When choosing a primary engine configuration, most automakers, including Audi, Ford, GM, Honda and Mazda, opt for the V design. Others such as Volvo, Volkswagen and BMW go for the in-line. Very few would call the boxer, or horizontally opposed engine, their preferred choice. Subaru is among the exceptions.
The Japanese carmaker has based its entire product portfolio on its exclusive Symmetrical All Wheel Drive + Motor Subaru Boxer platform, combining innovative and safety-oriented engine and powertrain technology
At its technological core is Subaru’s boxer engine, which has opposed pistons that work together to equilibrate the systems’ vibrations and offer a smooth ride. Being completely horizontal, the boxer configuration is lighter and smaller in height than its V and in-line counterparts. Its center of gravity is lower and it can be placed closer to the floor, lowering the vehicle’s overall center of gravity.
Connected to a four-wheel drive platform, the low position of the engine also helps limit the movement of the chassis, offering better handling and stability in curves or during braking. The four-wheel drive also delivers better traction compared to front- or rear-wheel drive systems, ensuring increased safety. The engine is installed linearly with respect to the rear differential to keep the whole platform as balanced as possible. This completes Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD, a configuration the company has worked on since the development of its first four-wheel drive solution for light vehicles released almost 40 years ago.
Subaru’s boxer engine is connected to Lineartronic, the first chain continuously-variable transmission (CVT) in the world, developed for all-wheel drive, light vehicle applications. Just like a normal belt CVT, Lineartronic automatically keeps the engine at a constant velocity regardless of the vehicle’ speed. However, its chain configuration allows the driver to also operate the transmission manually, providing an added value to the whole system and maintaining the fun factor within the vehicle.