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Discussion Starter #2
Because it is superior to front wheel drive in all things, except accelerating on snow and ice, and AWD is considerably more expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you seriously expect to see a FWD Mercedes??? The reason FWD is on cheaper cars is just because of that, it's cheaper. By saying 'after all these years' that leads me to believe that you're coming from a technology standpoint of view, like FWD is more technologically advanced than RWD. That's wrong and borders on absurd.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Please explain!

Cheaper, hmmm, I can think of quite a few cheap rear wheel cars that I've owned in my life. There's got to be a little more to it than economics.<br> <br> I have a ML, which is great in the snow and I just bought a C230. Its the first rear wheel drive car that I've owned in over 25 years! Its also been about that long since I bought snow tires. As I watched most of the industry switch to front wheel drive and experienced the clear advantage that front wheel drive presents in snow and ice, I just assumed that it is better. Perhaps someone could explain to me exactly why and in what areas rear-wheel drive is better? I'm not looking to debate, I just want to understand why things are the way they are. It may help when I have to explain to my wife why I'm spending $1,000 on a set of show tires and wheeels. I've noticed the differnce in traction already, just pulling in and out of my crushed stone driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Please explain!

No debate.Just learning experience.<br> My car car stalled.Do I have to push<br> it or pull it on the side of the road?<br> When racing engineers design a racing cars,<br> they design,rear wheel drive.Best handling<br> cars out of the factory,are rear wheel drive.<br> Although,most of them are either rear or mid<br> engine design.Examples are:<br> Ferrari,NSX,Porsche,How about the F1 cars?<br> Chuck,Your guess is just as good as mine.<br>
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Re: Please explain!

Well front wheel drive cars do have somewhat of an advantage in snow and ice, but that's about it. Many front wheel drive cars have a front weight bias because everything is in the front therefore getting better traction in adverse weather. A reason I came up with why FWDs get better traction in snow, is because FWD are generally cars with less power!! Less power, less spinning, more traction. RWD with a bunch of power will break 'em right loose! :) <br>
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In normal conditions, rear wheel drive cars are better, for one, because if you accelerate, where does the weight shift? The back. Also, in front wheel drive cars, you get torque steer since you are getting power to the same wheels which you are steering with. So with rear wheel drive cars, the front and the back are splitting the work since one is steering and one is driving. Another reason, RWD cars usually have better front/back weight distribution since the motor/tranny/drive axle are spaced out and not all bunched up in one ball like a FWD. And in performance and handling, good weight distribution is key. <br>
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So, the point is, is that with everyday run-of-the-mill cars to get from A to B, front wheel drive is just fine and has advantages. But if you are buying a car for performance, driving just to drive, 'the experience' if you will, then RWD is the victor. Also, sorry for sounding condescending in my last post.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Re: Please explain!

The only two times I have owned front wheel drive cars (SAAB and AUDI) I was truly disappointed with EVERY aspect of the vehicle compared with a MERCECDES-BENZ. The cars themselves were just cheaply made. If you can't drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, and it doesn't have to be a new one, a front wheel drive GM car might be your best bet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Please explain!

I drive a C230 coupe and a ML320. There aren't very many cars that can compare to Mercedes, even the BMW and other Germany brands, in my opinion. I can get anything that GM builds well under invoice, and I will most likely never buy another GM. I sold my last GM back to them under the lemon law.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Re: Please explain!

Someone very knowledgeable once explained it this way, and it made sense.<br> High performance cars are always rear wheel drive, because front wheel only would put too much stress (weight and torque) where many other aspects of a car's physics are happening, e.g. steering and braking. From an engineering standpoint, there is a limit as to how much power can be transmitted to the front wheels, and still get the correct balance for all the other handling/braking/drivefunctions.<br> In all wheel drive cars, only a smaller % pf the power ever gets transmitted to the front (approx 30%). <br> I'd also have to say that if front wheel drive were truly superior, and if it caused no dramatic compromises, the high performance brands would certainly have done it by now.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
look at the American cars

All American 'Pony' cars are still RWD (I own a Mustang). In addition to all of the above, rear wheel drive gives you a capability to take the turns faster (follow the so called 'line' of sharp turns ) because you can bring your rear end around the turn much faster (that's why they are so bad in the snow).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Re: look at the American cars

Oh, and I forgot,,,,,,, under hard acceleration, all the car's weight is transferred to the rear wheels, meaning you want the power where the traction is. With the weight shifting to the rear wheels, and the power applied to the front, you'd literally be spinning your wheels.<br> Yeah, real wheel drive makes sense for a performance car,
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re: Please explain!

After all that has been said let me add my two cents. You can make a very fast FWD or AWD cars, the Acura Integra/RSX or the Nissan Skyline for example. It's just harder to do this well, harder than it is to make a rear wheel drive car. As has already been mentioned, the front to rear weight shift under hard acceleration gives a natural traction advantage to RWD cars, though this can be virtually eliminated through chassis setup (stiffen the rear and soften the front to counteract the weight shift), and by the fact that FWD cars have a front end weight bias. However this latter fact is another problem for FWD cars, namely weight distribution issues. Since FWD cars tend to have all the heavy mechanical mass up front, it's harder to achieve the ideal 50/50 front/rear weight balance, though not impossible. Somebody said torque steer was a tendency of FWD cars, but that's not always the case and powerful RWD cars will positively slide sideways under hard acceleration. I've seen Corvettes kick the backend 3 feet sideways off the line.<br>
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A bigger issue is driving style. FWD usually exhibit a tendency to oversteer, exacerbated by the fact that the direction the car will go when cornering is not intuitive for many drivers, esp. those comfortable with RWD cars. RWD cars tend to understeer, and will usually go where the nose is pointed if you step on it hard, as opposed to FWD which goes where the front wheels are pointed. This is a big plus since when you're cornering hard you can kick the back end out and rotate the car until you see where you want to go, then punch it. You don't have to worry about front tire position/angle nearly as much, or as early,as you would have to in a FWD car.<br>
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In the end, a well designed FWD car can achieve performance on par with an equally well designed RWD car, you'll maybe have to pay a little more for it. That aside most drivers with an interest in performance still prefer RWD.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Re: Please explain!

Thanks for the additional insight! I've driven some great FWD cars on the autobahn, so I know that it is possible to build a high performance vehicle which handles well as high speeds. This seems to be a sensitive subject for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: Please explain!

The most basic reason to separate steering and drive wheels is to avoid torque steer (amplification of influences on steering direction due to acceleration being applied to the same wheels).<br> <br> In general, it is probably good that most cars are front wheel drive, cause most drivers suck ass, and would be running into a million things with powerful rear wheel drive cars without traction control in any road condition except dry and clear.<br> <br> Also, front wheel drive makes better use of weight distribution on most cars since having the driving wheels underneath the front (where the engine and plenty of other heavy things are), gives you better traction on the driving wheels. This is very handy in the snow, and I'm sure I'm going to miss the safety and ease of driving in the snow with a front wheel drive car. Then again, I go to parking lots to get bent on a fresh snowfall so I shouldn't really complain anyways.<br> <br> Using a transaxle to carry driving power from the front engine to the rear wheels is a lossy endeavour... whenever you add more components to the chain, you're going to get loss of efficiency to friction, twist, and other things that mech engineers love to chat about over a coffee and bagel.<br> <br> So there are benefits and drawbacks to both front and rear wheel drive. So which is better is dependent on your priorities, tastes, conditions, etc.<br> <br> Hope this helps.<br> Ben
 
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