Whenever a discussion happens about the best position to place a car engine you are going to have a couple of divergent opinions. However, there are number of factors to consider when deciding on which placement is the best. It all depends on what kind of drive you have, whether it is a front or rear 2 wheel drive or an altogether 4 wheel drive.
By far the most common occurring engine placement is the front mounted. Front mounting is a little more practical as you work more easily with roomier cabins and more passenger space. While a front-mounted engine can be optimized for some truly inspired driving they come at such a disadvantage that automakers leave them to the reserve of their low end models or leave them out completely. Rear-mounted engines are preferred more as they give off more performance and are used in high end sport cars and race cars. One particular problem with front-mounted engines is that they have to send their power all the way down the car’s full length to the rear wheels, which is such a huge waste. Another disadvantage front-mounted cars are prone to experiencing is they don’t have as much braking stability. Finally, the front-engine cars are also prone to suffering from understeer.
The mid placement is the least common as compared to the other two types of placements. It is considered to be the most optimal placement by some quarters of the motor industry. Placed in front of the rear axle they achieve level weight distribution, better center of gravity and traction. When weight is centered the wheels aren’t going to meander via coping with extra weight, as the weight is evenly distributed. However, these are not your common reasons to consider for your average driver, however on tight bends on race tracks they make a world of difference.
Where you usually find your boot is where you will often find a rear-mounted engine placed. Though not a super car the Volkswagen Beetle adopted this design and has remained with it throughout the years to date. However, unlike the Beetle the rear placement goes contrary to its biggest marketing ploy, “think small.” With this placement it’s all about thinking big. Placing your engine behind your rear axle is quite popular with sports car makers as it increases acceleration and breaking. You may query as to why acceleration increases when there is a need for a bigger push from behind. However, as all the weight is to the rear wheels this has the impact of giving of better tires’ traction. In general rear side vehicles tend to be a little much smaller than average passenger cars. With the size in mind you are sure to get better handling out of them. Rear mounted cars do have some disadvantages especially oversteering. However, this could be to your advantage depending on your driving style, especially if you love to drift.
Do you think this is a fair assessment on different engine placements or do you have a strong opinion? Please feel free to express yourself and leave a comment.
Also be sure to check a great article about this subject on Car and Driver.