What makes the Subaru WRX so magical? Is it symmetrical all-wheel drive? Turbocharging? The flat-brimmed hat that is required to operate one? All of those things are true, but one of the most unique things about this sport sedan is its special heart: the horizontally opposed “boxer” four-cylinder engine. Let’s learn how it works!

Engineering Explained, the only good thing on YouTube, is here with a tiny 3D printed WRX motor perfect for illustrating its many advantages over an inline or V configuration. Behold:

A rectangular engine with two cylinders on each side, the boxer engine allows a lower center of gravity compared to other setups that translates into better overall handling. In this video you can see the cylinders move back and forth and observe how the valves work too.

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I always thought it was weird how pretty much only Subaru and Porsche use this engine setup today. It was somewhat more common in previous decades, especially on air-cooled Volkswagens, but less so today. When I owned a WRX I felt like it was a poor man’s 911 Turbo. That’s a stretch, but at least the engine configuration is right.

Where can I get one of these 3D printed motors? I need one on my desk.