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scoobySTi 01-03-2004 11:29 PM

Why Go Flat?

Since the late 1800's Engineers have designed dozens of types of engine hoping to revolutionize the automotive industry. The engine that is some day suppose to revolutionize this world will have to be something that is small, powerful and produces almost no emissions. Many design were created, but only lasted a short time due to all types of problems. To day the most common types of engines that are used are inline and V type motors due to there power and reliability. Besides those two engines, there is one that I believe stands alone in performance and in safety and it would have to be the horizontally opposed engine.

The horizontally opposed engine also known as the boxer engine is basically a V type motor. Instead of having the cylinders at a 70 or 80 angle the cylinders are positioned at 180. So instead of the pistons moving up and down they move side to side. Although there have been six cylinder boxer engines the four cylinder is the most common. Companies such as Porsche and Alfa Remao have used these designs in there vehicles. But no company in more famouse for using the boxer engine than Subaru.

The boxer engine and full time all wheel drive are a tradition in Subaru, and in the past few years they have worked on there line of boxer engines to increase the power and reliebility. Because the pistons do not travel up and down, the engine is not as high as an inline or V type engine. This enables manufacturers to place the engine further back in the vehicle and lower. Having the engine in the lower in the vehicle creates a lower center of gravity. The main benefit of a lower center of gravity are better handling and it also makes the vehicle more stabilized in tight cornering and hazardous conditions. With Subaru’s all wheel drive and the lower center of gravity that is created by the engine the amount of traction that the vehicle has achieve is outstanding.

Not only does this small light weight engine performer well but the engine itself is its own safety feature. Since most of the vehicles that are made with boxer engines are so small they could be call an unsafe vehicle to drive because there is nothing to stop another vehicle from plowing in to the driver cabin. To end this problem Subaru designed the frame of there vehicles different. The design changes made it so that when the vehicle is hit from the front the engine stops the other car. And if the boxer engine is pushed far back enough it doesn’t harm the driver, because it slides on the frame and goes underneath the driver.

Although there hasn’t been a design created yet where every engineer can say that a certain engine has been perfect, I believe the closest thing to perfection would have to be the boxer engine. Due to its small size, good power, its ability to create better handling and improve safety .

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