In automobile design, a rear-engine design layout places the engine at the rear of the vehicle. The center of gravity of the engine itself is behind the rear axle. This is not to be confused with the center of gravity of the whole vehicle, as an imbalance of such proportions would make it impossible to keep the front wheels on the ground.
- Packaging: since there is no need for a transmission tunnel, the floor can be flat.
- Rear traction: having the engine located over the driven wheels increases downward pressure, which is helpful for grip on loose surfaces, although can be prone to oversteer.
- Simplicity of manufacture: the engine is near the driven wheels, and the transmission can be merged with the differential to save space.
This layout was once popular in small, inexpensive cars and light commercial vehicles. Today most car makers have abandoned the layout although it does continue in some expensive cars, like the Porsche 911. It is also used in some racing car applications, low-floor buses, and microcars such as the Smart Fortwo. Some electric cars feature both rear and front engines, to drive all four wheels.
Notable rear-engined cars
- Alpine A110 and A310
- Benz Patent-Motorwagen
- BMW 600 and 700
- Chevrolet Corvair
- DMC DeLorean
- Dune buggies such as the Meyers Manx
- Fiat 500, 600, 850, 126 and 133
- FMR Tg500
- Hillman Imp
- Hino Contessa
- Mercedes-Benz 130/150/170H
- Mitsubishi i and iMiev
- NSU Prinz
- Porsche 356, 911 and 959
- Renault 4CV, Dauphine, Floride, Caravelle, R8, R10 and the 3rd generation Twingo
- Renault Alpine A106, A108, A110, A310 and GTA/A610
- SEAT 600, 850 and 133
- Simca 1000
- Škoda 1000/1100MB,MBX, 100/110, 110R, 105/120/125, 130/135/136, Garde, Rapid
- Smart Fortwo, Roadster and 2nd generation Smart Forfour
- Stout Scarab
- Subaru 360
- Suzuki Fronte 360, Fronte 71 and 72, Fronte Coupé, Fronte LC20, Fronte 7-S / SS10 / SS20 and Cervo SS20 / SC100
- Tata Nano, Tata Pixel and Tata Magic Iris
- Tatra 77, 87, 97, 600, 603, 613, 700
- Tucker Torpedo
- Volkswagen Beetle, type 3 'pontoon', Karmann Ghia and type 4 (411/412), as well as the VW Bus and type 181 'Thing'
- ZAZ Zaporozhets series.
- "1965 Chevrolet Corvair". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- "What Is Rear Engine Layout And Know How Is It Beneficial?". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Threewitt, Cherise. "10 Affordable Rear Engine Cars". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Wong, J. Y. (2008). Theory of Ground Vehicles. Hoboken NJ: Wiley. p. 560. ISBN 0-471-35461-9.
- Adams, Eric. "The Secrets of Electric Cars and Their Motors: It's Not All About the Battery, Folks". Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Golseth, Andrew. "Why Is The Chevrolet Corvair Such An Overlooked Classic?". Retrieved 16 March 2019.