Best, or just sweetest 4 cylinder engines?

Best, or just sweetest 4 cylinder engines?



1,753 posts

162 months

Aprilia’s 1100cc V4 is pretty damn sweet and sonorous.


396 posts

48 months

3S-GE BEAMS worth a mention. Not owned one but had a few 3S-GEs and a 3S-GTE, the BEAMS is just a more special thing (though a built up turbo is quite something).


3,000 posts

133 months

Agree Honda have made some cracking 4 pots from the one in the DC2 to S2000.

What about 2 litre Impreza Turbos from 1995 to 2005?


1,050 posts

105 months

HazzaT said:
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.
Got a Gen 2 EA888 engine. Way less clattery that the Mercedes M264 in our C300.


1,051 posts

30 months

H22 in my old Prelude or the K series VVT in my old Mgf stand out from all the cars I have owned, both sound sweet and love to rev. Current R53 daily is quiet pleasing too.


10,709 posts

184 months

There is a lot of love for Honda four-pots on this thread.

Here's another:-

500cc, four oval pistons, eight valves per cylinder, sounds awesome, blew up on the grid at its first race.


7,277 posts

81 months

captain_cynic said:
biggbn said:
Honda four pots
End of thread.

Specifically the F20C and K20.
Spoon 1.8 on throttle bodies.


357 posts

164 months

The 1990s Vauxhall Astra GTE Red Top 2.0 16v motor, an absolute power house. Great torque and pretty zingy and revvy too.

Having sampled Rover K series engines, and the Honda VTECs, the Vauxhall engine ticks more boxes imho, it has no weak point in the rev range and sounds properly rorty. Massively better than the smoky, torqueless 4 cylinder Ford CVH engines of the time (and I owned a few Fords with those in).

The way the power built was solid and addictive. No binary V-TEC engine there just solid all throughout the rev range. Cosworth had some major involvement into the engine, could be made to rev to around 9-10,000 rpm from memory, and it was just very good.

I would consider owning an Astra GTE 16v in the 'dream garage' just for that motor. Even the 1.8 8v Astra SRi had a sprinkle of torque and nice pickup that made it feel a bit special, not sure if Cosworth had any input into that engine though.

Edited by Turkey on Friday 5th August 22:49

Mr Tidy

17,626 posts

107 months

The best I've owned were a couple of Fiat Lampredi twin-cams back in the 70s.

But I did get a passenger ride in a Caterham around Donnington that had a tweaked Vauxhall red-top and it was just hilarious. Although maybe the engine took 2nd place to the overall experience!

Honda S2000 sounds like a lot of fun too.


424 posts

34 months

For pure character you will be hard pushed to beat an alpha twin cam 1600 from the GTA or the 1800 from the GTV

It's not just about powaarrrrrrr.


1,496 posts

163 months

Nickp82 said:
The Ford Puma 1.7 Yahama unit is worth a mention I think , probably not ‘the best’ but high up the list in terms of the sweetest.
I agree with this man.


1,088 posts

58 months

quotequote all
Ford/Cosworth BDA:


5,653 posts

172 months

quotequote all
Less than half the cars I've owned have been four pots, but the only one that stands out was a Citroen C2 Loeb with a TU5-JP4S engine.

It wasn't particularly powerful (circa 125bhp), and it needed to be worked quite hard, but when above 4.5k RPM it was a really really sweet engine that was really eager and quite torquey. Throw it down a country lane, and keep above 4.5k RPM and it was a really capable little car. It almost sounded like it had a supercharger whine to it too. It just begged for a thrashing.

It was really a one trick pony though. It was awful on long motorway journeys and didn't have a particularly good turning circle and wasn't that economical either, but as a cheap warm hatch to attack a country lane without getting into serious trouble it was excellent.


14,248 posts

200 months

quotequote all
The Alfa 2 litre twin cam from the alfetta gtv was also lovely


48,702 posts

184 months

quotequote all
I am not a massive fan of four cylinder engines. The Toyota unit in my Elise is ok, but the Honda K20 is a better implementation of that kind of thing. The 2.3 turbo unit in my Saab was powerful and relatively smooth and quiet, but you wouldn’t want to listen to it - the V6 diesel I have now is smoother and sounds better, sad to say.


5,493 posts

141 months

quotequote all
The Ford Sigma is a lovely thing. The 1.7 Puma VVT lump is the highlight, but the little 1.25 and 1.4 variants are super sweet things as well. We had a 1.4 Fiesta mk4. It only had about 90 bhp, but delivered it so willingly, smoothly and frugally that it was just a delight to use. Spun so smoothly and eagerly to its limiter. One of those engines that you just didn't feel you were harming at all by wringing its neck.

Also have a massive soft spot for the Vauxhall XE Red Top. Turned a number of pretty average road cars into absolute weapons, and was both tuneable, and very handy in motorsport as well.

Final mention is the Cosworth YB. Not sweet by any stretch of the imagination (coarse and harsh, perhaps), but the idea that a 2.0 engine can whack out 550 reliable horsepower in race trim isn't exactly shabby in 2022. Which makes it all the more remarkable that this engine was doing it over 30 years ago! It is to fours what the RB26 is to sixes. Just an absolute powerhouse.


650 posts

3 months

quotequote all
Ransoman said:
The 16v Alfa Twinspark is a very nice engine.
was about to post that. The 1.7 16v boxer is decent too.


650 posts

3 months

quotequote all
1.6 V4 in the Lancia Fulvia


87 posts

1 month

quotequote all
bangerhoarder said:
3S-GE BEAMS worth a mention. Not owned one but had a few 3S-GEs and a 3S-GTE, the BEAMS is just a more special thing (though a built up turbo is quite something).
Was going to say the same. Bomb proof engines. A Beams engine is pretty rare nowadays..

Electrics not for me

Original Poster:

37 posts

1 month

quotequote all
Sorry, I meant car engines, but if we're talking bikes then any number of 4 cylinder engines are great as they are so small and have tiny cylinder size. I'm currently running a low-miles Gen 2 Hyabusa from 2010 and it's a lovely engine in that thing. I love the effortless 100+ mph cruising ability and silly 0-100 if needed.
But car wise, my old S2000 must be at or near the top. A later car, it was such a clean revving motor.