, sounds great, revs great, and is fun to wring out.


14,248 posts

200 months

Ransoman said:
The 16v Alfa Twinspark is a very nice engine.
Yes, had a 145 breadvan green cloverleaf, absolutely brilliant little thing.