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Re: FWD VS RWD VS AWD??? Comparing apples and oran (archive)

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Posted by Chip on November 12, 1998 at 11:02:54:

In Reply to: FWD VS RWD VS AWD??? Comparing apples and oranges posted by Evolution on November 11, 1998 at 19:16:44:

My understanding is that the reason the VAST majority of race cars are RWD is because they are inherently better at getting the power through the wheels into the road (hence faster accelaration). This is because as a car accelerates, and the weight shifts rearward, you get bigger tire patches at the rear of the car and smaller patches up front. Hence, all else being equal, a RWD car has better traction when accelerating than will a FWD car, and can push the limit higher before the wheels start to spin than will FWD. In other words, the advantage of RWD isn't in the way it peforms on a skid pad, but rather how fast it can accelerate. Another factor favoring RWD cars in general is that they tend to have closer to 50/50 weight distribution front/rear than FWD cars, so tend to be better neutral handlers. Finally, while I don't have data to back this up, I believe it's true that the constant velocity joints of a FWD car are a bit less efficient at transmitting HP to the wheels than a standard RWD differential (this also hurts AWD cars).

Does any of this matter when you're choosing a daily driver as opposed to a race car? Frankly, I doubt it. More important considerations may be things like can it get through snow and ice. I drive my 328i on nice sunny days, but as soon as it starts to rain or snow I am much happier and more confident driving my wife's Audi Quattro AWD.

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