Four-cylinder engines have always had a place in sports car history, with even Porsche producing memorable models like the Porsche 914 and Porsche 944. The best 4-cylinder sports cars currently available present a mix of lightweight platforms engineered for perfect balance and turbocharged pint-sized rockets intended to provide blistering acceleration at an affordable price point. There are even a few luxury sports cars that offer four-cylinder engines, showing just how much more respect this diminutive engine design has been accorded in our era of increased focus on fuel efficiency.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best 4-cylinder sports cars available in 2014.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 01 - 2014 Scion FR-S
The 2014 Scion FR-S is a rear-wheel drive compact coupe that's build around a relatively light chassis with near-perfect weight distribution. Given that it weighs less than many of its contemporaries, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood of the Scion FR-S doesn't need to deliver more than the 200 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque that it makes in stock trim. A six-speed manual transmission represents the best way to experience the FR-S, although a six-speed automatic is also available with the car, and slapping on a set of stickier tires to replace the stockers will do wonders to improve the coupe's feel in high performance driving.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 02 - 2014 Ford Focus ST
The 2014 Ford Focus ST is a more frenetic take on how a 4-cylinder sports car should feel. The Ford Focus ST takes the standard Focus hatchback platform and gives it a stiffer suspension, a torque-vectoring feature to assist with steering, and a unique anti-torque steer system that works to keep the front-wheel drive vehicle's turbocharged engine from over-powering its front meats. The end result is impressive: harnessing the Focus ST's full 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque through its standard six-speed manual transmission sees 60-mph arriving from a standing start in just a tick over six and a half seconds.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 03 - 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0 R-Spec
In its last year of production, the turbocharged four-cylinder edition of the 2014 Hyundai Genesis Coupe is well worth a look. Specifically, the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T R-Spec is the model to target is spirited driving is your primary concern, as it offers upgraded Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, performance tires, and a more track-oriented suspension system on top of the base Coupe's list of standard features. Motivating the Hyundai is a 2.0-liter motor that is good for a healthy 274 horses and 275 lb-ft of twist, which can be shifted solely by a six-speed manual gearbox when found in R-Spec trim.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 04 - 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2014 Mazda MX-5 Miata offers some of the most communicative steering and suspension on the sports car market, regardless of how many cylinders might be found under the hood. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is another vehicle that trades on lightweight design, as this roadster undercuts almost every one of its competitors on the scale. It also features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that is good for 167 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque (or 158 horsepower if you opt for the Miata's six-speed automatic transmission over either its five or six-speed manual units). You won't win any drag races in the Mazda, but you'll set yourself up for a thrill on every curvy road you can sneak away to on the weekend.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 05 - 2014 Audi TTS
The 2014 Audi TTS features standard all-wheel drive to go with its 2.0-liter, 265 horsepower turbocharged engine. Featuring a more engaging suspension system than the base TT, the Audi TTS coupe offers Euro car fans unique styling in the premium segment. Also capable of producing 258 lb-ft of torque from its 4-cylinder mill, the TTS comes exclusively with a dual-clutch automated manual transmission that features lightning-quick gear changes. There's only a single trim level available with the TTS, and it provides a magnetic adaptive suspension system, heated leather seats, and a surround sound audio system on top of its athletic personality.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 06 - 2015 Volkswagen GTI
The 2015 Volkswagen GTI is the first member of the completely re-designed Golf family to go on sale in the United States, in part because this sporty version of the affordable hatchback regularly accounts for more than 40 percent of total Golf sales. The Volkswagen GTI now features a new platform to go with its 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a unit that has been massaged to produce as much as 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque if the optional Performance Pack is selected as an option. The front-wheel drive GTI allows drivers to choose between either a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 07 - 2014 BMW 228i M Sport
The 2014 BMW 228i M is the entry-level version of the German brand's revised compact coupe - the 2 Series - but careful browsing of the options list can give it many of the go-fast goodies that come standard with its six-cylinder sibling. Ordering the M Sport and Dynamic Handling packages with the BMW 228i ensures that equipment such as an adaptive suspension system, quicker steering, 18-inch rims, a rear spoiler, and bigger brakes are installed. These items work in concert with the car's 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which also produces a respectable 255 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is included free of charge with the 228i, but a six-speed manual is also available.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 08 - 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works
The 2014 MINI Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works (or JCW for short) is a unique-looking entry into the 4-cylinder sports car sweepstakes from an automaker known for building ultra-compact vehicles. The Mini Cooper Coupe John Cooper Works is the most finely-honed edition of the two-seater, as it's equipped with a 208 horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder motor that additionally produces 192 lb-ft of torque. Stiffer springs, more aggressive shock tuning, and a six-speed manual transmission also come with the JCW, with the option of a six-speed automatic for those who don't want to shift themselves.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 09 - 2015 Subaru WRX
The 2015 Subaru WRX is not only the most civilized version to date of the automaker's turbocharged sports sedan, but it also happens to be the most fun model to drive. Completely new for 2015, the Subaru WRX offers standard all-wheel drive, torque vectoring for improved handling, and a much stiffer chassis compared to the outgoing edition of the compact car. Altogether, it's a formidable package made that much better by a fresh 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can be relied on to produce 268 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. You can spec the WRX with either a continuously-variable automatic transmission (with launch control), or a new six-speed manual.
Best 4-Cylinder Sports Cars 2014 - 10 - 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
The 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution soldiers forward with the same familiar formula it's presented all-wheel drive performance fans for the last several years, but it's still a compelling four-door option for the speed-obsessed set. 291 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque are produced by the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution's 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, with the choice between either a five-speed manual transmission (GSR trim) or six-speed dual-clutch automated manual (MR edition). A computer-controlled center differential manages traction at all times, and the Mitsubishi can hit 60-mph in a very quick five seconds.