V-shape and flat engines: What are the differences?

V-shape and flat engines: What are the differences?

Engines for cars and trucks come in a wide range of sizes, layouts, and designs, including traditional V8s and contemporary flat fours. Given this diversity, it’s clear that some engine types are more popular than others, and that certain automakers have a preferred engine design that's consistently present in their lineup of vehicles.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What is a V-shaped engine?

    The V configuration, as the name implies, consists of two rows of cylinders that are positioned next to one another, frequently at an angle of either 60 or 90 degrees.
  • Why is the flat-engine called as such?

    Typically built with four or six cylinders, the flat engine is called so from the way the cylinders are positioned flat and in opposition to one another. On either side of a crankshaft are two sets of cylinders.
  • What factors influence the engine design a car firm chooses? The combination of experience, vehicle type, performance requirements, and cost is the answer. And in the argument between the V-shaped and flat cylinder layouts, there are benefits and drawbacks to each option.

    V configuration engines

    The V configuration, as the name implies, consists of two rows of cylinders that are positioned next to one another, frequently at an angle of either 60 or 90 degrees. Typically, V-shaped engines have six, eight, 10, or 12 cylinders.

    When a two-cylinder V-twin engine was employed in the 1889 Daimler Stahlradwagen car, in the late 19th century, the V-shaped configuration was first used. The V6 and V12 engines eventually powered boats in the early 1900s. As early as 1916, V12 engines quickly gained popularity in production cars, and the first vehicle to use a V6 engine in a production vehicle was believed to be the Lancia Aurelia in 1950.

    Mercedes-AMG engine

    Today, among the manufacturers known for using the V engine design is Mercedes-Benz and Dodge.

    Advantages of V configuration engines

    Because V-shaped engines are shorter than their counterparts with more conventional layouts, shorter automobile hoods are possible. In addition, compared to inline engines, V engines can, on average, produce more torque at lower rpm.

    Disadvantages of V configuration engines

    On the other hand, V engines are more expensive to manufacture and maintain since they are more complicated and need more parts than inline engines. Because of this, V8s and V12s are more recognized for their use in high-end performance and luxury vehicles.

    Flat cylinder engines

    Typically built with four or six cylinders, the flat engine is called so from the way the cylinders are positioned flat and in opposition to one another. On either side of a crankshaft are two sets of cylinders. The pistons of what's also known as boxer engine, the most typical design for flat engines, travel inward and outward along a horizontal axis.

    Porsche flat-six engine

    The original Volkswagen Beetle is known to be the earliest vehicle that used the flat engine. From the original 911's air-cooled flat-four to more contemporary models with turbocharged flat-six, Porsche has long been renowned for its flat engines. Another well-known brand when it comes to flat engines is Subaru.

    Advantages of flat cylinder engines

    Flat engines are ideal for rear-engine systems because of their extremely compact construction. Additionally, their tiny size and how their weight falls as low inside the car as possible, they permit a lower center of gravity. This has a significant effect on how the automobile handles, particularly in turns.

    Subaru

    The flat engine has additional features as well. Because of their nearly perfect engine force balance, flat engines have very little vibration. Due to the distance between the cylinders and the crankshaft, the flat structure enables efficient water- and air-cooling solutions.

    Disadvantages of flat cylinder engines

    Similar to V-shaped engines, what makes the flat engine rather unpopular is how difficult it is to construct and maintain. This is the reason why only a select few automakers still design and utilize flat engines.

    V-shaped or flat four engines — which is better?

    Given that both engine configurations have their unique advantages, it boils down to preference. Do you prefer the power generated by the V-shape, or the balanced weight of the flat one?

    Photos from Mercedes-Benz, Subaru 

    Sell your car at the best price

    Verified and genuine buyers Verified and genuine buyers
    Free listing Free listing
    List your car

    PIMS 2022

    You might also be interested in

    • Upcoming

    Latest Car Videos on Zigwheels

    Zigwheels
    Watch Car Videos

    Car Articles From Carmudi

    • journal
    • advice
    • financing
    • insurance