Subaru’s Boxer engine and Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive technologies have come a long way since its inception more than 45 years ago. Both technologies were honed through many years of motorsports experience. But what do these actually do to help everyday drivers?
Firstly, the unique characteristic of a Boxer engine is that its pistons are laid flat. This allows the engine to be positioned lower into the engine bay and aligned symmetrically to the chassis for even weight distribution. This in turn lowers the car’s center of gravity. Moreover, the 180 degree layout of the pistons help cancel out the vibrations coming from the engine compared to an inline or the v-type engine layout. As a result, it's able to offer a much smoother and responsive ride.
As an added safety feature for any Subaru vehicle, the lowered position of the Boxer engine allows it to go under the body, instead of entering the passenger cabin, when a head on collision happens.
Using the Boxer’s layout, the entire Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive System is then bolted along the center of the vehicle in a straight line, all the way to the rear. This allows Subaru to mount the independent long-travel suspension with equal-length shafts symmetrically (hence the name) on the left and right hand of the vehicle. Thus, it's able to send power and torque equally to all 4 wheels, improving the tire's grip on the road.
In the event that a slip is detected, the system is also designed to send more power to the remaining wheels that have contact for maximum traction and control. It's because of these features, the Forester, Legacy, Outback, and the WRX models were highlighted with the 2014-2015 JNCAP 5-Star safety ranking.
The Boxer engine and the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system are Subaru’s heart and soul as these have paved the way for the Japanese automaker to gain high regard on and off the race track.