Sleek, and seductive, while hinting at speed, agility and playfulness, even the most staid of the best 4-cylinder coupes incites driving fun. They also let you have your fun while remaining economical too. You see, the beauty of fitting a coupe with a four-cylinder engine lies in the fact you get the youthful playfulness factor with more responsible levels of fuel economy. Yes, in some cases (but not all, as we’ll see) you’ll give up outright performance. But with any of the cars you’ll find on our list of the best 4-cylinder coupes, what you sacrifice in performance, you’ll make up in fewer trips to the gas pump.
Alfa Romeo 4C
When you’re looking for chic, it’s difficult to beat the Italians. From the voluptuous swells of its fenders to the graceful arc of its roofline, the Alfa Romeo 4C’s splendid display of radii is fodder for hours and hours of long lingering looks. Even better, the driving pleasure the 4-cylinder coupe presents is equally the match of the style it confers upon its driver. Delivering 237-horsepower from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the 4C is nothing less than an affordable mid-engined rear-wheel drive exotic Italian sports car. Without a doubt, Alfa’s 4C is truly something special. Pricing starts at $53,900.
While you might not have realized it, the Audi A5 is indeed a 4-cylinder coupe. Further, with the Audi A5 you get a dynamically styled automobile—one that looks like nothing else on the road, save another Audi. With its superb interior fit and finish, the A5 is also one of the most luxurious cars on this list of the best 4-cylinder coupes. Like every other Audi, the tech quotient is also quite high. Power comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine producing 220 horsepower and 258 ft-lbs of torque. Pricing starts at $40,000.
Well respected for extracting superior performance from small displacement engines, Audi’s parent corporation, the Volkswagen Group, gets more work from four cylinders than just about any other manufacturer. Thus, it is but a minor surprise (if at all) to find the Audi TT on this list of the best 4-cylinder coupes. A stylishly distinctive coupe, one defying definition, the TT is not exactly a sports car, not exactly a grand touring car, and most definitely not an economy car. Still, the Audi TT serves all three categories—while not fitting precisely into any of them. Pricing starts at $40,350.
While the BMW 228i is the marque’s entry-level coupe in this market, the preternatural fluidity we’ve come to expect from BMW automobiles is solidly in evidence. Claiming its spot on the list of the best 4-cylinder coupes, the 228i is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 240 horsepower and 255 ft-lbs of torque. Offered with both rear- and all-wheel drive, the 228i uses an eight speed automatic transmission as standard equipment; but of course a six-speed manual is a no cost option (with rear drive). Pricing starts at $32,100.
BMW 4 Series
The BMW M3 Coupes imorted into the United States back in 1999 were fitted with a 240-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine. For 2015, BMW is offering the descendant of the 3 Series coupe upon which that M3 was based also with 240 horsepower—albeit from a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Yes, today’s BMW 428i makes the same power as the 1999 BMW M3, with two fewer cylinders. It’s also better equipped, safer, and definitely worthy of a spot on this list of the best 4-cylinder coupes. Pricing starts at $40,750.
The crisply styled Cadillac ATS Coupe delivers style, practicality, and luxury all in one alluring package. The Cadillac small coupe also has the goods to be a righteously competitive presence in its peer group. Power for the 4-cylinder version of the coupe comes from a turbocharged engine displacing 2.0-liters and producing 272 horsepower along with a rather healthy 295 ft-lbs of torque. As you might expect for a sporting oriented coupe of this nature, rear drive is standard. All-wheel drive is optional with the automatic transmission. A six-speed manual transmission is offered as an option. Pricing starts at $37,995.
Unless you really haven’t been paying attention, you know the Ford Mustang is suddenly appearing on all of these lists of the best 4-cylinder coupes thanks to the all-new 2015 model’s 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Marking the first application of 4-cylinder power to the Mustang since 1984, this is a momentous development. Fans of Ford’s EcoBoost technology are not surprised to learn the engine endows the Mustang with 310 horsepower and 320 ft-lbs of torque. This is more power than the Mustang’s 3.7-liter V6 provides. Pricing for the EcoBoost Mustang starts at $25,300.
Honda Civic Coupe
With the 4-cylinder powered Honda Civic Coupe you get outstanding build quality, exceptional fit and finish, and above average reliability. What’s more, you literally have to try to kill a Civic—they seldom break. The base model of this 4-cylinder coupe is the “practical” choice as it consumes less fuel, requires less space to park, and is neat and tidy and comfortable to drive. Then there’s the Civic Coupe Si, with its high-winding engine, slick manual shifter, and athletic oriented suspension tuning. Either way, you’ll get a car you can count on for the long haul. Honda Civic Coupe pricing starts at $18,290.
Good looks notwithstanding, the hybrid Honda CR-Z finds itself on this list of the best 4-cylinder coupes because it is the product of a company well known for technologically advanced, lightweight, fuel-efficient, fun to drive cars. When the CR-Z was introduced back in 2011, the little Honda was the first truly sporty hybrid two-seater coupe. A taut suspension system, quick steering, and the first six-speed manual transmission ever fitted to a hybrid automobile further defined the package as a strongly desirable proposition. Pricing starts at $20,145.
Kia Forte Koup
One of the smartest moves Kia’s management team ever made was hiring former Audi designer Peter Schreyer to pen its cars. Going from frumpy to fine in one generation, Kia’s lineup is now the nicest looking in its class, as well as among the most handsome in the industry. One of the most vivid examples of the transformation is the comely little Kia Forte Koup. The goodness shows up inside the car too, with a handsome interior treatment, a strong feature set, and good ergonomics. A variety of 4-cylinder engines are offered to power the model. Pricing starts at $18,590.
When it was introduced in the 2012 model year, the Mercedes-Benz C250 was the first 4-cylinder Mercedes-Benz model to be offered in the US for quite some time. Of course now, with the proliferation of turbocharged 4-cylinder power, the C250 is surrounded by a number of 4-cylinder models proudly wearing the three-pointed star. However, it remains the only 4-cylinder two-door coupe in the brand’s product portfolio (regardless of how it’s billed, we don’t consider the Mercedes-Benz CLA a true coupe.) Offering the style and grace of a Mercedes coupe in a more economical package, we do consider the Mercedes-Benz C250 one of the best 4-cylinder coupes. Pricing starts at $39,400.
Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
Nicely balanced, fun to drive and pleasant to look at, the Scion/Subaru duo are revolutionary entries in the small car marketplace. Further, both of the sporty 4-cylinder coupes deliver a comfortable and spacious interior, a roomy trunk and a highly enjoyable driving experience. If you’re looking for more of an elemental driving experience, go with the Scion—as it is the more modestly equipped of the two. If you want more of a GT feel from the two-seat coupe, the more sumptuously outfitted Subaru is your pick. Pricing starts at $25,670 for the Scion and $25,695 for the Subaru.
With the FR-S in the lineup, Scion’s tC has been somewhat overlooked of late. This is unfortunate, because the other Scion two-door 4-cylinder coupe is a pretty nice ride. To help attract some attention to the model, a special edition tC Release 9.0 is being offered for the 2015 model year with suspension enhancements and an orange and black paint scheme. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a full set of power accessories, and a panoramic sunroof. Not too shabby when you consider the Scion tC’s price, which starts at $19,980.
Any serious list of the best 4-cylinder coupes without Volkswagen’s Beetle is patently incomplete. In addition to its distinctive style, the venerable VW offers good performance, great fuel economy, and a solid roster of useful standard features. Available in a variety of trims, each configured to emphasize a different aspect of the Beetle’s nature; power comes from a choice of three turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, including a diesel. This makes the Beetle the market’s only coupe offering with a diesel powerplant. For the 2015 model year, the 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine got a 10 horsepower bump to 150 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque. Pricing starts at $20,695.