Subaru has become well-known for its unique engine design – the boxer engine. Also called the “flat engine,” the boxer engine is different from traditional engines, and it has been a staple in Subaru’s lineup for decades. In this article, we’ll explore the history of the boxer engine in Subaru vehicles, its benefits and drawbacks, and how it differs from other engine types. Read on to discover why Subaru’s Boxer engine technology is changing the game in automotive performance.
Introduction to Boxer Engines
Boxer engines are a type of internal combustion engine that features a unique design of having horizontally opposed cylinders. This means that cylinders are laid out parallel to the ground with pistons moving in opposite directions, which creates a natural balance in the engine. The result is a smoother and more stable ride.
Boxer engines derive their name from the way they look – when the engine is running, the pistons move sideways in a motion similar to a boxer’s punches. Flat engines provide a low center of gravity which, in turn, improves handling, stability, and safety. So, let’s dive into the history of boxer engines in Subaru vehicles.
History of Boxer Engines in Subaru Vehicles
Subaru started producing the boxer engine design in the 1960s, and it has since become a hallmark of the brand. Their first production vehicle with a flat engine was the 1966 Subaru 1000, which featured a horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. Since then, all Subaru vehicles have been equipped with boxer engines, making Subaru the only car manufacturer in the world that uses this type of engine across its entire lineup.
Which Subaru Cars Currently Feature Boxer Engines?
All Subaru models are equipped with a flat engine. These include the Subaru Impreza, Forester, Legacy, Outback, Ascent, WRX, and BRZ. Even the Subaru Crosstrek PHEV has a flat-four engine. The engine has various configurations that offer varying performance levels, but all of them have the core flat engine features.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Boxer Engines in Subaru Cars
There are numerous benefits to using a boxer engine in a car. First, the low center of gravity and symmetrical layout of the engine provides a smooth driving experience while also improving handling and maneuverability.
Second, because the engine is designed to be compact, it provides more space in the engine bay, allowing for easier access to critical parts of the vehicle like the battery and transmission.
Third, the boxer engine’s layout enables it to produce more power with less vibration. The engine design has a natural balance built-in, which reduces the shaking and vibrations typically experienced in traditional engines.
However, as with any engine design, there are always drawbacks. One of the main drawbacks of the boxer engine is that it is more complex and can be more challenging to repair than traditional engines. Boxer engines also tend to be more expensive to produce.
Technical Details of How the Engine Works and Its Impact on Driving Performance
A boxer engine works in the same way as any traditional internal combustion engine but with a few key differences. In a boxer engine, the cylinders are laid out horizontally, with opposing cylinders mounted on each side of the engine block and driving a common crankshaft. The opposing pistons work simultaneously, creating a balanced load on the crankshaft, which results in a smoother, more stable engine.
Moreover, the flat design of the engine has a lower center of gravity, which enhances handling and cornering ability. Additionally, the engine’s wide powerband provides torque at low RPMs while also delivering more horsepower at higher RPMs.
Subaru has implemented innovative engineering into the engine design that increases fuel efficiency and helps reduce emissions from the engine. The engine continues to help Subaru stay ahead in the realm of engine performance.
Differences Between Horizontally Opposed and Vertically Opposed Boxer Engines
Subaru uses horizontally opposed boxer engines, but there are also vertically opposed boxer engines. Horizontally opposed boxer engines are laid out with the pistons moving from side to side, while vertically opposed boxer engines have the pistons moving up and down. Horizontally opposed boxer engines are more common, while vertically opposed boxer engines are mainly used in aviation.
Both engine designs offer unique benefits. Vertically opposed boxer engines tend to provide more power than horizontally opposed boxers. They also typically produce less noise and vibration. On the other hand, horizontally opposed boxer engines have a lower center of gravity, which provides improved driving dynamics, stability, and handling.
The Future of Boxer Engines in Subaru Cars
Subaru’s commitment to improving its engine technology and innovation, combined with its rich history of manufacturing high-quality vehicles, suggests that boxer engines will continue to be a significant part of the Subaru lineup. In fact, the latest models of the boxer engine come with innovative features such as direct fuel injection, hybrid components, and even cylinder deactivation.
Subaru has also unveiled its new Boxer Electric architecture for electric vehicles, building upon the low center of gravity provided by the boxer engine. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, Subaru’s history of innovation ensures that its engine technology will continue to remain at the forefront of the automotive industry.