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FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans



  • bdkinnhbdkinnh Posts: 292
    I know the SP that is in my car does not have any suspension tuning for performance but I know I could out-handle the 330i because of this experience.

    I guess it all depends on how you define out-handle ;)
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    I did not discover this article, but found it in another post. =10

    Basically, the AWD was faster than it's RWD only twin, in both dry and wet. Having driven an 05 G35x for the last 40K miles, I agree. This car offers room for 4 adults, rwd biased sports car like handling, and awd when you need it. :shades:
  • can not wait for road & track to do the same test for, bmw 335i vs 335xi sedans.
    just purchsed the xi, thinking (& hoping) bmw should get the same results.
    even if not, i'm totaly happy with my choice.

    hey mnrep2, seen the new g37? i like! :shades:
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I wouldn't be so quick to judge based on those tests.

    Just as many high power FWD vehicles MUST electronically limit engine torque on the low end or risk numerous accidents due to loss of directional control, so must, might, many high power RWD vehicles.

    The fact that VDC, yaw control, was switched off doesn't necessarily mean that traction control engine management was.

    Not by any means concluding that R/AWD wouldn't outperform a RWD vehicle, all other things being equal, just being my usual suspecious self.

    Absent wheelspin/slip on the RWD vehicle, or Trac derating of the engine, the results make no sense.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    Now I see, re-read the article...

    "hanging the tail out...."

    There WAS wheelspin, loss of traction, involved...

    Ignore my previous post.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "hanging the tail out" does not necessarily mean loss of traction. Done correctly it's called powered oversteer and is a very effective way of tossing a car around a race track.

    Best Regards,
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    Yea, Yea I saw the 07. It is obviously slicker than my 05X. But I still love my car, it is paid for so I'm in no rush to trade-up :shades:

    I just found that article very interesting about the fact that the AWD version was quicker in both wet and dry... Something I have felt about AWD vs. RWD all along.
  • me too! :)

    guess we won't be seeing each other in our RS6"s :cry:

    safe, fun & what you can afford, all wheel driving. :blush:
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..Done correctly..."

    It's simply INTENTIONAL loss of traction...!

    With pwered overstear the rear wheels will not move sideways absent so much DRIVE power being applied that there is not enough traction left for lateral "stability".
  • does any body understand why audi quattro, is banned from all racing circuits, except the few that they are still winning ( like the last 5 yrs american 24hr lemans & this years french lemans but know banned too)?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    It's only a matter of time when RWD will be history.

    You know, just when I thought we had almost agreed that RWD vs. AWD has a lot of subjective preference aspects to it, you make a (dumb [non-permissible content removed]) absolute statement like that. :confuse:

    Let me point out that the Nissan GT-R is a two seat so-called sports car that weighs a smidgeon under TWO TONS. It is a boatload closer in weight to our old Isuzu Trooper (only 500 lbs less) than it is to my former Honda S2000 (1,100 lbs more) or even a 911S (750 lbs more). Imagine a 900 pound male African Cape Buffalo in the passenger seat of a Ferrari 430 and that's what the GT-R is in weight.

    Let me also point out that Nissan is jumping up and down and Edmunds reviewers are drooling on their keyboards typing up reviews becasue the AWD GT-R posted a time that is supposedly a whopping 2 seconds faster around a 14 mile track than the AWD 911 Turbo. But they forget to mention that the GT-R is a second slower than the considerably less powerful RWD 911 GT3 and is a full seven seconds behind the new 911 GT2. Which is, essentially a lighter weight, sportier RWD version of the AWD 911 Turbo. Oops, forgot to mention that, Nissan and Edmunds.

    The Nissan GT-R proves nothing in my book. On paper, the 350Z performs neck and neck with the Honda S2000 and Boxster S. But it is also 400-500 lbs heavier than either and behind the wheel, feels like a bloated pig in comparison. Am I capable of posting an 8:40 time around The Ring or telling the difference between 1,2 or even 7 seconds in ultimate capability? Heck no. But I sure as hell can tell when I've got a Cape Buffalo in my passenger seat.

    So let's get back to some restrained diplomacy, shall we? I know YOU like the added security and traction of AWD and prefer it in all driving conditions. But if we EVER get to the point where the standard weight for a 2 seat sports car is TWO TONS, I want out.

    And, by the way, Happy New Year. Our automotive differences do not deter me in the least from wishing you and your family the very best in 2008. :)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    Habitat, I am not trying to prove anything by my absolute statements. The weight is the diminishing factor in this technology, no doubt. I assume that will be solved ultimately anyway. I, as you, can not take a GT3 around the 'ring at 10/10ths either.

    The point is that AWD is blossoming and rwd is waning. Which is better to YOU is understood and highly respected. I would assume RWD will be limited in scope in the next 20 years as the golf analogy you wittingly submitted shows the 18th green final put 1/10,000 of a millimeter closer to the cup.

    There is no argument to the superiority of RWD in the sporting sense and ditto with an MT. Pushed to the limit (unwittingly), however, takes years of training but add bad weather and an untrained driving public and it is a recipe for additional road fatalities (which are showing a positive downward trend no doubt due to the technology improvements).

    I wish you and yours much health, prosperity and happiness in the New Year as well. I do so enjoy and respect all of your phenomenal knowledge put forth in these forums.

    Now let me put my mind to decreasing the result of my Male African Cape Buffalo-like my holiday feasting! I do not want to add insult to injury in my already over-bloated 330xi.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "The point is that AWD is blossoming and rwd is waning."

    Hmmm, I beg to differ. While I don't have the numbers handy, there have been so many new RWD cars marketed here in the U.S. in the half decade or so that are either replacements of previous FWD models (think 300M to 300C for instance) or entirely new models from companies that previously did almost all FWD (think Lexus IS and Infiniti G and M for instance), that if anything, RWD is blossoming right along side of AWD. The only drive system that seems to be suffering in the moderate to high end market is FWD.

    Best Regards,
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    ...that if anything, RWD is blossoming right along side of AWD. The only drive system that seems to be suffering in the moderate to high end market is FWD.

    Shipo, 30 years ago, there were no all-wheel drive US made cars. Now the 300C has an AWD option, as does the CTS, Ford 500, MXZ, STS, Montego, Sebring, Charger, Magnum, Avenger, etc. I won't even go global because of the advancement proliferated long ago, particularly in Europe.

    My point is AWD is not going away and the desire is there in the market which is on the rise. 1978 saw the first US consumer application of FWD. FWD is slowly going away and I predict the same will happen to RWD in the average consumer models. Your point is true regarding the increase in RWD models as FWD dies out...I just think the mass market will choose AWD as time goes by.

    Happy New Year and best wishes to you and your family.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Wow, this sounds a lot like the "death of the manual transmission" predicions over in that other forum.

    Let's review. AWD costs, on the average $2,000 more than RWD (my guess - about that on a 3 series, $5,800 on a 911, less on others). It adds anywhere from 150 to 250+ pounds to the vehicle's weight. It dulls the handling, steering and overall dry weather performance of the more sporting versions of some cars. It doubles the number of moving drivetrain parts, increases maintenance costs, increases the potential for costly repairs. It decreases fuel economy at a time when CAFE standards have been raised.

    There is no doubt that some buyers strongly prefer the foul weather advantages of AWD. But if it was such a foregone conclusion that it will become the preferred choice, why the heck hasn't that happened with the Mercedes E class. The relative cost is low, given the price of the car. These aren't the most performance oriented sport sedans to begin with. The Mercedes 4-matic has been available on the E-class for at least 16+ years (a co-worker had a 1991 300E Sedan 4-matic). And yet, on the E-class, I believe the percentage of AWD to RWD sales is less than 25% and has remained relatively stable for the past several years. For other Mercedes models, the 4-matic option is even less popular.

    I actually heard a different prediction the other day on CNBC or Bloomberg business News (forget which). It was that we may end up seeing passenger vehicles go on a serious diet to get the weights down to help improve fuel efficiency to meet CAFE requirements. They pointed out that the average small to mid size car has gone from 2,400 lbs to nearly 3,400 lbs in the past 25 years. That does not bode well for AWD in areas that do not have enough snow to justify the additional weight and fuel penalty.

    P.S. Washington DC has a 6% sales tax on vehicles under 3,500 lbs and a 7% tax on vehicles over 3,500 lbs. At one time, it was jokingly called the "SUV penalty". Now a BMW 3 series can get hit with it.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    OK, remember, first, it's just a personal prediction. 2nd, ALL cars (especially mine) need to go on a weight watcher's campaign as you duly noted.

    Heck, the new base CTS is 3,500 lbs. with the 210 HP V-6 RWD. I know the AWD adds weight. So does all the air bags and gizmo options, sound insulation, etc.

    Let's see how they can reduce weight and add fuel efficiency...a 3-series with TT engine gets in the 20's at the 3,600 lb. mark with 300/300 power. Even your C2S gets economy-car efficiency equal to rust buckets of the '80's that weighed 2,400 lbs.

    Hopefully the metals technology can help.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's have some refreshments and continue this conversation here in the drawing room where we've all been herded. Help yourself to what's on the table over there in the corner. Enjoy! ;)
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Even your C2S gets economy-car efficiency equal to rust buckets of the '80's that weighed 2,400 lbs.

    Only according to the EPA sticker (18/25 in 2005). In reality, I can get 26-27 on the highway, but only average 13 +/- around town.

    Comparing my 3,000 lb Maxima SE (rated 22/27) and my 3,400+ lb Acura TL 6-speed (20/29), the TL also gets much worse around town (16 vs. 20+) when you have to start and stop that extra weight.

    And lastly, remember the old Civic CRX (?) from the early 1980's. They were small, but a buddy got one and I distinctly remember driving with him on a 350 mile trip and filling up with a hair over 6 gallons gallons at the end. He routinely got over 50 mpg on the highway in that car, better than today's hybrid Prius.

    I'm not advocating that we dump all of the safety and structural improvements of todays cars for the sake of getting a few more MPG. But, just like I'm personally feeling right now, carrying an extra 10% more weight on my frame doesn't help my performance. Back to hitting the pavement and gym after the holidays.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,250
    Back to hitting the pavement and gym after the holidays.

    I am with you! I am a little surprised at your city number on your C2S. I would have guessed 16-18.

    It is interesting that car companies have not conquered the added weight issue considering the new tech metals available vs. 30 years ago. At least the rust issue seems a success.

    If you look at the difference in the 3 and 1 series regarding weight, there is not much difference and there should be.

    The new M3 weighs in at 3,648 lbs.

    There is a lot of work to be done to get to my magic 3,000 lb. limit. Perhaps after the HorsePowerWars, we can start the WeightWatchersWars!

    Regards and Happy New Year!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    It should be:


    F/AWD for front torque biased AWD or AWD derived from a FWD based chasis.

    R/AWD for rear torque biased AWD or 4WD/4X4.

    What I see in the marketplace is more and more RWD vehicles being introduced and more and more FWD being "converted" to F/AWD to avoid the stigma now being (slowly) assigned by the buying public due to the patently UNSAFE nature of these BEASTS.

    No 4WD/4X4 driver with any level of experience whatsoever would dare leave the center diff'l locked once underway "at speed" on a snow or ice covered roadway. But basically that's what a FWD or F/AWD is, a 4WD/4X4 vehicle traveling down the ice or snow covered hwy with the center diff'l locked.

    The ideal drive system IMMHO would be one that provides equal torque to all four, or maybe even is a bit front torque biased, as long as directional control is not threatened nor directional control is being imposed by the driver. In that case the front torque biasing should be reduced incrementally as the lateral forces build.

    It looks to me as if the 4runner's (R)/AWD mode does exactly that.

    I wish the RX350 did the same.

    But I would willingly accept an RX with the SH-AWD (F/R/AWD..??) system.
This discussion has been closed.