Three-cylinder engines are normally associated with city cars whose main brief is to get you from point to point while using as little fuel as possible. Outright performance is not hugely important, nor is the way the engine sounds since all that matters for a three-pot is to be cheap to build, run, and maintain.
But the perception of three-cylinder engines seems to be shifting as more and more powerful units make their way to the mainstream automotive scene. Some of them are even finding their way under the hood of proper performance cars, and if this isn’t a clear indication of a shift in perception of such engines, then I don’t know what is.
This is our list of the seven most powerful three-pot power plants currently available in any car (and one model you can have it in), in ascending power order.