Make no mistake about it; the next generation of muscle cars will be unlike the big, bad, ultra-powerful bruisers you can buy today. Automakers are thinking small; real small. For the first time since the early 1980s, it’s very likely that American muscle cars will be available with four-cylinder engines. This includes the next-generation Chevy Camaro, which is rumored to be getting a 2.0 liter turbo as the base engine when it debuts.

The new report comes from GM Authority, citing unnamed sources and reflecting the reality of today’s new car market. But this could be a good thing…and there’s good reason to be upbeat about this news.

First off GM already has a 2.0 liter turbo engine in use in the Cadillac ATS. Offering 270 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque and by most indications its a very lively engine, even in the heavy ATS. In a lighter next-generation Camaro, such an engine would offer a spirited driving experience while also returning impressive fuel economy over 30 mpg on the highway.

A smaller engine could also keep the pricing at a competitive level with other muscle cars like the next Ford Mustang, which is also almost certainly getting a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Finally, it really opens up GM to go buckwild on the Camaro SS, perhaps offering a supercharged V8 as well as a twin-turbo V6 to slot between the four and eight-cylinder options.

We obviously think a four-cylinder turbo engine could be quite fun in a Camaro; do you agree?