What’s The Best Layout for A Sports Car?
We’ve heard it all before, the best recipe for a classic sports car is front engine rear wheel drive. That’s the way BMW does it, and it allows for a great driving experience. But in the last 10 years, other drivetrain setups have come (and gone) into popularity. This has caused us to revisit this concept and see if the classic go to layout for sports cars really is the best choice overall.
Front Engine Rear Wheel Drive
If you’re wondering why this layout is the go-to, it’s all because of the weight distribution. In this setup, all the power is delivered to the back wheels, which leaves the front wheels completely free to steer. However, the front engine puts weight on the front axles and wheels which gives the front wheels more traction. Because of this weight distribution, when all else is equal this layout accelerates faster than its front wheel drive equivalent. What they might lack in traction or interior space they make up for in performance.
Front Engine Front Wheel Drive
Most consumer cars, especially sedans and subcompact care feature this kind of layout. This setup not only allows for more traction than RWD vehicles, but also more cabin space. Most vehicles with mid or back engine setups aren’t really made to be spacious, but vehicles with this layout are. This is a very practical layout but definitely isn’t made for sport. Only a fe
Front Engine All Wheel Drive
Also called F4, this is the most popular layout for four wheel drive vehicles, and can be found in almost every modern Audi and Subaru. Outside of sports cars, it’s quite popular in SUVs such as Jeeps and Toyotas, and is becoming a more popular offering every year. It was originally developed for better control and traction and that is exactly what it delivers. While originally designed for off roading capabilities, it became popular in rally car races in the early 80s. However, four wheel drive systems do weigh more than two wheel drive counterparts, so the amount of power they put down is offset by the weight of the car.
Mid Engine All Wheel Drive
This has become the go-to layout for some supercars, including the Audi R8, Lamborghini Diablo, and Honda NSX. Having the engine more towards the back puts more weight on the rear wheels and allows for more traction. With this weight there’s less wheel spin on the back wheels. This is a great setup no doubt, but just like any other all wheel drive system, there’s a trade off with extra weight that the engine needs to push.
So What’s The Best Option?
We will always love the classic appeal of the front engine rear wheel drive layout, and it’s ability to deliver power so well. However, depending on the conditions, some of the four wheel drive options, such as front engine 4WD and mid engine 4WD have some compelling advantages, despite the extra weight. Even BMW offers X-Drive on most of their vehicles these days. It all comes down to preference, and once you log some time behind the wheel to see what suits your driving the best.