The world is full of cars. Within those cars are the motors that power them. Some big and some small. Some make a ton of power and some make just enough. All different shapes, sizes, and ideas make up the automotive world. The big gas guzzling V8’s are becoming a thing of the past as the world turns to more eco friendly means of transportation. We decided to come up with a list comprised of five of the best four cylinder engines ever produced. A couple of them might surprise you. Making a lot of power doesn’t always make you the king.
5. Nissan SR20DET
This Nissan motor has one of the World’s largest followings to date. The SR20DET is part of the Nissan SR motor family and could be found in the Nissan Bluebird, Silvia, Pulsar Gti-R and many other Nissans. The Silvia is the most notable of them all. The motor has a 2.0 liter displacement containing a dual overhead cam design, electronic fuel injection and a turbo charger. Sounds like the best mix of automobile motor design. This motor replaced the CA18DE and CA18DET models. Power levels from 201 to 250 horsepower were found depending on the model the car was going into. The US never saw the SR20DET motor. The KA24 Single and Dual overhead cam motors were used in the Nissan 240SX. The SR20 is widely imported to the US from Japan today and can be found in many different rear wheel drive platforms including the 240SX.
4. BMW M44
This 1.9 liter German motor made the list because it just will not die. It only produced 140 horsepower from its dual overhead cam design and that’s not too shabby for a four cylinder motor that was designed and produced in the 1990s. The M44 added an extra 6% of displacement over the previous M42 powerplant. The motor was found in the 1996-2001 BMW E36 318Si, 318Ti, and Z3. If you pay attention the next time you are driving down the street you will see plenty of these three cars still on the road today. And it’s all thanks to the M44 and its designers at BMW.
3. Honda B-Series
This motor stepped Honda into the spotlight. Dual overhead cams, variable valve timing and amazing fuel economy pushed the Honda ahead of other Japanese auto makers. The motor first appeared on the market in 1989. Several different engine codes were built including the B16, B17, B18, and B20. The B16 and B18 motors were and still are the most popular and famous. Honda placed these engines in the Civic and Integra as performance options over the older Honda D series motors. The B series family produced anywhere from 137 horsepower to 200 horsepower. These motors ceased production in 2001 and were replaced by the Honda K series engine. Even though the B series is dead to Honda MFG it still lives on and is one of the most popular racing and enthusiast engines on the planet today.
2. General Motors EcoTec Turbo
This GM work horse easily takes the number two spot on the list. The EcoTec was introduced to the market in 2000 by General Motors and it is still in service to this day. These motors have powered Chevrolets, Buicks, Saturns, Opels, GMCs, and Pontiacs. Three generations have been produced so far. Displacements and aspirations are varied as well. GM saw the need to incorporate 1.8, 2.0, 2.2, 2.4, and 2.5 liter selections throughout the motors life span. Performance versions were put in place as well with many being super or turbo charged. This motor found its way into not only cars. The Buick, Chevy, and GMC small trucks and SUVs are powered by this small American wonder. Power ranges from 135 to 272 horsepower. The EcoTec was also one of the most winning motors of the Professional Import Drag Racing Scene for many years. This motor has proved itself all of the world and it isn’t done yet.
1. Honda K Series
The Honda K Series engine replaced the B series. The K series brought larger displacements and more power. Intelligent Variable Valve Timing, IVTEC, helped these motors rev to higher numbers and get better fuel economy than its predecessors. It also allowed Honda to use one motor in more of its vehicles than ever before. The K series is used in the CDX, RSX, RDX, TSX, Civic, Accord, Odyssey and other models. This opened the K series engine up to a wider range of uses and power levels. The 2.4 liter K motor found in the Honda CRV has been a choice favorite of import drag racers for a while now. The new turbo charged K series equipped Honda Civic will take things to a whole other level. The K series saw power ranges from 140 to 300 horsepower. Not too bad for a little four banger.