What is the difference between a flat engine as in the 911 as opposed to a inline, like in an most econoboxes, or V formation, such as the Corvettes 6.2LV8 or the Ferrari's 6.0L V12?
In a flat, or boxer engine, the cylinders are horizontally opposed. Check out this link for a visual of each engine. http://auto.howstuffworks.com/engine2.htm
Hey, I appreciate it. That makes quite a bit more sense to me. But another quick question, is there any benefit to the use of any of these specific engine forms or is just a engineering preference?
There are benefits to some configurations, and I'm sure there probably are engineering preferences as well depending on who is designing the engine. Boxer engines for example are very well balanced and have a low center of gravity. Inline 6's and V12's also have a natural balance to them. Check out the links on this page. Lots of good information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_configuration
There also a matter of space in the 911.The flat engine is more compact.
Aaron,This is a ridiculous question.An inline engine is INLINE...A flat engine has horizontillay opposed cylinders.You obviously have way too much time on your hands...
I understand the formation of an inline engine. I didn't understand the formation of a flat engine. I understand now. And, I don't understand your last sentence. How do I have too much time on my hands?
The 911 models employ only boxer (H4, H6) engines is not a matter of choice but due to space limitation. Our 911, having to stick with the rear engine placement, will not look anything like what they are (ie. with a slopping tail, although less and less so when it comes to the 996, 997 evolutions - note the thick rear bumpers!) if any other engine configurations are used. There is no doubt that V8, or even V10 power plants will do wonder to improve engine performance in any given sport/race car. This is why even BMW has given up the long tradition of inline 6 and put these engines in the M3 and M5 cars. Don't ask me to tell the truth, before I have my Turbo, I owned an '01 M5 and its engine kicked ass in all aspects of throttle response, smoothness, noise, and tractability. Porsche realised the limitations of their boxer engines (which, only now, has come to the end of their usefulness to remain competitive) had long ago developed their version of formidable V8. Despite the fact that Porsche can easily put their hands on the current crop of Audi V8TT and V10 engines (which have dominated Le Mans, etc.), these just would not squeeze into the 911 chassis. The very definition of our model 911 is once again under duress.
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