Engines with 8, 6, 5 or 4 cylinders power most modern cars. There are exclusions, of course, maybe especially the 10-cylinder engine in the Dodge Viper of the 12-cylinder engines installed in many high-end sedans. But most modern cars employ the more common cylinder amount.
The engine cylinder is where combustion processes occur. Inside each cylinder is a piston, this moves up and down inside the cylinder. All cylinders are connected to a crankshaft. This delivers the energy that is created by the combustion process to the transmission, and to the wheels that drive the automobile. The more cylinders an engine has, the more torque and horsepower and engine makes.
Engine cylinders are naturally arranged in a vertical orientation, lined up after another from the form to the back of the engine, or in a V-shape orientation with an equivalent number of cylinders on either side. When engine cylinders are placed vertically, the engine has an “inline” configuration, this is used in conjunction with 4, 5, or 6 cylinders. When cylinders are V-oriented, the engine has a V configuration, which is used with 6 or more cylinders. If an engine is placed transversely, which is usual for front wheel drive automobiles, the crankshaft and cylinder are oriented from side to side rather than front to back.
Subaru’s and Porsches do not use either of these configurations. Instead, these vehicles have horizontally opposed cylinder arrangements. Also known as “boxer” or “flat” engines, the power plants have cylinders that lay flat on each side of the crankshaft, with pistons rotating outward toward the side of the car.
Inline engines are narrower and taller, and when mounted transversely, allow designers to make a vehicle with a smaller front end. V engines, on the other hand, sit lower with an enhanced center of gravity, and the design is more space efficient with a larger amount of cylinders. Horizontally opposed engines sit extremely wide and low, creating a low center of improved handling and gravity.
When one combines the engine configuration with the number of cylinders, the resulting references are as follows: H-6, H-4, V-12, V-8, V-6, I-6, I-5, I-4
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