QOTD: 500-horsepower Four-bangers?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd 500 horsepower four bangers

It wasn’t too long ago that four-cylinder engines were the domain of miserable econoboxes. Look no further than the wretched-but-reliable Iron Duke for proof of four-pot motoring misery.

These days, it’s a very different story. Four-bangers are found in everything from high performance sports cars to burly half-ton pickup trucks. We’re already in the realm of 400 hp examples of the breed (the new AMG A45, et al), so for today’s question let’s go one step further: who’ll be the first to build a 500 hp four-cylinder engine for the general public?

Mercedes is already well on its way, with the boffins from Affalterbach working on the next AMG A45. Whether the thing ever makes it to North America in hatchback form is up for debate, but the lilliputian tri-pointed star is already on this continent in sedan form. Your 6’6″ author sat in one last week and found it surprisingly agreeable. Endowing it with half-a-millennium of horsepower would be more than enough to forgive all sins.

Don’t forget — a 500hp four-banger might not initially appear in a car, either. With market tastes having long (and, in my opinion, permanently) skewed towards SUVs and crossovers, there is logic in predicting the first vehicle with 125 hp/cylinder could be something like the Porsche Macan. Its mostly beastly trim already makes 400 horses out of a twin-turbo V6, so some sort of four-pot infused with the juice of a hybrid system might very well satisfy our criteria.

This is without mentioning the like of the Focus RS (350hp), Silverado 2.7 (310hp), and a car which already resides in Club 400 — the 440hp Mitsu Evo X built for UK rallyheads.

Or perhaps you think I’m bonkers and we’ll never see 500 hp from such an engine. Having said that, it wasn’t too long ago that 400 horses per cylinder was unthinkable.

Vote below!

[Image: Porsche]

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  • Voyager Voyager on Feb 19, 2019

    Wasn't the winning LM1 Porsche at Le Mans some sort of hybrid based on a measly four-banger? Get used to it, America. Or else lose all export markets.

  • Terry Terry on Feb 19, 2019

    Or local newpaper had an article on some new Volvo with a turbocharged AND supercharged 2.0L 4 cyl rated at 400 HP, 415 lb-ft torque. Lawd-ah-mighty!! Technology has progressed to the point nwhere the later Sixes out-performed the V8s in what I would consider mainstream cars, then the Fours outperformed the Sixes. So now it appears that some Fours are outperforming the V8s, in lighter vehicles. The only question is long-term reliability. After I replaced the blown turbocharger in my'79 Mustang back in '82 I swore I'd never have another turbocharged car. So now I am into Week 3 of a '19 Mazda CX-5 Signature Turbo--and loving it. The difference is I bought this car new, and even though I am a (retired) dealer tech, I bought the extended service contract. When youre talking $5K and over for an engine or transmission, $1500 is peanuts. I was told by a coworker in our sister Subaru service department that some of their transmissions are $10K.

  • Lou_BC "They are the worst kind of partisan - the kind that loves their team more than they want to know the truth."Ummm...yeah....Kinda like birtherism, 2020 election stolen, vast voter fraud, he can have top secret documents at Mar-lago, he's a savvy business man, and hundreds more.
  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.