A boxer engine is a flat engine, also known as a horizontally opposed cylinder engine, where the pistons are located opposite each other two-by-two on either side of a central crankshaft. The most common configuration of flat engines is the boxer engine, in which the pistons of each opposing pair of cylinders move in and out at the same time. Boxer engines are a type of flat engine, but not all flat engines are necessarily boxer engines.
The boxer engine was first produced in 1897 by German engineer Carl Benz and was used in cars such as the Lanchester 8 hp Phaeton boxer twin of 1900, the Wilson-Pilcher boxer 4 of 1901, the Wilson-Pilcher 18/24 HP boxer 6 of 1904 and the Ford Model A of 1903. Porsche flat engines are used in several racing cars in the 1960s and are also used in passenger cars such as the Porsche 356 from 1948-1965, Porsche 914 from 1969-1976, Porsche 912 from 1965-1969 and Porsche Boxster/Cayman (982) from 2016.
Boxer engine characteristics
The boxer engine is a type of internal combustion engine in which the pistons move in and out in opposite directions. The pistons are located horizontally opposite each other two by two on either side of a central crankshaft, which is used to transform the linear motion of the pistons into rotary motion.
The boxer engine has several notable characteristics. For example, it is lower than an inline or V-cylinder engine, which lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity and improves stability. In addition, boxer engines have less vibration than other engines due to the opposing nature of the pistons, which makes the engine run smoother and quieter.
Another important feature of boxer engines is that they have a more even weight distribution than other engines. The opposed pistons balance the forces on the crankshaft, which means that boxer engines can run at high speeds without unwanted vibrations. The horizontal arrangement of the cylinders also allows a balanced weight distribution in the car, which further improves stability.
Boxer engine applications
Boxer engines are used in a variety of applications, from cars and motorbikes to aircraft and boats. One of the most common applications is in sports cars, such as the Porsche 911 and Boxster. The flat engine layout helps to lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity and improve stability, making them ideal for sporty driving.
Boxer engines are also used in aircraft, as their low height reduces air resistance. In addition, the horizontal arrangement of the cylinders means that the engines can be mounted on the underside of the aircraft, which helps to improve the pilot’s visibility.