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Motorcycle use

Due to the short length of flat engines, locating a flat engine outside of the car's wheelbase results in minimal overhang.[9] Therefore, many cars with flat engines have used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Examples include the flat-twin BMW 600 (1957-1959) and BMW 700 (1959-1965); the flat-four Tatra 97 (1936-1939), Volkswagen Beetle (1938-2003) and Porsche 356 (1948-1965); and the flat-six Chevrolet Corvair (1959-1969), Porsche 911 (1963-present), and Tucker 48 (1947-1948).

The opposite layout, front-engine front-wheel drive, was also common for cars with flat engines. Examples include the Citroën 2CV (1948-1990), Panhard Dyna X (1948-1954), Lancia Flavia (1961-1970), Citroën GS (1970-1986), Alfa Romeo Alfasud (1971-1989) and Subaru Leone (1971-1994).

Subaru have been producing cars with a front-engine, four-wheel-drive layout powered by flat engines (mostly boxer-four engines) since 1971. Examples include the Subaru Leone (1971-1994), Subaru Legacy (1989-present) and Subaru Impreza (1992-present). The front half-shafts come out of a front differential that is part of the gearbox. A rear driveshaft connects the gearbox to the rear half-shafts.

The traditional wheelbase results in minimal overhang.[9] Therefore, many cars with flat engines have used a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. Examples include the flat-twin BMW 600 (1957-1959) and BMW 700 (1959-1965); the flat-four Tatra 97 (1936-1939), Volkswagen Beetle (1938-2003) and Porsche 356 (1948-1965); and the flat-six Chevrolet Corvair (1959-1969), Porsche 911 (1963-present), and Tucker 48 (1947-1948).

The opposite layout, front-engine front-wheel drive, was also common for cars with flat engines. Examples include the Citroën 2CV (1948-1990), front-engine front-wheel drive, was also common for cars with flat engines. Examples include the Citroën 2CV (1948-1990), Panhard Dyna X (1948-1954), Lancia Flavia (1961-1970), Citroën GS (1970-1986), Alfa Romeo Alfasud (1971-1989) and Subaru Leone (1971-1994).

Subaru have been producing cars with a front-engine, four-wheel-drive layout powered by flat engines (mostly boxer-four engines) since 1971. Examples include the Subaru Leone (1971-1994), Subaru Legacy (1989-present) and Subaru Impreza (1992-present). The front half-shafts come out of a front differential that is part of the gearbox. A rear driveshaft connects the gearbox to the rear half-shafts.

The traditional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout is relatively uncommon for cars with flat engines, however some examples include the Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ (2012-present), Jowett Javelin (1947-1953), Glas Isar (1958-1965) and the Tatra 11 (1923-1927).

The first flat engine was produced in 1897 by German engineer Karl Benz.[5][10] Called the kontra engine, it was a boxer-twin design. Early uses of flat engines in cars include the 1900 Lanchester 8 hp Phaeton boxer-twin, the 1901 Wilson-Pilcher boxer-four,[11] the 1904 Wilson-Pilcher 18/24 HP boxer-six and the 1903 Ford Model A, the 1904 Ford Model C and the 1905 Ford Model F.[12]

In 1938, the Volkswagen Beetle (then called the "KdF-Wagen") was released with a rear-mounted flat-four engine. This Volkswagen air-cooled engine was produced for many years and also used in the Volkswagen Type 2 (Transporter, Kombi or Microbus), the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia sports car and the Volkswagen Type 3 compact car. A water-cooled version, known as the Wasserboxer, was introduced in 1982 and eventually replaced the air-cooled versions.

The majority of sports cars throughout Porsche's history are powered by flat engines, beginning with its first car; the 1948-1965 Porsche 356 used an air-cooled boxer-four engine. Also using boxer-four engines were the 1969-1976 Porsche 914, the 1965-1969 Porsche 912 and the 2016-present Porsche Boxster/Cayman (982). The Porsche 911 has exclusively used boxer-six engines from its introduction in 1964 until the present. In 1997, the Porsche 911 switched from being air-cooled to water-cooled.

Porsche flat-eight engines were used in various racing cars throughout the 1960s, such as the 1962 Porsche 804 Formula One car and the 1968-1971 Porsche 908 sports car. A flat-twelve engine was also produced by Porsche for the 1969-1973 Porsche 917 sports car.

The Volkswagen Beetle (then called the "KdF-Wagen") was released with a rear-mounted flat-four engine. This Volkswagen air-cooled engine was produced for many years and also used in the Volkswagen Type 2 (Transporter, Kombi or Microbus), the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia sports car and the Volkswagen Type 3 compact car. A water-cooled version, known as the Wasserboxer, was introduced in 1982 and eventually replaced the air-cooled versions.

The majority of sports cars throughout Porsche's history are powered by flat engines, beginning with its first car; the 1948-1965 Porsche 356 used an air-cooled boxer-four engine. Also using boxer-four engines were the 1969-1976 Porsche 914, the 1965-1969 Porsche 912 and the 2016-present Porsche Boxster/Cayman (982). The Porsche 911 has exclusively used boxer-six engines from its introduction in 1964 until the present. In 1997, the Porsche 911 switched from being air-cooled to water-cooled.

Porsche flat-eight engines were used in various racing cars throughout the 1960s, such as the 1962 Porsche 804 Formula One car and the 1968-1971 Porsche 908 sports car. A flat-twelve engine was also produced by Porsche for the 1969-1973 Porsche 917 sports car.

The Subaru EA engine was introduced in 1966 and began Subaru's line of boxer-four engines that remain in production to this day.[13] Most of Subaru's models are powered by a boxer-four engine in either naturally aspirated or turbocharged form. A print ad for the 1973 Subaru GL coupe referred to the engine as "quadrozontal"[14] The company also produced boxer-six engines from 1988–1996 and 2001–2019.[15] In 2008, the Subaru EE engine became the world's first passenger car diesel boxer engine. This engine is a turbocharged boxer-four with common rail fuel injection.[4][16][17][18]

Ferrari used flat-twelve engines for various Formula One cars in the 1970s. A road car flat-twelve engine (using a 180-degree V12 configuration) was used for the 1973-1984 Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, 1984-1996 Ferrari Testarossa and their derivatives.[19]

Toyota's uses the designation Toyota 4U-GSE for the boxer-four engine in the Toyota-badged versions of the Toyota 86 / Subaru BRZ twins, although the engine is actually designed and built by Subaru as the Subaru FA20 engine.[3]