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Tech Tuesday: The Advantages of the Porsche Flat-Six Boxer Engine

Tech Tuesday: The Advantages of the Porsche Flat-Six Boxer Engine.

The Porsche Boxer flat-six engine design found in their Porsche 911 defines Porsche. Why is Porsche one of only two manufacturers using this design?

There are five reasons why Porsche uses the boxer flat-six design:

1. Better handling

2. Sleek design

3. Smoother engine

4. Sound of the engine

5. History of the brand

But, first why is the Porsche engine called a Boxer Flat-Six engine?

I’m being redundant calling it a Porsche Boxer Flat-Six because boxer and flat-six mean the same thing. It describes the opposing motion of the pistons within the engine case that is designed with a flat construction. The easiest way to understand this is to look at this YouTube video from Xander Luciano. Imagine a boxer doing a one-two, left-right series of punches. That is the motion of the pistons within a Porsche case. Because of this motion the term boxer was used to describe the design and viola, we now have the Porsche Boxer engine.

Let’s look at the five reasons why Porsche uses a flat-six design.

1. Better Handling

The Porsche flat-six engine design provides for a flatter, lower and wider engine that provides a lower center of gravity and a weight distribution over the rear wheels. The result: better handling. The Porsche flat-six engine design is not for power but for handling.

2. Sleek Body Design

The classic Porsche 911 design of the sharply slanted rear-end of the Porsche 911 is only possible because of the boxer flat-six design that produces a flat, lower profile design to the engine so the rear hood can slope down. That is why on the Porsche turbos there is a special rear deck lid and spoiler. It is necessary to fit the turbocharger on top of the engine.

3. Smoother Engine

The Porsche flat-six engine design provides a smoother engine since the pistons fire opposing each other providing the reciprocating motion to balance each other out for better vibration control. A typical v-line or straight-line engine requires a balance shaft to achieve a similar smooth engine firing process.

4. Sound of the Engine

That unique sound of a Porsche Flat-Six air-cooled engine is created because of the flat-six engine construction that allows one to hear the valve clatter and other mechanical movements of the engine since it is not muffled by air filters and other components sitting on top the engine. In a flat-six engine design the mechanical components are out there for the driver to hear and enjoy.

5. History of the Brand

A boxer flat-six engine design defines Porsche. The body shape of the iconic Porsche 911 would not be possible without this engine design and the enthusiast base would revolt if their beloved Porsche 911 did not have the flat-six engine design. Porsche’s recent foray into four-cylinder turbocharged engines has proven this fact. Though the Porsche turbocharged four-cylinder engine is efficient and powerful, Porsche enthusiasts are not accepting of it. They want the Porsche flat-six naturally aspirated engine.

When it all comes down to why Porsche uses the boxer flat engine design it is really handling,

design and history of the brand. Your Porsche is only a Porsche because of this engine.

Porsche Boxer Flat-Six Engine Animation

Courtesy of Xander Luciano

Tags: Porsche engine, Porsche Boxer engine, Porsche flat-six engine, Porsche flat-6 engine, Porsche Boxer flat-six engine

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