Talk:Automobile layout

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Merge proposal[edit]

It has been suggested that the advantages/disadvantages sections of front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive should be merged here. I think that would be a great idea. As it is we have much things duplicated, and we don't adress the issue of 4WD. // Liftarn

I agree. The advantages and disadvantages deal with layouts outside of the each specific layout, therefore this is a more general topic, and thus more appropriate here. —Mr Grim Reaper (Talk | contribs), 01:34, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
  • Support for the reasons cited. Leedeth 22:14, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done I merged rear-wheel drive into this article. Front-wheel drive is now just a chronology that needs to be cleaned up, at a minimum. My suggestion would be that the relevant portions of that article be written here (in prose, please) and then Front-wheel drive could be AfDed. ~~

FR layout[edit]

I think this should be merged here as well--BirgitteSB 17:15, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Agreed. Addhoc (talk) 17:15, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg Done. I hope this works for everyone, it looks much better to me. Livitup (talk) 15:22, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "hidden" :
    • {{cite web |url= |title=The Hidden Virtues of Front Wheel Drive |publisher=Saab Automobile}}
    • [ The Hidden Virtues of Front Wheel Drive]
  • "Milliken" :
    • {{cite book | last = William | first = Milliken | title = Race Car Vehicle Dynamics | year = 1995 | publisher = SAE International | isbn = 1560915269 | pages = 730 | chapter = Merits of Front-, Rear-, and Four-Wheel Drive | quote = Front-wheel drive has been most successful in the lower power/weight range and in sutuations in which superior derectional stability on low coefficients is important. There has never been a successful front-drive Grand Prix car nor a competitive Indianapolis car of more than 300 hp.}}

DumZiBoT (talk) 11:56, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Minor edit, but I still wonder...[edit]

"Robustness - due to geometry and packaging constraints, the CV joints attached to the wheel hub have a tendency to wear out much later than the universal joints typically used in front-wheel drive counterparts."

I think this is messed up, since FR cars use universal joints and FF use CV joints. I think it should go like this:

"Robustness - due to geometry and packaging constraints, the CV joints attached to the wheel hub have a tendency to wear out much sooner in front-drive wheels than the universal joints typically used in rear-wheel drive counterparts."

What do you people think? --MakE shout! 22:54, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Need for clarification[edit]

Could someone with knowledge in this area make it clear whether the power is going to a single front wheel or to both? In the references, a distinction is made for two-wheel drive. By implication, front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are not two-wheel drives, and the power is therefore going to one wheel. Is this correct? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:23, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Rear engine layout[edit]

What is the advantage of having the engine in the rear?--Shattered Wikiglass (talk) 12:33, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

More weight on the rear wheels for better traction and in the case of the Beetle, space.(Morcus (talk) 17:21, 3 August 2009 (UTC))

If it's rear of the rear axis (RR) then it's almost certainly space and economy (fewer parts like propshaft). It was the prefered configuration for small compacts until it was replaced by the FF configuration. Examples include the VW Beetle, Fiat 500, Fiat 126, Zaporozhets ZAZ-968, Tata Nano and so on. If the engine is in front of the rear axle (MR configuration) it is mostly done to get a better centre of gravity and is generally only used in sports cars. // Liftarn (talk)

Propose elaboration on applications of rear-wheel drive[edit]

While other sections include applications and uses of their respective configurations, the rear-wheel drive section gives no indication of motorsports applications, namely drag, wheelies, and drifting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Merge everything?[edit]

Would it be a feasible undertaking to merge all the layout articles into this one? As far as I can tell, the individual articles are all about 1 or 2 sections long, with few to zero references. They have "advantages and disadvantages" sections, most commonly by comparing to other types of layouts. There is thus a LOT of repetition between articles (similar layout being compared against each other across multiple articles). Inevitably the article ends with a loooooooong list of vehicles of that type, which only attracts more additions of the same. I propose they all be merged here, with a couple of paragraphs dedicated to each. The advantages and disadvantages of each layout can then be directly compared against the rest, all in the same central article. With enough effort we might end up with one article long enough and comprehensive enough to be worthy of Featured Article status, rather than the current morass of short-ish articles scattered about. Thoughts? Zunaid 15:58, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Support: sounds good, but I would keep the following articles: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive as "main articles" dealing with history, and major details. But please, trash articles like: front-engine, front-wheel drive layout and front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. OSX (talkcontributions) 17:12, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Rear-wheel drive redirects back here. Just discovered that now. We'll have to check if there is an older version in the history that can be used instead. Zunaid 12:54, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Support: merge everything. Talking about front-, rear- and mid-engine, as well as 4WD, you spend more than half of the time talking about the advantages, disadvantages and differences compared to other solutions. It would be more informative and save a lot of repetition to discuss it one article. Let's try to develop one and see how it goes. PrinceGloria (talk) 19:30, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Support: merge everything, put it in the sandbox of whoever does that, and link to it here and at WikiProject Automobiles so we can have a crack at perfecting it before the merge, in order to avoid any edit warring or controversy over any simple mistakes. – Kieran T (talk) 21:01, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Only problem I can foresee with a sandbox is that this article may be edited in the meantime, creating a nightmare of a history merge once we want to move the content back here. Unless we full protect it or put up a "don't edit this article" template? Zunaid 06:17, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
In the week or so that this will be happening, I don't think there will be too many changes. OSX (talkcontributions) 06:33, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Support: merge everything. As said above, they have too much in common to be separate articles. Stepho-wrs (talk) 09:03, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

It's not possible to merge them without dragging front-wheel drive into this article as well. I just started on the FF layout, and immediately got stuck, having to include basically all the characteristics of front-wheel drive cars into the FF layout section. FF is synonymous with front-wheel drive (unless you consider FMF a separate layout rather than a variation). Already we have rear-wheel drive redirecting to this article. That only leaves four-wheel drive as a stand-alone. We could burn that bridge once we get there, but for now I will carry on writing the article in the most natural way I can, and if it includes the entirety of the front-wheel drive article then so be it. Zunaid 06:23, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Help needed. This is a bit of hard going, getting through everything. Please pitch in to help. I've also been busy this past week so haven't had time to edit much. Zunaid 11:58, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

History and double redirects[edit]

Right, what about the history and redirects if a merge is done? Obviously the original articles have to stay and redirect to this one in order to be GFDL compliant, even though they are highly unlikely search terms. Should we rather do a history merge?

The remaining issue is then the sheer number of double redirects we would have. Without checking, I'm sure there are a staggering number of wikilinks to the "abbreviated" links such as FMR layout and its siblings. Does anyone know of a bot that we can request to fix these up? Zunaid 06:17, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Scratch that. Of course we'd only have to change half a dozen redirect targets to make everything work properly. Zunaid 06:27, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
There is a bot that will fix those. OSX (talkcontributions) 06:33, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
And see Wikipedia:How_to_fix_cut-and-paste_moves#Parallel_versions regarding history merges. – Kieran T (talk) 12:30, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Lead, "The most common type of automotive design layout is rear wheeldrive."[edit]

Duels with Automobile layout#Front wheel drive layouts, "The most popular layout used in cars today is the front-engine, front-wheel drive, with the engine in front of the front axle, driving the front wheels." This may be due to consumer trucks, commercial vehicles and motorcycle design layout being rear wheel drive. Regardless, it needs to have a source to sort this out. Ward20 (talk) 16:18, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

Wow, well spotted, that definitely needs sourcing. At the very least, "today" is misleading because it implies a change to this, whereas a change from it seems much more likely, although your point in distinguishing "cars" from "automotive" is significant. I'd say that it's such a major claim that it should come out altogether until a source is found, rather than just having the tag. Any objections to that? – Kieran T (talk) 16:34, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
That suggestion seems reasonable. It's now documented well on the talk page if whoever put it in wants to discuss the material. Ward20 (talk) 16:50, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

"steering feel" and "lift off oversteer"[edit]

Should "steering feel" and "lift off oversteer" be included in the tradeoffs between the different layouts? (talk) 00:00, 12 March 2011 (UTC) Phil 12/3/2011

Most definitely. Lift off oversteer only really happens in RWD vehicles with a large weight on the rear tyres (ie rear engine like the stereo-typical Porsche) but when it happens it can have bad results (ie spinning out of control). And I personally prefer the steering feel of RWD because I can effectively steer in long sweeping corners by the back wheels by giving it a small amount of power oversteer (make the rear wheels slip sideways a little by giving them a little more power than they can handle). When pushed to the limit, RWD will put a novice driver into trouble but will allow an experienced driver to get out of trouble.  Stepho  (talk) 02:24, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

AWD vs 4WD[edit]

The following was added to the article by . It seems like it should be discussed here first.  Stepho  talk  04:27, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

To Wiki Editors --Please read and re-write and add citations. All information is 100% correct.

The above is incorrect. There is 4x4 which is true 4WD and all tires put power down to the ground such as Jeeps and offroad trucks. In this case both differentials in the front and rear have a T-Lock forcing all of the wheels to spin simultaneously at the same speed. AWD which is what is used in rally racing by Mitsubishi, Subaru and various other companies including Porsche, Infiniti, Nissan and many more. On an AWD car the rear differential has a T-Lock and the front differential is open. What that means is it acctually only puts power down to three of the tires not all four which is a common misconception between AWD and 4WD. The reason high performance cars use AWD and not 4WD is because when you go into a turn at a high velocity, the inner wheels should spin at a slower speed than the outer wheels; if all of them were to spin at the same speed you would not be able to turn and would spin out. This is why 4x4 do not handle very well, they severly oversteer, and thats why all 4WD cars are selectable 4x4 or 2x4, where AWD cars are always AWD. AWD cars can only "bust a donut" in one direction, if you do it in the other direction it will only drive in a circle. This is why on a track the majority use rear wheel drive so that the car turns the same in both directions and AWD is used more for rally racing and offroad motorsports because more wheels put power to the ground offering better traction and grip; however it should not be attempted to go into a turn under heavy acceleration with an AWD car because depending on the direction turning you can loose control and spin out. Mudding use 4x4, Track RWD, Rainy Roads AWD or FWD, Rally and Drag AWD, because of the launch. AWD and 4x4 cars also loose more power to the ground because it has to be distributed to more areas. There are also two different veriations of RWD; example Stock V6 Mustange has one open rear differential, so only one of the back tires is putting power down, hence the famed horribly handling and why they spin out so much. The GT's and 500's have Posy Traction and a T-Lock which allows the differential to put power down to both wheels giving them an improvement on handling and far better launches. 10:06, 15 August 2011 UTC

I question many items above. For starters, not all Jeeps and offroad trucks have locking front and rear diff's. There are a great many variations of 4X4, 4wd, and AWD systems because of modern LSD's, lockers, and electronic traction control systems that distibute variable torque to the wheels. Recent reliable sources should be used to carefully describe this or it is going to be inaccurate. I support leaving this out until modern sources are provided. Ward20 (talk) 07:26, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
There is no evidence or good sourcing that the 4WD / AWD distinction has anything to do with the axle diffs. It depends instead on the transfer case. 4WD has a locked transfer case with a clutch to the front axle, giving selectable 2WD / 4WD. AWD is permanently engaged to both axles, through a differential. This differential may be fitted with a manual lock, or (increasingly commonly) an automatically acting viscous limiter or other for of torque splitting.
A handful of 4WD vehicles based on car chassis have used permanent FWD (rather than RWD) with selectable 4WD, but this is rare (and largely obsolete). For reasons of both better handling and easier operation, these car-derived chassis are more likely to use an automatic viscous coupling - early Audis are a good example. There's no "transfer case" as such - it's a FWD transaxle with an additional RWD output.
UK terminology is to use 4WD more loosely to describe either, only rarely to use the term AWD, and if distinction is needed, to use the terms "permanent 4WD" and "selectable 4WD".
Locking axle diffs are also very rare in the UK, compared to the US. Andy Dingley (talk) 10:21, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Audi details[edit]

Recent, User:MonkeyKingBar added some details about Audi cars, which I removed and he then restored. The details don't seem to help the article, explaining nothing about the FF layout except saying that Audi has some FF cars. Since the same thing can be said about many other manufacturers (eg Mini, Citroen in the distant past and almost all small cars in modern times), I can't see why Audi should be given a privileged status on this page. Thoughts?  Stepho  talk  21:58, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Audi has just been removed again, yet we really do need some Audi coverage here. They have a long tradition of an unusual and near-unique layout. Longitudinal engine in FWD, then achieving their Quattro AWD system without the usual centre differential by taking a FWD layout and adding a torque-limited RWD addition to it, using a viscous coupling. This gives a forward-biased AWD that is unusual amongst AWD and 4WD systems. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:47, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

Another source[edit]

As mentioned at there is a whitepaper on FWD vs RWD available at but it's in Swedish. If there is interest I can translate selected parts. // Liftarn (talk) 22:14, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

English readers will love the chapter on "Security at high speed" on page 3 - although it's a bit windy :) Unfortunately it's waaaay beyond my ability to translate more than a phrase here and there.  Stepho  talk  02:36, 30 December 2012 (UTC)


The article tells about car layouts but heavy vehicles are excluded – should they be included into this or do they need a separate article? --Gwafton (talk) 14:13, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Keep them separate, but they do need coverage. We haven't even explained 6×4 yet, there's a lot of work needed on truck-scale chassis layouts. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:09, 4 March 2014 (UTC)