All About the Boxer Engine. What Is A Flat, Horizontally Opposed Engine?

All About the Boxer Engine. What Is A Flat, Horizontally Opposed Engine?


Any way you look at it, an internal combustion engine is one big air pump that works on an established set of principles, but there are a few ways of achieving the same result, with the boxer engine being one of the more interesting. There are numerous engine formats around, including favorites such as the inline and V, but there are also a few outliers, such as the pistonless rotary engine and the flat or boxer motor. Here we will take a look at what makes the flat engine so good and bad, and we’ll also list a few of our favorite boxer-powered cars, so hold onto your vape pens!

What Is a Boxer Engine And Is It Right For You?

Horizontally opposed boxer engines are best known for featuring in Porsche and Subaru cars, but how exactly do they work, and what makes the boxer configuration so unique? Flat-type engines, whether it’s a flat-six engine or a flat-four, all feature opposing cylinders on each side of a central rotating crankshaft at a 180-degree angle. This setup is also known as a 180-degree V engine. This means that opposing cylinders move in and out at the same time. Imagine two boxers throwing a bunch of jabs and straights at each other. Get the idea now? Boxer engines are beautifully balanced engines and therefore don’t require any counterweights on the crankshaft or balance shafts. Boxer engines with fewer than six cylinders feature a rocking couple (to create rotation without accelerating the engine’s center mass). This kind of engine has been successfully used in aircraft since its inception and is also popular in motorcycles.

Advantages And Disadvantages of the Boxer Engine

As with any other engine layout, horizontally opposed piston engines have certain advantages and disadvantages. From their low center of mass to occasional complexity, these opposed engines bring a lot to the table but are still seen as more of an enthusiast’s choice.

Best Boxer-engined Cars

There are all types of boxer-powered vehicles running around, from exotic supercars to humble family station wagons. As boxer engine technology has developed, innovations in the field have allowed companies to build some of the best-rated performance engines ever seen. Here are some of the best cars with boxer engines. Ferrari Testarossa – It’s hard to ignore the Testarossa: its wedge design screams 80s, and under the hood is a glorious-sounding flat twelve engine that delivers impressive numbers. The Testarossa was produced from 1984 to 1991 and featured a 4.9-liter Tipo F113 G longitudinally mid-mounted flat-12 engine producing a maximum of 434 horsepower. This allowed the Testarossa to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.7 seconds and top out at 196 mph. Subaru Impreza 22B STI – This car has to be one of the most famous Subaru models of all time. Produced between March and August 1998, only 424 examples of the 22B STI saw the light of day. The 22B featured a heavily modified H4 engine named the EJ22G which produced 276 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. Power was sent to all four wheels via a five-speed manual transmission. This car was built to celebrate Subaru’s WRC successes and has become massively collectible. Toyota 86 – When Toyota decided to get back into the RWD sports car game, it chose to partner up with Subaru, who developed the flat-four engine for both the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, but also for the Scion FRS. These lightweight sports cars are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer engine featuring direct injection and produce close to 200 hp and 151 lb-ft. The boxer engine’s low center of gravity gives the 86 beautifully balanced handling. Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 – Porsche builds some of the best flat engines in the world, and a sterling example is in the Porsche 718 Cayman GT4. This superior track weapon is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-6 engine that produces 414 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear via a short-throw six-speed manual. With an 8,000 rpm redline, there are few cars with such a unique soundtrack.

Michael Butler
Associate Editor

After four blurry years in advertising school, and a harrowing career in the advertising industry, by the will of the car gods, and his passion for anything with more than four cylinders, he landed at CarBuzz where he covers breaking automotive news, writes the occasional review, and plays a very average game of Counter-Strike. In his personal time, Mike loves to waste money on project cars that only run once or twice a year, break his ankles at hardcore shows, and get dumb tattoos that make his mother cry.