July 30, 2013

Why rear-wheel drive is better?

Is real-wheel drive that much better than front-wheel or all-wheel drive for cars? Rear-wheel drive tends to be preferred option for drivers that want cars with powerful engines and handling, excellent balance, and durability for long distance driving. It's worth looking at some
of these strengths for rear wheel drive cars in more depth, as well as how they compare to front and all wheel drives, and what cars and marques particularly embody the best features of rear-wheel drive.

Rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive
The main advantage to rear-wheel drive over front-wheel drive comes through the former's better weight distribution; in rear-wheel drive cars, all four tires receive a balanced amount of pressure than front-wheel drive cars, where the strain is pushed onto the front tires. This means that tires for rear-wheel drive cars can be typically used for longer before wearing out. At the same time, rear-wheel drive cars tend to have stronger acceleration from behind, and benefit from equal weight distribution to produce strong levels of performance for handling and braking, with torque steering being easier to generate.

Where front-wheel drive cars have some advantage is in their lower costs, and in their better traction than rear-wheel drive cars when driving in slippery conditions and snow - rear-wheel drive cars can experience problems with sideways movement, although this problem can be aided through electronic traction control. It's also worth remembering that, despite being generally more suitable for slippery conditions, front-wheel drive cars are often more vulnerable to accidents due to their front weighting, and are more difficult to control on corners when driven at high speed.

Another option for drivers is all-wheel or four-wheel drive cars, although these tend to be more expensive than front- or rear-wheel designed vehicles - four-wheel drive cars can be changed to rear-wheel drive if you want to adjust for handling and power, while all-wheel drive is commonly used for off-road cars that need better grips. Added weight from all-wheel drive can, however, cause problems with fuel economy.

Rear-wheel drive is ideal if you want a car that has plenty of power, but still handles well in both high speed and cruising conditions. Perhaps the best example of rear-wheel drive as a choice for more powerful, premium cars is its use with BMWs - an emphasis is placed across Cooper BMW models on equal weight distribution, significant acceleration, and precise steering on the road. BMW spokesperson Friedrich Nitschke, discussing BMW's M-series, particularly notes that "our philosophy in regards to steering feel and precision is that rear-wheel drive is the best solution."

The popularity of rear-wheel drive for high quality, performance oriented cars and sports cars can also be seen across a wide range of different marques. Some other car brands that make rear-wheel drive the standard option for boosting power and performance include the Ford Mustang, the Jaguar XF, XJ, and XK series, the Lexus, the Lotus Elise, the Mercedes-Benz series, Porsche, and Rolls-Royce. In this way, rear-wheel drive is recommended if you want to invest in a car that's going to deliver significant power and control. 

- Emily Steves
Send your contribution as articles, reviews, test drives, etc. at
editor@wheelsology.com or news@wheelsology.com


Anonymous said...

I've only had a front wheel drive once, never again. Its rear wheel for me. Its a bit like comparing an automatic to a manual, no contest.

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