Talk:Front-wheel drive

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It would be cool if this articl discussed the practical tradeoffs between front- and rear- wheel drive designs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:02, 22 May 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the first one[edit]

It was Cugnot's Fardier in 1770 (!) with a steam engine mounted before the (unique) front wheel. It was the first seft-powered car (or truck, in fact), it was heavyly under-steering and collided with a wall in one of the test-drives (Cugnot had forgoten to invent power-steering!) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 9 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mini and VW Golf[edit]

The Mini did not have hydrolastic suspension, this was used on the later Morris 1100 and the Austin 1800. Surely the VW Golf should be mentioned more ? The torsion beam suspension it used made front wheel drive much more popular. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:36, 13 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reversion discussion[edit]

I had taken out "Torque steer can be a problem on front-wheel drive cars with higher torque engines (more than 210 N·m ), transverse layout and unequal lenght drive shafts, no half shafts and no multilink suspension." which aside from the spelling, is an unsupported opinion. I'd also asked for factual support. Both these changes were reverted. Before going into a revert war, I wanted to see what's going on and why this was put back in, and whether there's any supporting evidence or if we're just seeing "design snobbery."Davert 19:59, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Made some modifications to remove statements that can't be easily supported and to prevent future fighting; requested sources for "facts" Davert 19:59, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Front Wheel Drive removes engine bay space[edit]

In an FF car, wouldnt having the transmission and differential and all the connecting components sitting inside the engine bay significantly reduce the amound of space available? At the very least the block would have to sit higher to give room for the rest of the drive train. In many rear drive cars I know its a problem trying to drop engines in that are too large for the bay, i can only assume that with the additional components of a front wheel drive car in there aswell, the problem would be markedly worse. Anyone want to confirm this before its added? Nereth 10:06, 10 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I haven't managed to find anything about it. So unless you find some source it can't go into the article. // Liftarn
It's a problem that's not that hard to overcome - it all fits in there. Davert 00:18, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Manufacturers rightly view engine bay space as wasted space - as long as the vehicle is able to be serviced without too much difficulty. The block does not sit higher, the transaxle is behind the flywheel and driveshafts between the block and firewall in a typical layout. That said, RWD vehicles are generally easier to service, especially for the home mechanic, but I wouldn't rate it as a specific advantage or disadvantage. 09:39, 18 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some FWD solved this problem by using an USELESS space: under the dashboard (R4, R16, R15, DS...). This allows to have the front wheels closer to the bumped and let lot of space for the the leg along the engine. The Citroën "15" (1938-1955) had even an six-inline mounted this way. It seems that some Honda Legend (not the first one) and Quinted use such an architecture for the same reason (and this gaves a better weight balance to the car, and a longer wheelbase (roadholding better too) withoud needind an longer noise). (in fact putting the engine behind the wheels is possible in rwd too, like in the BMW roadsters) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:43, 9 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I don't want to get into a big fight over the whole 'towing disadvantage' thing, however ; I've done some research on this and come up with this : Point 8 to support my argument. Before writing that edit, I did find a few other references to support it, which I could dig out if I had to. Edmunds should be considered reputable enough to do the job though.

Saying things like "A front wheel drive vehicle cannot, generally speaking, be used to tow any but small loads" isn't exactly expressing a neutral point of view. It's also very vague - what do you categorise as a small load? A very quick perusal of shows that there are many front wheel drive vehicles with a towing capacity greater than 2,000 lbs.

If you've supporting evidence for your point of view, please post it. AndrewH 13:48, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The advantages section says there's more weight over the driven wheels, while the disadvantages section says there's less weight over the driving wheels. I find this confusing and contradictory - in an FWD car, don't "driven wheels" and "driving wheels" both refer to the front wheels? --Mr2001 01:24, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Yeah - that's not very clear. The point in the disadvantages section is that when towing there will be less weight on the driving/driven wheels. I'll try to improve it. AndrewH 08:23, 6 Oct 2004 (UTC)

When towing the load should be balanced so it don't put on extra weight (and lifts the front wheels) or lifts the rear wheels (causing handling problems). // Liftarn

Constant Velocity Joint[edit]

Could anyone here explain, how a front wheel drive car is able to apply torque to the front wheels so that they spin (hence driving the car forward) and at the same time, allow them to turn left and right? This seems like it might need an interesting mechanism to achieve this sort of movement, and it might be worth explaining so in the article, if that's the case. --Brendanfox 10:31, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Ah! Thanks very much --Brendanfox 01:21, 21 Feb 2005 (UTC)


No problem with fishtailing? BS! Hit aniything (a mount of snow) a bit fast or lift of the accelerator on a slippery surface and the light tail comes around *very* quickly. Then again, maybe you just don't fishtail on FF cars because it just spins right around before you even get a chance to try steering against it, not to mention trying to accelerate back into balance. Milder wording would make this only a FUD point.

Huh? What are you talking about? You are obviously not describing any form of fishtailing I've heard of. // Liftarn
It is possible on slippery surfaces to break the rear wheels loose in a turn, and you can wave it back and forth in trying to recover. It's just far more difficult than with RWD (and probably more dangerous, because of the conditions required to do it.) God damn, I hope it wasn't me who wrote that comment. I don't think so, but it sounds like something I'd have written when very drunk. // Andy Christ

But is that really fishtailing? As I understand it fishtailing is a direct result of rear wheel drive. // Liftarn

  • defines fishtailing: 'To have the rear end of a forward-moving vehicle swerve from side to side out of control: The truck fishtailed on the icy road.' So, in essence, it is very difficult to do so in a FWD. In fact, in the drifting article, for this reason FWD is disliked for drifting because that is what you want to achieve: fishtailing to one side into a corner. Colonel Marksman 18:50, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A FWD Saab Model 99 I had viciously fishtailed in the snow if the back end broke loose. The engine on that car was very far forward and the tail was very light. Ultimately caused a serious crash.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Probably just oversteering. 99s can do that if you have for instance stiffer suspension in the rear. // Liftarn

I think the drive wheel location are is only going to matter for acceleration induced fishtailing. There are other way to fishtail. Seano1 (talk) 23:05, 23 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

True, any vehicle can fishtail. Fishtailing is simply the result of pendulum effect: any car can be easily made to spin out of the road (or roll over) by simply see-sawing the steering wheel at higher speed, thus unsettling it enought for a fishtail to start (are ESP equipped vehicles immune to this?). I experienced a massive fishtail in a FWD Fiat Tipo, which resulted from overcorrecting after swerving to avoid a deer. Sensekhmet (talk) 16:15, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Front Wheel Drive in Racing[edit]

Now then, having raced FF cars, it's very interesting to note that if you want to fishtail or drift, you either have to pull the handbrake, as is for drifting, or, a 'whole lot of gut' to take corners that fast! It's a common misconception ('very' common misconception) that RWD or AWD make better windy track racers. They are, indeed, smooth drives and ideal for moving fast and gaining speed, and even in braking, FWD are better for accelerating and keeping control in a turn. Real tires may slip up if you go fast enough, but you still have control because your drive is in the front.

Would anyone here not agree? I would stick that in the article, but my fear is that somebody without a considerate and deep thinking brain will scream their head off about it too quick, that, and because FWD + racing = virtually unheard of. -- Colonel Marksman 18:50, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that would qualify as an opinion rather than a fact. FF is more forgiving and easy to drive, and this can make it effective and quite fun to race. But in a technical sense and with very capable drivers, FF is disadvantaged in the majority of cases.

At one of the autocrosses I ran at, an inexperienced Honda Civic posted a better time than several of the Corvettes. That didn't happen because the Civic handles better than a Corvette (it doesn't), and it certainly doesn't have as much power. But it's far easier to drive in anger. Whereas the less experience Corvette drivers had a strong tendency to overcook it into the corners and fishtail out of the corners... making much sound and fury but producing more burnt rubber than speed. Of course, the experienced Corvette drivers don't have these problems, and they set blindingly quick times. But even so, the powerful RWD car is inherently more difficult to drive. It inherently has more capability, but it's harder to tap that capability. 10:33, 30 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If FWD or RWD is better in racing probably depends much on the track (all things other the same). I've read about historic racing where they've raced 1960s Ferraris against 1960s two-stroke SAABs. The Ferrari is more powerfull and RWD and the SAABs FWD and low powered, but the races are eaven. The Ferraris are quicker in the straight runs, but the SAABs pass them in the curves (altough it is possible you drive a 1960s Ferrari more carefully than a SAAB 96). I also reccomend reading What's It Like To Drive. // Liftarn

I think what is being seen here is that relatively low horsepower cars aren't so heavily affected by FWD vs RWD... which makes pleanty of sense. And some inherent advantages in the FWD format can come into play and make it competitive (for instance, it tends to be a little lighter). The higher you go in horsepower, the less FWD makes any sense at all. The big killer is shifting the weight off the drive wheels... and if the horsepower isn't enough for that to be big problem... hmmm... then the comparison is on. On the web page you reference, the FWD car is only making 250hp, which is (just) within the range where FWD can still be competitive, but is pretty low for a race car (a lot of stock street cars generate more horsepower than that these days). It must be running in a one of the slower classes. Nevertheless, you make good points. 23:58, 1 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Different conditions can also give different results. Have a look at [1] for an example. The tarmac is wet and you can see the Dodge Vipers doing both slight fishtailing (when first driving out) and later also spin out of control (so does a Mazda RX-8) and running off the track. The FWD cars seem not to have the same problem. I guess all the drivers are happy amateurs so the skill should be about equal. // Liftarn

The time when FWD cars were called 'wrong wheel drive' should be longs past us. As an argument I can give two examples. The first would be FIA rally class called Formula 2, from the 90s. F2 cars were some of the most extreme rally cars built since group B. They were small hatchbacks, like Citroen Xsara, Peugeot 306 or Seat Ibiza with two litre 16v engines, naturally aspirated but revving to over 9000rpm, with power outputs of around 300hp (official data seems to put the power in the wherabouts of 260-280hp, but Polish rally driver Janusz Kulig claimed his Renault Megane Maxi could put down 320-340hp), sequential gearboxes and wide wheel arches. These cars weighed at most 1000kg and could give WRC class cars a run for their money on dry tarmac, and they held their own on gravel and snow too. The second example is the WTCC, where all but one make's cars (that make being BMW) are FWD. My point being: FWD cars are in general easier to drive, simpler, lighter and cheaper (no need to reinforce the back of the body shell and no need for a strong or overly sophisticated rear suspension) than RWD cars of comparable size. The drawbacks are: bad weight distribution (the whole drive train sits on the front wheels or even in front of it), inablility to rotate the car into the corner using power alone, uneven front-back tire wear and some models that suffer from horrible or even dangerous handling due to manufacturer engineering errors. A properly made/tuned FWD car is a blast to drive, it features no-brainer handling (off the gas: tightens the line, on the gas: widens the line), oversteer on driver demand (just lift off the gas briskly) and it puts down power efficiently (not wasting it on powerslides). On a typical rally stage (tarmac or loose surface, doesn't really matter) if you'd pit a Renault Clio Williams against a E36 BMW 320i, the Clio would almost surely win, simply because of it's low weight and efficiency: also, it would not necessarily be less fun to drive. Sensekhmet (talk) 16:39, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In rally modern FWD has advantage on RWD only on slippery surface - because of its big weight on front axle. But in times when most car in rally was mid or rear engined, FWD haven't big chance. Only reason why there's no RWD car in rally is that there's no small RR or MR hatchback with small engine, which could have advantage above FWD Papi123 18th April 2012

Snap Oversteer[edit]

Does snap oversteer have anything to do with FWD? According to "The Porshe 911 is the king of unexpected snap oversteer, with a large rear weight bias behind the rear wheels if the suspension got overloaded and the rear tires lost some traction you would find yourself backing into the ditch." // Liftarn

Yes, it is a big problem with FWD cars and mid-engined RWD cars. The first 2/3 years of the s2 MR2 were also notorious for this. What happens is when you lift off the accellerator or hit the breaks in the middle of a "right on the limits" turn at high speed, the car's weight shifts forward and the rear tires break traction.

When this happens in a FWD car the weight is over the front wheels, so they get more traction (understeer lessens or stops), and the ass-end flings out. Once this happens, you've lost control of the car and it's pretty much going wherever it wants. You don't see this happen so often in good weather because most powerful cars that can get enough sideways-Gs up to achieve it these days are mid-engined, and/or RWD or 4WD.

In a mid-engined car, when the tail comes around in this way you will usually lose traction on both sets of wheels get a spin moreso than a slide, because the weight is in the middle of the car. Of course while the car is spinning, it's also sliding along towards the nearest telephone pole. Sophistifunk 02:35, 13 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So it has more to do with weight distrubution than what wheels do the driving? // Liftarn
  • WHOA WHOA WHOA! HOLD IT! Did you just say that FWD can drift? Drifting is defined as Drifting refers either to a driving technique utilizing a difference in slip angle between the front and rear tires of a car or to a sport based on the technique in the Drifting (motorsport) article, which states that it is argued whether or not a FWD can do that or not. From what have researched, snap oversteer is drifting too much(?)

Beside that point, I have not come across this problem, but in fact, I have read that Mustangs have a serious problem with it. On the backroad highways with turns marked "25 mph" in a pretty windy, no-shoulder area, I go in at 45 mph downhill and 60 uphill. I've taken turns beyond my skill capability, and I have successfully drifted, but regaining control was relatively easy.

What I'm trying to say is that I cannot believe that FWD cars have a problem with snap oversteer, unless your a serious drifting nutcase. This is coming from hands-on experience and loads of deoderant-breaking sweat. Colonel Marksman 19:03, 29 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also as the Porsche 911 have been named "the king of unexpected snap oversteer" and it as far as I know is RWD it seems a but dubious to say that snap oversteer have to do with the driving wheels. // Liftarn

I'm sorry. I find it necessary to be blunt here. The references to snap oversteer as an inherent disadvantage of FWD are flatly bogus. Further, the reference to the Porsche 911 implies that it is also a FWD car (which it's not). While it is possible for a FWD car to exhibit snap oversteer, it is not something the FWD format is more likely to do than other formats. Indeed, such a condition would usually indicate worn, damaged, or misaligned suspension gear in a FWD car (in this case, probably worn tie rods that allow the rear toe to wander. A common ailment in cars with mileage on them). I have been bold and removed that entire bullet from the article. If anyone has a problem with that, then go ahead and revert my edit. However, I think you had better cite a reference that supports your claim before you put that bullet back in. All of the references cited above refer to rear engined rear wheel drive cars, which are the _opposite_ format! 10:33, 30 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I took advantage of the weather and tried out a few things and I think the original writer confused "snap oversteer" with "snap neutral steer", i.e. the car understeers when cornering under heavy power on slippery surface and then snaps back to neutral steer when you take your foot of the pedal. // Liftarn
FWDs certainly exhibit "lift-off" oversteer (backing off the throttle mid-corner) but this is because of weight transference to the front wheels causing the rears to slide out - it is not about which wheels are driving. Having all that weight over the front wheels is a factor, but many RWD trucks and vans also have light rear ends, so it's a case of front-rear balance, and a well balanced FWD car will do better than a poorly balanced RWD. And yes, FWD drifting is possible with lift-off oversteer, but as you can't control the slip angle with the throttle arguably it misses the whole point of drifting. 09:59, 18 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

- Early FWD cars and rear-engined cars with swing axles (Porsche, VW beetle, Chevrolet Corvair) developed 'snap oversteer' when the inward rear wheel lifted off the ground. This problem was solved by using torsion beam(s) to 'twist' the wheel to the ground. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:43, 13 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I cannot agree with that. As an amateur racer it's obvious to me and anyone else that shares my passion that 'the correct way to corner an FWD is on 3 wheels: otherwise you're not pushing it hard enough'. Cars that easily 3-wheel include not just French hot hatches but also for example older Golfs: and it doesn't cause snap oversteer: the wheel in the air is simply 'not needed' at the time, it's not doing any work, there's no weight on it and the drive goes to the front ones. And snap oversteer is possible with FWD cars, it only happens easier on some cars than on others. But coasting through a slippery corner is asking for trouble in general I think, regardless of the vehicle's layout. Sensekhmet (talk) 16:53, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Left-foot braking[edit]

I've reinserted the reference to left-foot braking. "In rallying it applies primarily to front wheel drive vehicles. It is closely related to the handbrake turn, but involves locking the rear wheels using the foot brake, which is set up to apply a significant pressure bias to the rear brakes." OK? // Liftarn

Ah. Well, I agree with your point then. However, I think it needs to be refined within the article because it implies that left foot braking is not used in RWD or AWD formats. And that is not true at all. Basically, it needs to explain what you just explained because that is a special case use of left-foot braking which specifically applies to FWD only. Left-foot braking technique has many other applications in RWD and AWD. 23:58, 1 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suggest to remove "Front-wheel drive allows the use of left-foot braking as a driving technique" from the advantages of the FWD. AWD also allows to use left-foot braking as a driving technique without the side affect of locking the rear axle. The rationale to use left-foot braking on AWD is to keep turbo unit spinning and loaded. You can use LFB on RWD as well, for a faster transition from accelleration to braking and vice versa, or to load the front axle and unload the rear axle for an easier power oversteer. The Alain Prost's book have a good explanation of left foot braking on all drive types. --Maxim Masiutin 19:58, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The purpose of left-foot braking is to lock the rear wheel while keeping the front wheels driving. Left-foot braking on an AWD is done for an entierly different purpose. // Liftarn

I've never read such rubbish in my life. Left foot braking is not an "advantage of fwd", it is a driving techniques used by cars of all layouts. It's used more in fwd simply because they don't have the option of power oversteer to get the tail of the car out. Ex-rally champ Rauno Aaltonen was interviewed on left foot braking with both fwd and rwd.[2] Ex-WRC winner Pentti Airikkala, who drove mostly rwd Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Chevettes in the 1970s, has a rally driving school at[3] --DeLarge 12:24, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Interestingly enough the source you give contradict your claim ("the advantages are different" and "This causes the rear wheels to lock before the front wheels, because the rear wheels are running free and the front ones are being driven by the engine."). You can left-foot brake on a RWD, but it's done differently and for another purpose. // Liftarn
You can also use LFB on RWD to produce oversteer. This is done to shift the weight forward, removing traction from the rear axle. Moreover, if an open differential is used, one wheel may be locked, which also contributes to oversteer. --Maxim Masiutin 15:36, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It contradicts nothing, because all I said was that LWB can be used by drivers of any car. You're the one making claims that LFB is something exclusive to one layout. It has different effects depending on what wheels are driven, but that's true of acceleration, steering... any driver input. Your claim was that LFB is used for only one thing, in one layout, and if tried in any other layout for any reason will not offer any advantage. If it creates an advantage to use it [for another purpose] in a rwd car, then the advantages of LFB are not restricted to fwd cars, end of story.

Your entire statement above: "The purpose of left-foot braking is to lock the rear wheel while keeping the front wheels driving. Left-foot braking on an AWD is done for an entierly different purpose" ... can you not see how you just contradicted yourself there? If LFB on an AWD is done for "an entirely different purpose", then locking the rear wheels while keeping the fronts driving is not going to be "the purpose", it's going to be a purpose.

In actual fact, you've let User:Maxim Masiutin mislead you slightly. Keeping the turbo spinning is a justification for using LFB in a turbocharged car, not an AWD car. LFB in a modern AWD car is done because they have so much traction and balance that a straightforward Scandinavian flick is usually not enough to unsettle them going into a corner unless the road surface is really poor. They use the flick, the handbrake and LFB together to loosen the car up and get it round the corner. Other techniques like ditch-hooking and bouncing off snow banks are used as well where appropriate. It's all about getting the back out quickly and pointing the car in the same direction as the exit of the corner. Fwd cars only have LFB and handbraking at their disposal. Rwd and awd cars have both those techniques, plus throttle-based options (i.e. power oversteer) as well. --DeLarge 16:37, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Intentional skidding[edit]

There is an uncited and doubtful statement about the advantage of the FWD: "While driving on snow or ice, the skilled driver can control the movement of the car even while skidding by steering, throttling and pulling the hand brake (given that the hand brake operates the rear wheels as in most cases, with early Saabs being an exception). It takes practice to master but it vastly increases safety while driving in cold environments, given that the driver understands the risks involved in intentional skidding".

On all types: RWD, AWD, as well as FWD, th skilled driver can control the movement of the car even while skidding by steering, throttling and pulling the hand brake. So this is not the sole benefit of FWD, and the statement have to be removed, because you won't find a reliable source for this.

It is true that "the skilled driver can control the movement of the car even while skidding by steering, throttling and pulling the hand brake".

But it is false that this is the sole benefit of FWD.

--Maxim Masiutin 12:27, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To be able to use this technique the hand break has to operate the rear wheels and the front wheels have to be the driving. I'm sorry, but I don't see how you can get that on a RWD car. // Liftarn
The driver's input on the FWD and RWD may be different, but the outcome is the same: control the movement of the car even while skidding. While on FWD you may use steering+throttling+pulling the hand brake to turn around, on the RWD you are just steering+throttling (power oversteer) without the handbrake. Or you can pull the handbrake for the short period of time (disconnecting the transmission) and then do power oversteer. The input is different but the result is the same. No particular benefit of the FWD here. --Maxim Masiutin 15:03, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Exactly, you get the advantage of another way to controll the car. One that is not available on a RWD car. The handbreak skid is related to both handbrake turn and left-foot braking. // Liftarn
This advantage mostly relates to motorsport. There are several unique advantages of FWD, RWD and AWD in motorsport. E.g you may turn earlier in RWD and AWD, and if the nose will suddenly point to the inside of the turn and not to where you want to go, you can apply throttle and countersteer to push the car sideways until the car will look to the exit of the turn. This is not possible with FWD. And so on... So I suggest to remove motorsport-related avanced driving techniques from the section. --Maxim Masiutin 16:08, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Left foot braking can be used on AWD to keep turbo unit spinning and loaded. On FWD or RWD it may lock the axle not connected to the transmission. Is it the disadvantage of FWD, worth mentioned in this article? I don't think so, because it relates mostly to motorsports. So I suggest to remove motorsport-related avanced driving techniques from the section. --Maxim Masiutin 16:12, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All of them? Also in the RWD article? // Liftarn
Maybe. I see only one motorsports-related note in the RWD article: "Oversteer and the related problem of fishtailing, which turns to a benefit in motorsports, especially Drifting (Motorsport)."

"Heavy acceleration" and "better cornering" is not the motorsport-related, since the driver's input is quite usual. --Maxim Masiutin 18:38, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You don't do "heavy acceleration" nor do you need "better cornering" when just getting yourself from A to B. // Liftarn
"Heavy acceleration" is just when you press full throttle, nothing unusual, doesn't require any special skills or driving techniques, unlike the tricks with the handbrake that you are describing. --Maxim Masiutin 09:44, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe we should make a separate article "advanced driving techniques" and describe different techniques and different drive types where we can apply it. E.g., on FWD with manual gearbox and slippery road parking is very convenient: you press the clutch pedal, hold the handbrake, turn the wheels, increase revs and release the clutch quickly: the car will turn around the rear axle. The front wheel will draw a circle while the rear will stand. This, however, wears out the CV joints quickly. Also, the reverse-180-turn can be done in FWD almost from standing, with full throttle, while on RWD the car need to first accelerate to get the required inertia. Etc... --Maxim Masiutin 18:44, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there is an category called Category:Hazardous motor vehicle activities. // Liftarn
Great, just remove the handbrake technique from the FWD to a separate article under the category Category:Hazardous motor vehicle activities. You may say that "personal research is prohibited in wikipedia", but I've never seen an owner's manual where the use of handbrake (or foot-brake cable connected to the rear caliper, like in Mercedes 140) is authorized when the vehicle is moving, while "heavy acceleration" and "better cornering" is advertized by the manufacturers. --Maxim Masiutin 09:48, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm a little late with this comment, but I have a RWD car with an individual handbrake for each rear wheel. I haven't driven this car in winter but I imagine it would help the aforementioned handling. --Sable232 15:47, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Individual handbrake for each rear wheel? Interesting. However, on a RWD you would get something more like a handbrake turn, while on a FWD it would be more like left-foot braking. // Liftarn

For a given vehicle weight, power and tire size, a front wheel drive car is always faster over a given section of road[edit]

This is not true for RWD with rear engine. You've also removed the note about the insufficient traction. Consider the source that you've given not reliable. --Maxim Masiutin 09:51, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unless you have a source for your counterclaim it goes back in. As for being unreliable, that depends on if you think the ride and handling engineers at Lotus know nothing about cars... // Liftarn
This article is marketing and not technical - it doesn't provide the technical explanation why they wrote so, the conditions how did make the tests, and so on. This is not verifieble as reuired by Wikipedia. They might do testing in some conditions, while in other conditions this might be opposing. You've copied it like it is true in all the cases. --Maxim Masiutin 10:14, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's both verifiable and reliable. That they don't show the test results is regretable, but not required. Other have found simmilar results "if the ratio of tire to power is about equal, it doesn't seem to matter much which end drives the car. In slippery conditions, it matters a great deal. On a wet or greasy track, better traction off the corners puts the front-driver in a class of its own. /../ But it depends on the racetrack. At Road Atlanta, the two cars were within a tenth or two. At tighter tracks, Mid-Ohio, for example, the gap was larger. But on faster circuits like Watkins Glen and Lime Rock, Showket believes the front-wheel drive may give him an edge."[4] // Liftarn
Again, this does not state whether the RWD was mid-engine or front engine. Concider this:

In our example, FWD allows for great acceleration. But if you look at the formulas more carefully, you can discover that there is a condition for this to happen.

So if you are ommitting the conditions you are not neutral. For example, Formula 1 technical requirements states that the car should only have two driven wheels. The choice of FWD or RWD is free for the teams. Howerver, teams have decided that RWD with rear engine is faster. --Maxim Masiutin 15:11, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think the personal homepage of a person who can't fint the engine in a Porsche is very reliable. Anyway, I know that MR is a very good configuration, but the source says nothing about that and per Wikipedia policy we can't do original research so we have to go with what the source says. // Liftarn
What about this:

It's poignant to also point out at this stage that in World class rally terms, tarmac stages are generally won by the FWD's not the 4WD's. That's because grip is no substitute for good handling, something which the FWD developers have elevated to a science. This is not to say that a RWD would not ultimately be faster than a FWD but only if you could deliver the power to the rear with a similar overall power to weight ratio as the FWD, and that's highly unlikely. The most effective example showing the pinnacle of what is acheivable can be found in F1, but these cars use a mid engine RWD layout which delivers a good compromise between total weight and its distribution. --Maxim Masiutin 15:25, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A link to F1 technical regulations is not a personal research. --Maxim Masiutin 15:26, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Basicly it says "MR is a good compromise between total weight and it's distribution.". Well, and..? // Liftarn
The quote at the top of this section really should be removed. Never mind MR layouts, it's not true period.
  • It flies in the face of common sense -- every purpose built racing car and high performance road car has been RWD or AWD. Are all Formula One, Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Corvette engineers wrong?
  • It's badly cited -- the transcript of a sales brochure for a FWD car is NOT a reliable source, and even if it were, it can only be applied to that specific vehicle, not the entire layout.
FWD cars have their advantages, and I prefer them myself for safety's sake, but there's no way you can make a claim like that in an encyclopedia. As an aside, it's ironic that someone's linked to a quote about FWD rally cars ("kit cars") beating 4WDs. For the record, the minimum weight requirement for a kit car was just over 1000kg. For the 4WD Group A cars, it was about 1250kg. Class regulations helped them win, and once that crutch disappeared, so did the kit cars. --DeLarge 18:29, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Using your common sense as a source would be WP:OR. What the source says goes into the article. I suspect Lotus was refering to road cars (F1 cars are very extreme in many ways and also tightly regulated). I also suspect the layout of the track may give different results (and we have somewhat of a source for that claim: "But it depends on the racetrack. At Road Atlanta, the two cars were within a tenth or two. At tighter tracks, Mid-Ohio, for example, the gap was larger. But on faster circuits like Watkins Glen and Lime Rock, Showket believes the front-wheel drive may give him an edge."[5]). In straight line acceleration I think RWD would be better, but that's just my personal speculation and that shouldn't go into the article. However, I read about classic racing where they raced old two-stroke SAABs against Ferraris and the Ferraris were faster on the straight, but the SAABs passed them in the curves. // Liftarn

You can't say that a FWD is always faster, and then put in a caveat that it may depend on the road configuration. Why not change your wording to state that under certain conditions a FWD vehicle has better speed and traction than any other configuration, and then state which conditions your research has shown to be advantageous. --Hoolaman 13:58, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have two different sources that says slightly different things. I'll see if I can make something out of it. // Liftarn
I'll reiterate. You found a transcription of a sales brochure for a FWD car which claimed that the Lotus Elan (and only the Lotus Elan) was faster when tested as FWD than RWD. You've then assumed (a) that the brochure was a reliable source, and that what was claimed wasn't just a sales pitch, and (b) that what was said for that particular car applies to all fwd vehicles all of the time. That's a hell of an assumptive leap for someone who's so quick to shout "original research!" at others. And as User:Hoolaman has then noted, you've made things worse by inserting a caveat that directly contradicts what immediately precedes it. --DeLarge 14:47, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, the idea of a FWD Lotus came before the Elan was made so it applies to cars in general. They talk about the work Lotus put into "tuning and refining chassis systems for a variety of other manufacturers. They had the opportunity to be involved in many projects that allowed them to study a wide variety of platforms, and many lessons were learned." and then goes on with "Perhaps most surprising was the realization of the performance potential in front wheel drive. The ride and handling engineers found that for a given vehicle weight, power and tire size, a front wheel drive car was always faster over a given section of road.". Note that it says not that it's just the Elan, but "a front wheel drive car" in general. The choise of FWD was made early in the project. // Liftarn
And again, you're taking the text of a sales brochure for a FWD car as some kind of engineering gospel. It also claims they scoured the world for the ideal engine. That's a lot of hogwash. It was well noted at the time the car was released that Lotus used the Isuzu 1.6T because it was the best they could get from a fellow GM subsidiary.
Put it this way. If Lotus was so enamoured of FWD in general, why did their next car (also a small roadster) turn out to be MR (the Lotus Elise)? Why will the forthcoming next generation Lotus Esprit be an MR layout too? Their actions seem to be contradicting their words, no? You're taking this one document, which is a brochure for a FWD car, and treating it as some kind of definitive engineering treatise. It's not -- it's a sales pitch, and was written by a marketing department making claims about engineers discovering X, Y, and Z. I can't figure why you think it's a reliable source. --DeLarge 15:30, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My guess would be that it's one thing to make a car handle well and another thing to manage to sell it. I guess the buyers didn't want a FWD car. // Liftarn

I've found a reference to confirm the words of DeLarge: Frere, Paul (1992). “From Slipping to Sliding”, Sports Car and Competition Driving,. BentleyPublishers, 67. ISBN 0836702025 Parameter error in {{ISBN}}: checksum. “Front-wheel drive which, due to the reduced front wheel grip under accelleration, is practical only for cars of moderate power-to-weight ratio, is an advantage only in sharp corners.” --Maxim Masiutin 16:18, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've found another nice reference: William, Milliken (1995). “Merits of Front-, Rear-, and Four-Wheel Drive”, Race Car Vehicle Dynamics. SAE International, 730. ISBN 1560915269. “Front-wheel drive has been most successful in the lower power/weight range and in sutuations in which superior derectional stability on low coefficients is important. Ther has never been a successful front-drive Grand Prix car nor a competitive Indianapolis car of more than 300 hp.” --Maxim Masiutin 16:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good finds, but be carefull to not change what one source says just because another soaurce say another thing. // Liftarn
The sales brochure of the unanimous Lotus engineers contradits to published works by Paul Frere and William Milliken, and this is not what Wikipedia can tolerate. The book by William Milliken is an university manual. --Maxim Masiutin 16:52, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Found another one: Prost, Alain (1990). “Controlling a car at the limit”, Competition Driving. Hazelton Publishing, 50. ISBN 0905138805. “Front-wheel drive. In this instance, both power and steering are directed through the front wheels, the rears remaining free. Following the principle of weight transfer once more, the lightening of the front wheels under acceleration considerably reduces their effectiveness and thus limits the usable power. Consequentally, this type of transmission is generally less effective on racing circuits, a few rare exceptions notwithstanding, but has its advantages in road events where maximum power is not called into play so often”

I see that the three different authors univocally contradict the Lotus engineers :-) --Maxim Masiutin 17:06, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've found out that the Lotus sales brochure contradicts to a BMW sales brochure. ;) I think that a sales brochure may cite an encyclopedia, and not vice versa :-) --Maxim Masiutin 07:53, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it's not a sales brochure, but a sales manual, i.e. it's for the sellers, not the customers and the original source is the Lotus engineers. // Liftarn
It's pure sales puff - just how many FWD cars have lotus made since that dog? It's also patently false - and drag racing is the proof. A given stretch of road - 400m straight line in this case - the weight transference on acceleration to the rear wheels means superior traction to the rear (driving) wheels, do I have to draw a picture? I'm going to remove this nonsense if noone else will. 12:34, 18 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is I said eralier, it's one thing to make a car, but an enierly different thing to sell it. If you want to sell a sports har is have to be RWD for marketing reasons. It must also be noisy, uncomfortable and don't have a smooth ride. As far as I know Lotus doens't make drag racers. // Liftarn
But the statement "For a given vehicle weight, power and tire size, a front wheel drive car is always faster over a given section of road" is either true _for all situations including straight line acceleration_ or false. It's inclusion on the Lotus Elan page is encyclopaedic to show Lotus' rationale for building a FWD convertible, it's use on theis page as evidence of some inherent advantage of FWD over RWD is not, 1) because it is not true 2) it is marketing material. A RWD car of identical weight, power and tyre size would out-accelerate a Lotus Elan from a standing start. Who's talking about sports cars and drag racers? What about BMW and Benz - are they not RWD, smooth, comfortable, well-handling and fast? All of these are selling points. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
BMW and Benz don't make sports cars so they have other requirements, such as smooth and comfortable. Anyway, this is not a debate forum. Get some sources. // Liftarn
Mercedes Benz and BMW would care to differ. 11:26, 22 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tactile feedback[edit]

tactile feedback should also be removed.

  • It applies to motrosports.
  • The cited source have nothing about the tactile feedback. The reference is not adequate, it is only given just to remove the {{Fact}} template.

--Maxim Masiutin 20:03, 1 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tactile feedback certainly isn't only for motorsports. It's an ordinary, everyday saftey issue. The source says "because the front wheels are driven, the driver is immediately warned through the steering wheel when there is any loss of traction. "Man is very sensitive in this respect," Larsson says. "He will perceive differences of one-hundredth of a degree."" // Liftarn

The Book "The Front-Wheel Driving High Performance Advantage"[edit]

Let me tell a few words about The Book "The Front-Wheel Driving High Performance Advantage" by Jack Doo, Carroll Shelby, ISBN-10: 0879382988; ISBN-13: 978-0879382988.

It is a nice source of references. What particularly do you want me to find in this book as a wikipedia source? I read it in March, 2005. Let me tell what I think about this book.

This books points out the differences and the similarities of FWD vs RWD race cars in the following aspects: driving style or line, differential selection, front/rear weight balance and downforce distribution, brake balance, suspension geometry, torsional stiffness, tire heat transients.

The authors have interviewed the FWD champions in road racing, autocrossing, rallying, ice racing and drag racing, and expressed their opinions on car setup and driving techniques in these different competition driving areas. For example, you will find pros and cons of left-foot-braking in this book, as expressed by the champions in respective areas. All the interviewees have agreed that trail braking is much more important for FWD cars, or even unavoidable.

There are also good chapters about FWD cars in the following books:

  • Competition Driving (Alain Prost, Pierre-Francois)
  • Race Car Vehicle Dynamics (William Milliken, Douglas Milliken)

What the book "The Front-Wheel Driving High Performance Advantage" lacks is a clear conclusion, an outcome (probably a final chapter) based the on the data gathered by the interviews.

--Maxim Masiutin 16:24, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's impossible to come to a clear conclusion. Both FWD and RWD have various pros and cons depending on the situation. // Liftarn

The center of gravity[edit]

The sentence The centre of gravity of the vehicle is typically farther forward than a comparable rear-wheel drive layout should be removed from the disadvantages, since better loading of the front wheels on FWD is an advantage on slippery surface, in sharp corners, and in some turns. In some conditions better loading of the front wheels on FWD helps to avoid understeer, contrary to the sentence. --Maxim Masiutin 05:20, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a result of the layout of the page. Rather than having an "Advantages" and "Disadvantages" section with bulleted points (frowned upon at the Guide to Layout), I think a better approach would a single prose section which discusses advantages and disadvantages together. An FWD vehicle's more forwardly positioned CoG is a double-edged sword. It hampers neutral handling by contributing to understeer, but provides extra traction in inclement conditions by placing extra weight over the driven wheels and contributes to FWD's better directional stability. Whether it's an advantage or disadvantage depends upon what you want out of the car. In fact, I'm inclined to think that the two sections should be combined into a single one entitled "Characteristics" (or similar), which would probably better avoid the current POV issues. --DeLarge 13:45, 4 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps the best would be to combine it with the bulleted lists on the article on RWD into an own article. That would make sense since the advantage of one configuration often is the drawback of the other. // Liftarn
I like this idea. --Maxim Masiutin 09:02, 5 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps in the Automobile layout article? // Liftarn

Citations missing[edit]

There seem to be an enormous number of places in this article where citations are non existant. In my experience, FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD vs. 4WD debates can decend emotionally for reasons I cannot fathom. Lack of citations will only feed that. Tgm1024 14:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Miller 122[edit]

The article says "The first successful application of front-wheel drive was the Miller 122 racecar designed in 1924", but do we have a source for that? I have found some pictures of the Miller 122 and I don't see any drive shafts in the front[6], but I can see a propshaft going to the end of the car[7]. // Liftarn

Miller built both front- and rear-wheel drive cars in this era. In [8] the drive shaft can clearly be seen beneath the spring. The drawbacks of the Miller FWD car were twofold: firstly they cost half as much again as their rear-drive siblings and secondly shifting gears was difficult going up the box and impossible going down. This wasn't too much of a drawback for oval racing but when the optimistic Leon Duray took a couple of FWD Miller 91's to Monza in (IIRC) 1929 he only succeeded in breaking the lap record, both cars and his bank balance. The last-named was restored by selling the cars to Ettore Bugatti, after which Bugatti's DOHC valve gear suddenly became a lot more effective... Mr Larrington (talk) 16:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
actually, this points out a major failing of the article, it doesn't differentiate between front-drive cars and front-wheel-drive cars. Front-drive cars like the Miller (and contemporary like the Duesenberg and Novi) had no differential, nor the half-shafts and CV joints typical in a FWD design. They had a simple solid axle, driving both wheels at the same speed. Obviously that means one wheel has to slip in a corner, something which wasn't a problem on a brick (Indy) or wood track. Probably the Miller should be taken out of this article, and it should focus on "normal" FWD designs and history (but, I'm not inspired to make the change...)


hey, do a front wheel drive need a differential ?? 123xyz321 (talk) 03:32, 2 June 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Short answer: yes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mr Larrington (talkcontribs) 16:02, 25 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most Powerful FWD?[edit]

Impala SS (303hp) and the last-generation Seville STS (300hp)?

tali -04/01/09 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 4 January 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Front-wheel driven bikes are completely missing ![edit]

The first front-wheel driven vehicles were bikes like Penny-farthing. Various front-driven motorbikes are known; Megola, VéloSoleX etc. Newest technology offers direct-elektrodrives for bicycles and additional frontdrives for Motorized bicycles. None of them are mentioned in the article. See german wiki-article concerning front-driven bikes: [9] --Gruß Tom (talk) 00:44, 5 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

GM RWD Cars[edit]

I'm not sure if I totally agree with the statement "by the early 2000s, the Chevrolet Corvette was the only RWD car offered by Chevrolet until the introduction of the Sigma platform."

GM discontinued the B body in '96. The next year, the RWD Catera was introduced, which was produced up until 2001. The Sigma platform(Cadillac CTS, among others) was then introduced in 2002.

So, GM hasn't ever gone a model year without at least one RWD sedan —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 5 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Where is Trabant in history section?[edit]

Trabants are definitely front-wheel drive cars. The first one was introduced in 1955, which means it predates the mini. Trabant is no kei car, it is somewhat bigger than the mini. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:08, 19 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]