In an informative video, DriveTribe’s softy-spoken Mike Fernie explains that, despite Ferrari calling the Tipo F113 engine in the back of its Testarossa a flat-12 (and later naming the 365 GT4 and 512, which share this powertrain, Berlinetta Boxers), the engine is actually neither a flat-12, nor a boxer.
Instead, he says, it’s a 180-degree V12 (yes, that does mean a flat V12…). His reasoning is that the piston con-rods on flat-12 engines are all connected to their own crank pin, allowing each pair of horizontally opposed pistons to reach top dead centre and bottom dead centre at the same time.
On the Testarossa, however, the opposing pistons are connected to the same crank pin, a characteristic of a V configuration engine, meaning they perform a tug of war act.
So while the Ferrari engine is, literally speaking, a flat-12, he claims it isn’t a true example, and while the model benefits from the low centre of gravity of a flat-12, it won’t have the same engine balance benefits of a true boxer.
This being the internet, many, many people vehemently disagree, arguing that the individual crank pin per piston layout he is describing is a boxer, and while a boxer engine is always a flat engine, a flat engine isn’t necessary always a boxer. Confusing much?