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.
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.
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