Fuji Heavy Industries, Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru vehicles, is celebrating 50 golden years of their signature horizontally-opposed Boxer engine.
It all began on May 14, 1966 when the brand fitted the then-existing Subaru 1000 compact car with the said engine. After seeing its potential to provide the car with better balance and smoother power delivery, they began to develop and maximize its capabilities. To date, the Boxer is the engine that powers Subaru’s entire vehicle lineup, and since the Subaru 1000 era, they’ve sold over 16-million vehicles with that engine under the hood.
So, what make the Subaru Boxer do its magic? It’s the way its cylinders are arranged. Compared to the traditional inline or V-type layouts, the Boxer’s cylinders lay flat with the pistons moving horizontally on opposite directions. The pistons on one side counter the movement of the pistons on the other side. This operation can be compared to 2 boxers facing opposite each other while punching.
Subaru says the opposing movement of the pistons results in lesser vibration and smoother revs because each piston cancels out the force exerted by its counterpart from the other side of the engine.
The design architecture of the Boxer itself works to the car’s advantage on the road. With the flat orientation of the cylinders, the Boxer can be built more compact and can be bolted lower under the hood. This, in turn, lowers the car’s center of gravity for better driving balance, especially when cornering.
The Boxer is also one of the key components of the brand’s Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system. This is meshed in line with the engine and is positioned directly at the center of the car, thus evenly distributing power, torque, weight, and traction to all 4 wheels.
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