Weber Automotive, a leader in the manufacture of engine blocks and crankshafts (many of the magnesium VW Beetle engine blocks were cast by Weber), has designed a small V4 engine in an attempt to provide an alternative to inline fours in emerging markets such as China.

The V4 configuration has had its fair share of success in the realm of high-performance motorcycles, and Weber claims that its cube-like shape makes it well-suited to compact cars as well. Not only is the 70-degree bank angle said to offer a packaging advantage, but it's supposedly up to 75 lbs lighter than a typical 2.0L I4 of similar power.

Fans of the Yamaha VMax and Honda VFR may also be glad to hear that a 90-degree crank is used. This gives the engine a firing order that effectively is like two 90-degree V-twins which run 180 degrees out of phase, and thus leads to an exhaust noise that can best be described as that of a miniature V8.

The company has posted some specifications on its site, and if they are to be trusted, this engine might be rather interesting, indeed. If someone wants to toss this into a decent sport compact, we'd be more than happy to thrash it around for a while.

[Source: Automotive Design and Production]