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Old 07-21-2005, 12:41 AM   #1
Swavek
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Exclamation Rear Wheel Drive vs Front Wheel Drive



Hi

I recently had a discussion with someone who races an Acura Integra, and he claimed that Front wheel drive cars can handle better than rear wheel drive cars. I told him that it is exacltly the opposite. That a well designed rear wheel drive car, such as a BMW can handle better than a front wheel drive car, since it is better balanced, engine in the front, transmission in the middle, and the differential as well as the suspension in the rear, therefore giving it a perfect front to rear and side to side balance. He wasn't convinced and argued that during a corner a well set up front wheel drive car will outhandle a rear wheel drive car. So when I asked him why there are no real race cars, such as The BMW M3, The Corvette, the Viper, The NSX, and The Porsches,which are front wheel drive, he said that the front wheel drive transmissions cannot handle the power that rear wheel drive transmissions can. We kept arguing back and forth, but the guy just wouldn't get it. A rear wheel drive car has more potential than a front wheel drive car, even if both cars are well designed, even The Honda S2000 is rear wheel drive and so is the Acura NSX, there is a reason for that. Even in racing, if a lot of money is put into a well designed front wheel drive car and a well designed rear wheel drive car, where there is manufacturer support, meaning big money, the rear wheel drive cars have a higher potential. They perform better in terms of lap times when driven by professional drivers. If front wheel drive cars were so good then there would be more race cars that are front wheel drive, wouldn't there? But there aren't, there is a reason for it. For example in the Australian touring car championship, where the 306 hp BMW 320i raced the Audi A4, Volvo S40, the Nissan Priemera, and other cars, it came out as a winner in most races since it had a handling advantage, otherwise in pure power the cars were equal.

I simply want other members of Max bimmer to tell me what the think about Rear Wheel drive cars versus front wheel drive cars. Thank You.
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:25 AM   #2
Justin e36
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RWD handles better as it allows to rear wheels to focus on moving the car, and the front wheels to focus on steering the car. However, it's also easier to oversteer with a RWD car.

As you mentioned, not many real sports cars are FWD for a reason. And it's not because the transmission can't handle the power. (where'd he get that from??!)

Here's the BMW philosophy on RWD cars, and also what others have to say about it: http://www.corollaperformance.com/TechInfo/RWD.html

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Old 07-21-2005, 10:48 AM   #3
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Front wheel drive cars generally do not handle better then rear wheel drive. First off front wheel drive cars love to understeer, especially when exiting a corner when you put the power on. You can make a front wheel drive car handle well, don't get me wrong, I've seen lots of integras, RSX's, Golfs, etc, etc rip around the track with respectable times, but it comes at the cost of excess front tire wear.

It's not even a matter of the fwd tranny holding the power either, it's that the power is being driven by the front wheels. When you launch, the weight shifts back, away from the drive wheels, then you corner, the front wheels can only do so much.
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Old 07-21-2005, 11:41 AM   #4
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That link makes a lot of sense. But I have one question. When a rear wheel drive car launches, it forces the car to hop backwards(amount of hop depends on the amount of torque) hence the introduction of wheelie bars. Wouldn't track(1/4 mile) cars be better off being designed with FWD because all four wheel stay on the pavement?? For a circuit, RWD makes more sense, especially with the understeer of FWD, but for a straight line, Im a bit confused(based on the link provided)
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Old 07-21-2005, 12:45 PM   #5
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Mostly depends on what driving conditions your in, Say "Rally" then front wheel will have the advantage "Track" I'd agree that rear wheel has the advantage.
Driver is the main difference. I'm good with both and would say with my driving style I'm faster with the front wheel drive, but prefer rear for the added feel and fun factor.
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:45 PM   #6
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ur only mistake in this argument was arguing with a ricer boy

he can probally make up some excuse why they have downforce wings in the rear on a frontwheel drive car!
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Old 07-21-2005, 05:25 PM   #7
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That hop backwards it good for traction though. When the weight transfers back, it applies more pressure to the rear wheels, which turns into more traction. The rear wheelie bars are there is to prevent the front end from getting too high, or from lifting at all. Keeping in mind you still have the weight of the front of the car to keep it down on the ground.

And on a tangent here, even fwd cars can use rear wings. For high speed cornering, whether it be fwd, awd, rwd, all cars can use downforce, even if it's not over the drive wheels. Just as long as you don't have a huge wing up front to add downfornce and nothing up front, that just makes no sense.
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Old 07-22-2005, 09:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ital_325i
That link makes a lot of sense. But I have one question. When a rear wheel drive car launches, it forces the car to hop backwards(amount of hop depends on the amount of torque) hence the introduction of wheelie bars. Wouldn't track(1/4 mile) cars be better off being designed with FWD because all four wheel stay on the pavement?? For a circuit, RWD makes more sense, especially with the understeer of FWD, but for a straight line, Im a bit confused(based on the link provided)
As you said, when you launch a car, the weight transfers to the rear.
This lifts up the front of the car and reduces the contact patch on the front tires, therefore LESS pressure to the ground in the front = more spinning wheels.

Someone asked here earlier why FWD cars can't have higher HP.
It's not because of the transmisson or such, it's just because if you have more than 300HP in a FWD, you can't bring it to the ground in an effiecient way. I am sure there are FWD cars out there, their motor / transmission can handle 800HP, they just cannot do it in an "Race efficient" way = lots of spinning wheels.

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Old 07-23-2005, 04:18 PM   #9
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Not to mention front wheel drive cars tend to wrench the steering from your hands under breaking and on uneven pavement.
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Old 07-23-2005, 05:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdman
Not to mention front wheel drive cars tend to wrench the steering from your hands under breaking and on uneven pavement.
Not only fwd cars do that. My e36 does that under hard braking if the road is crowned, it'll try to pull hard to a side.
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Old 07-23-2005, 08:44 PM   #11
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As stated above FWD cars can be made to handle very well but they will never be as good as RWD and AWD.

Reason:

The front wheels have to do 3 major things.......acceleration, turning, and braking! With all of those things happening in cornering you do give up traction....which equals understeer.
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Old 07-23-2005, 10:47 PM   #12
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FWD cars handle "easier"- it's easier to push to the edge, and it's forgiving when you make mistakes.

RWD cars handle "better"- it's harder to push to the edge, and it'd bite if you make a mistake...but, get it right, and you'll run circles around the FWD.

WHY? Weight Management. Weight transfer and weight distribution for accelleration/deceleration and for cornering is FAR FAR FAR superior to FWD...
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Old 07-23-2005, 11:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3ti Compact
FWD cars handle "easier"- it's easier to push to the edge, and it's forgiving when you make mistakes.
I beg to differ that FWD is "easier" or "forgiving". I have made mistakes driving both.

Remember one simple thing:

Experience = Speed
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Old 07-24-2005, 09:05 AM   #14
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I have driven a lot of RWD even Truck ( Chevy astro and safari) and FWD are les forgiving, a Rwd car will Oversteer, oversteer is easier to control, fwd car such a VW ( i have owned many, lot of Old american crap, and two VW golf and jetta) when start to understeer, is harder to control and more dangerous.
Because when a RWD lose control on there rear wheel, the front wheel stil grip and you stil have steering, In a Fwd Steering and power come from one set of will, if you lose one, you lose both. But rwd Can understeer also, depend on situation! when that happen, it's not funny anymore
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Old 07-24-2005, 10:09 AM   #15
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I think what it comes down to is that in a race situation, RWD is more suited for balance, weight, & power distribution and everything mentioned above.

For daily drivers, FWD is the better choice as the weight of the motor over the drive wheels give it superior traction in wet weather conditions...hence why the majority of cars on the road are FWD...so at the end of the day, FWD is the "safer" choice.

Whoever made the comment about FWD cars not being able to handle great power...watch NOPI Tunervision on Speed channel and explain how those 8 second 1/4 mile FWD ricers do it...
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