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The new cars with the most horsepower per liter in Australia

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A two-litre four-cylinder can now rival an aspirated V8 muscle car in power, thanks to advances in engine technology in recent years.


Twenty years ago, the idea of ​​a four-cylinder engine producing 300 kW, a six-cylinder engine producing 400 kW and a V8 producing 500 kW was anything but unheard of.

Today, as the internal combustion engine enters its final decade under the hood of our new cars, all kinds of advances in engine technology have enabled automakers to extract more power than ever before from smaller, lighter engines.

However, some engines stand out from the rest, cramming more power and torque into shorter, narrower and fewer cylinders. Here are the 10 most ‘power-dense’ engines for sale – in other words, engines with the most horsepower per liter.



10. Alfa Romeo Giulia / Stelvio Quadrifoglio (129.7 kW / L)

The Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio, one of only two sets of four-door cars on this list, share a 2.9 liter twin-turbo V6derived from an earlier version of the 3.9-litre and 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8s in the Ferraris higher on this list.

With endings from 375kW and 600Nmthe Alfa Romeos are the most powerful four-door cars in their segment – they outperform BMW’s mid-sized M Competition cars (M3, M4, X3 M and X4 M), which also quote 375 kW, but from engines that are 102cc larger (2993cc vs. 2891cc ).

9. McLaren 720S (132.7 kW/L)

The lowest placed McLaren in this top-10 list, the 720S uses the 4.0 liter ‘M840T’ version of the company twin-turbo V8 – a descendant of an engine first planned for a 1980s Nissan Group C race car – under development 530kW and 770Nm.



It’s not cheap either, priced at over $500,000 excluding costs and options on the road – two-thirds more than the next car on this list, and equal to over three Giulia’s.

8. BMW M4 CSL (135.3 kW/L)

The ‘regular’ BMW M4 and M4 Competition may not have enough power to beat the aforementioned Alfa Romeos and find a spot on this list, but the tuned, stripped-down M4 CSL does.

The new M4 CSL revives a name last used 20 years ago – first applied in the 1970s – and uses the most powerful version of BMW’s 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘S58’ inline-six offered so far, under development 405kW and 650Nm.



It’s also the engine’s most expensive application (for now), priced from $303,900 plus on-road costs — nearly twice the price of an M4 manual coupe.

7. Ferrari F8 Tribute / Spider (135.8 kW / L)

What are probably Ferrari’s last series-produced V8 supercars without any kind of hybrid technology, the F8 Tributo coupe and F8 Spider convertible come in seventh on this list.

Driven by 3.9 litres versions of Ferrari’s ‘F154’ twin-turbocharged V8, the F8 two-door sharing outputs from 530kW and 770Nm, which is fed from 0-100 km/h to the rear wheels for 2.9 seconds. Prices start from about $540,000 plus on-road costs.



6. McLaren 765LT (141.0 kW/L)

McLaren’s trusted V8 is offered with even more power under the lid of the 765LT – the heroic, track-focused version of the 720S range.

Available in Spider form, priced from $685,000 plus on-road costs, the 765LT Extracts 563kW (or 765 metric horsepower) and 800Nm for a sprint of 2.8 seconds from 0-100 km/h.

5. McLaren Artura (145.7 kW/L)

The smallest engine ever fitted to a modern McLaren also delivers more power per liter than any other engine from the company: the new 3.0-litre (2993cc) twin-turbo V6 in the $449,550 Artura, in development 430 kW/585 Nm.



The car’s hybrid system increases the combined power to 500 kW and 720 Nm – but we have excluded this electric boost from the power-per-litre calculations, as it is not generated by the petrol engine itself.

4. Ferrari SF90 Stradale / Spider (143.9 kW / L)

The most powerful production version of the Ferrari F154 turbo V8 is mounted on the $846,888 SF90 Stradale and $957,700 SF90 Spider duo. four liters (3990cc) and under development 574kW/800Nm.

That figure excludes the SF90 duo’s hybrid system, which can add another 162 kW for a total of 735 kW – although like the Artura, we didn’t include this in the calculations.

3. Maserati MC20 (154.3 kW/L)

The only two-door V6 supercar on this list without hybrid assistance, the $467,000 plus on-road Maserati MC20 packs a 3.0-litre twin-turbo ‘Nettuno’ V6 designed in house – not related to the 2.9-litre Ferrari mill of the Alfa Romeo range.

With Formula 1-derived pre-chamber combustion technology on board, it quotes: 463kW (630 metric horsepower, not 470kW as also reported) and 730Nm from only 3000cc content.

2. Mercedes-AMG A45/CLA45/GLA45 S (155.7 kW/L)

Mercedes-AMGs 2.0-litre (1991cc) ‘M139’ four-cylinder turbocharger is the most powerful four-cylinder ever fitted and produced in a production car 310kW and 500Nm in the flagship A45 S, CLA45 S and GLA45 S performance cars.



Built by hand, the engine quotes a 7200 rpm redline, high-speed twin-scroll turbocharger and up to 30.5 psi (2.1 bar) boost pressure. It can be yours for ‘just’ $99,895 plus on-road costs in the A45 S, the only car under $100,000 here.

The M139 engine will soon be fitted in the next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan, with an output of 331 kW – before the addition of the powerful plug-in hybrid system.

1. Ferrari 296 GTB (163.0 kW/L)

As with its British rival, it is a small twin-turbo V6 who claims power density is good for Ferrari, with the 120-degree ‘F163’ engine in the new 296 GTB coupe (and upcoming 296 GTS convertible) hybrid supercar.

crowd 3.0 liter – although Ferrari calls it a 2.9-litre engine, despite a displacement of 2992 cc – the engine of the 296 GTB is developing 487kW on its own, before adding another 123 kW from the plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Ferrari claims a combined power of 610 kW and 740 Nm, good for a 0-100 km/h sprint in 2.9 seconds, and a red line of 8500 rpm that is comparable to a screaming naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari positioning.

Is there a car we missed? Which powerful engine do you notice the most? Let us know in the comments.



Alex Misoyannis

Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website Redline. He contributed to Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019 and becoming a regular contributing journalist on the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role in Alex’s life, from browsing car magazines as a young age to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.

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