The downsizing trend has ushered in a new era of small-capacity powerplants that depend on the latest technologies to produce their power instead of the old trick of simply increasing the engine size until the required power is met.

Whether it is electrical assistance or forced induction, the latest breed of four-cylinder engines are oftentimes more powerful than the big six and eight-cylinder motors they have replaced. 

As we head towards what seems like an inevitable electrically-powered future, let us celebrate the best of these four-cylinder powerplants. From sporty saloons to the hottest hatches and mid-range sports cars, there are some seriously quick offerings out there.  

They may not have the aural qualities of a high-revving inline-six or V8, but many can easily out-accelerate some seriously sporty old-school big-capacity cars and still sip fuel when required. For the perfect mix of power and economy, then, there is not much that can match a turbocharged four-cylinder engine.