Lofty List: The Best Sounding 4-Cylinder Cars

Engines are a wonderful thing. They take fuel and turn it into forward motion. They do this by creating millions of explosions, and harnessing the forces created. And they do this with ever varying conditions, like different fuel mixture, different displacements, different aspiration methods, etc...

As you may have figured out, we here at OhSoLofty are quite fond of engines. This is why my fellow writer Jack Lavish and I have decided to go through the thousands of engines out there in the world and create a list of the best sounding ones. And to keep things simple, these lists will be separated by engine type. There will also be a video accompanying these list to keep things nice and classy.

This week’s list is all about 4-Cylinder engines. Ahh yes, 4-pots. Personally speaking, 4-cylinder engines are a marvel to me. The fact that so much power can be pulled from such is small displacement is astonishing to me. While it true that 4-bangers are often associated with cheap economy cars, that only makes them so much more appealing as they are actually attainable.

Anyways, enough babbling, let’s get on with the list.


BMW M3 e30

The e30 M3 is the perfect example of an iconic 4-cylinder. The e30 housed they legendary S14 2.3l inline-4. Ok, so it isn’t a powerhouse like todays M3/4, however power isn’t always the answer. The S14 complemented the e30 chassis much in the same way that peanut butter compliments jelly. The S14 sounds phenomenal. The sound is smooth and mechanical, and it only gets better as the revs build.

Alfa Romeo 4C

The Alfa Romeo 4C is the perfect car. Sure the ride sucks, the build isn’t “up to price”, and the width makes close quarter driving edgy…but it’s still the perfect car. The 4C is the first Alfa Romeo available in the US in a long time, and it is absolutely stunning. It’s drives like no other car out there, and it’s 4-cylider motor sounds like no other 4-cylinder out there.

Honda Civic Type R Ep3

Talk as much crap about the Civic as you want, a stock Civic Type R Ep3 is still a monumental machine. Yes, Civic today are associated with large spoilers, excessive Axe deodorant, and extra HP stickers, but back then the Ep3 was a working mans sports car. Much like the BRZ and GTI of today, this Civic Type R featured a 200hp, 2.0L i-VTEC engine with a 9k redline. Think of the Ep3 as the more usable version of the S2000.

Lotus Exige S

The Lotus Exige S of now is a V6, however the past iteration was a 4-Cylinder. A Toyota developed, supercharged Inline-4 to be exact. Depending on the version, you had 200-240hp to play with. And while this is a Toyota supplied 4-cylinder, it’s still a supercharged engine, which means it needs to breath. And breath it does, in a very aural pleasing way.

Lancia Delta S4 Gr. B.

The Lancis Delta S4 Gr. B is a rally car. It has a 4-Cylinder engine that is turbocharged and supercharged. To meet regulations, Lancia limited the power to only 500hp, however the motor used in this monster was claimed to have developed 1000hp at some point. Let me repeat myself. 1000hp from a 4-cylinder that is turbo-charged, AND supercharged. Of course it’s going to sound good!

Stayed tuned into OhSoLofty. Next list coming soon!