Subaru Boxer Engine Production and History – Video
A flat engine is an internal combustion engine with horizontally-opposed cylinders. Typically, the layout has cylinders arranged in two banks on either side of a single crankshaft and is otherwise known as the boxer, or horizontally-opposed engine. The concept was patented in 1896 by engineer Karl Benz, who called it the “contra engine.”
A boxer engine should not be confused with the opposed-piston engine, in which each cylinder has two pistons but no cylinder head. Also, if a straight engine is canted 90 degrees into the horizontal plane, it may be thought of as a “flat engine”. Horizontal inline engines are quite common in industrial applications such as underfloor mounting for buses.
True boxers have each crankpin controlling only one piston/cylinder while the 180° engines, which superficially appear very similar, share crankpins. The 180° engine, which may be thought of as a type of V engine, is quite uncommon as it has all of the disadvantages of a flat engine, and few of the advantages.