Engine Layouts

Different types of engine layout with all their positives and negatives with a few examples.

4w ago
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Inline engine

An inline engine is the most common engine used in most road cars. This engine has all cylinders in a straight line, hence its name “inline”. Due to the layout of the cylinders, inline engines only have 1 cylinder head. This means that engines are less complicated and have less parts, so the engines are more durable. Another advantage of having inline engine is that it is compact, so it becomes easier to fit an inline engine into a small car.

Most common inline engines are the inline 3 and 4(also known as 4 banger). There are also inline 6 which are used in sports cars, like the BMW M4 GTS. There are also inline 8s and 10s, but there is a problem with adding more and more cylinders to an inline engine. The crankshaft of engine will start bending, because of the length of the it. So, it becomes difficult to increase the number of cylinders without the crankshaft bending away from its original position.

V engine

V engine are commonly used in sports cars. They have 2 cylinders rotating with a common crankshaft. The cylinders are tilted on a certain angle which needs to be less than 180 otherwise it is considered a boxer engine. Using V engines, we can have more cylinders without the crankshaft getting too long, but we compromise on space. The V engine are wider than an inline engine.

In addition to being wider than inline engines, we also need 2-cylinder heads in a V engine. In an inline engine on one side of the engine we have the hot exhaust and on the other side there is the cool oxygen meant to go the engine. In V engine, we cannot do that, because both cylinder head need to have hot exhaust pipes leading out of them, so the exhausting and oxygen supply of V engines is complicated, leading to an engine that is slightly less durable.

V engine are the choice for most sports cars, with V4 used by Porsche in Endurance Racing, V8 is used in most American Muscle cars, V10 and V12 are used a lot by Lamborghini and a lot of other manufacturers use V engine layout.

Boxer engine

A boxer engine is similar to a V engine, but its cylinders are exactly opposite. It has its 2-cylinder heads at the opposite ends of the engine bay, so the exhausting and oxygen supply is less complicated. The engine design allows for the engine to be mounted really low, lowering the center of gravity, and improving handling of boxer engine cars, that said it also has its fair share of compromises. Firstly, is it not at all compact, because of the cylinders being opposite each other it makes a really long engine, also some manufactures put their cylinder heads right up against the body, which makes changing spark plugs really difficult.

W engine

The W engine is kind of an evolution to the V engine, instead of 2 cylinders to 1 crankshaft, W engines can have 3 or 4 cylinders to 1 crankshaft. Volkswagen were the ones who developed this engine and only companies owned by Volkswagen or Volkswagen themselves have used the W configuration of the engine. The W12 was used in Bentley Flying Spur and W16 was used in the Bugatti Veyron.

U & H engine

The U engine has 2 inline engines parallel to each other with each cylinder connect to each other creating a U shape between them.

H engines have 2 U engines, with the second one being upside down, creating a letter H between its crankshafts. The H engine can also look like 2 boxer engines connected together. H engines can be put 2 ways inside the engine bay, vertically, with the cylinders facing up and down, or sideways like a boxer engine.

Wankel engine

A Wankel engine also known as Rotary engine has no piston rods or combustion, it a piston shaped like a triangle that spins inside a gear shaft. The only way to increase the power output of these engines is by adding more rotors or using forced induction. Mazda were the last ones to use the rotary engine, with their Le Mans cars also being powered by Rotary engines.

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Comments (1)

  • It would be VWIB in that order. For financial reasons, the IL is the most affordable engine layout

      10 days ago
1