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Thread: The AWD Myth

  1. #1
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    Default The AWD Myth

    I've seen it on this forum about one million times: "AWD handles better than RWD"

    That couldn't be farther from the truth.

    AWD is great in wet, and good on a launch, but that is the only advantages over RWD.

    RWD handles far better, launches nearly as well, doesn't suffer nearly as much drivetrain loss (drivetrain loss on an Audi S4, Lancer Evolution, or WRX STI is about 24%!) and does much better on the top end, as well as generally weighing less than the same AWD car.

    Let me quickly explain it.

    When it comes to handling, you do not want to be glued to the track like a car on rails, you want to be able slide to some extent. I'm not talking about drifting but rather controlled sliding. In a FWD or AWD drive car, when you come into a turn if the car understeers (and on sharp turns it almost always will), you have to brake to correct yourself from going into a wall or off the course, this is bad. In a RWD car you can increase the throttle and induce a slight amount of oversteer and correct yourself without losing as much speed as braking. This is good.

    A good driver in RWD car will absolutely dominate a good driver in AWD car on an Autocross track. Some WRX owners are actually converting there cars into RWD drive cars for this purpose.

    On the top end in an AWD car, if one of the axles is driving faster than the other, one is actually pulling, or pushing, the other axle. This is bad because it means in reality only one axle is applying power, and having it literally drag the other axle along. Even an extremely small variance between the axles will cause this, and it will happen to every AWD car, as nothing in this world is exactly equal.

    On the other hand, the front axle of a RWD car is being pushed by the rear, this is ok though, because the front axle isn't trying to apply power, and doesn't have a certain speed at which it wants to operate at.

    Drivetrain loss is fairly self explanatory, an AWD car has to power all four wheels, this comes out to about 24% drivetrain loss for many AWD cars.

    Thus an AWD car that makes 450 HP at the crank, will make 342 at the wheels.

    A RWD car suffers about 17% drivetrain loss, so an RWD car that makes 450 hp at the crank, will make 391 at the wheels. A difference of almost 50 hp.

    Thus a comparison a lot of people like to make, including many magazines is that a WRX STI is fast enough to keep up with a BMW M3.

    This is a lesson I've seen hard learned at the drag strip. A bad run (and most of the BMW owners aren't very experienced) with M3 usually results in about a 13.3 run. A bad run with the STI is a 14.0 second run, and a good run, 13.5. The difference is mostly in the drivetrain loss (as well as the powerband differences).

  2. #2
    Speed Demon
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    Got another thing against AWDS : How can you do a burnout with this????

  3. #3
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    wow get Testicle.err technical on us......

    Nice info..........

    Are not most autocross runs relatively low speed, as opposed to a road course?

    At low speed I would think AWD would be better potentially??

    But then again its late and I may be thinking of water polo.

    have fun

  4. #4
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    I'm looking into buying my wife a RWD car, the only problem is we live in Cleveland... we get lots and lots of snow. I've seen rwd cars all over the road....

    I drive an AWD, and am very very happy with it in winter, but I agree with you there is no question RWD handles better.

  5. #5
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    F1, Cart, Nascar... all RWD

    ony AWD are when they go on gravel or snow or what not, rally.....

  6. #6
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    Just to stir the pot....

    The only true racing is Rally. Although I can appreciate F1 for the machinery.

    Nascar, just doesn't do it for me.

    A bunch of jerkoffs riding in circles for hours on end... woohooo

  7. #7
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    I really like road rallies, where a bunch of hopped-up somewhat-close-to stock cars run around these little barely paved roads in the French Alps or something, when a car comes to a checkpoint and the whole front end/windshield is all busted, "what happened" "oh we hit a cow on the way over", or the cars come in with 3 wheels or something...

    I'd like to run my Firebird in the Targa Newfoundland sometime after I get it running again...

  8. #8
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    I think you miss something here... AWD is much easier to get good times out of.

    Now, I'm not talking about some pro racer... I'm talking about the average joe who does some street racing and perhaps the occassional track driving.

    My friend demonstrated this to me in his WRX STi. We were mid corner, and to show me the power and sofistication of his AWD, he stomped on the gas, then on the brakes. The car did NOT spin or lose control, which would have almost guaranteed to have happened with RWD.

    You can also go into corners at insane speeds, and the AWD will maintain traction without any spinning. And the Lancer EVO 9's updated AWD will ALLOW a small degree of drifting at the rear, so you can get the tail out slightly to make a better/tighter corner, thus helping to eliminate understeer.

    Overall, true... a pro racer on a track will most likely do better with a RWD due to less drivetrain loss and ultimate control over everything. But keep in mind... pro racers also don't like ABS and no power steering (or very little) to get complete "feel" of the road surface... ask yourself this... are YOU like that? Are YOU that pro?

    I personally drive a Honda S2000, no traction control or anything except basic ABS, and I can tell you i DO wish this car had AWD or better traction control systems.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvr2fast
    I think you miss something here... AWD is much easier to get good times out of.

    Now, I'm not talking about some pro racer... I'm talking about the average joe who does some street racing and perhaps the occassional track driving.
    You are absolutely correct, I was thinking the same thing in the shower this morning, I should have put that here.

    For the average driver, AWD or FWD is best, and RWD is worst, especially since it is human nature to turn the wheel in the direction of the oversteer when you are oversteering. This causes you to spin out. You have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction, but only a certain amount, too much and you spin.

    It certainly isn't easy.

    However, if you can control a RWD car (I've never owned one, my next car will be) you will indeed dominate a AWD car, but it takes a lot of energy and thinking, whereas a AWD car wouldn't take a much, if you begin to understeer, apply brakes, and go.

    Quote Originally Posted by A 2000 SS in Jersey
    At low speed I would think AWD would be better potentially??
    On dry roads, AWD offers very little advantage over RWD during initial acceleration, where most of the wieght shifts to the rear, so having the front wheels pulling isn't that much more advantageous, but ever bit does help. This is most likely than offset by the drivetrain loss and extra wieght of an AWD system.

    The best part about AWD is the traction for acceleration, so that's why it is so good off road, if one wheel slips, the others back it up. AWD can accelerate better in snow or mud, but one common misconception is it handles better in snow, which is often not the case, or that it helps braking in snow, which is never the case.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fallen8511
    Quote Originally Posted by nvr2fast
    I think you miss something here... AWD is much easier to get good times out of.

    Now, I'm not talking about some pro racer... I'm talking about the average joe who does some street racing and perhaps the occassional track driving.
    You are absolutely correct, I was thinking the same thing in the shower this morning, I should have put that here.

    For the average driver, AWD or FWD is best, and RWD is worst, especially since it is human nature to turn the wheel in the direction of the oversteer when you are oversteering. This causes you to spin out. You have to turn the wheel in the opposite direction, but only a certain amount, too much and you spin.

    It certainly isn't easy.

    However, if you can control a RWD car (I've never owned one, my next car will be) you will indeed dominate a AWD car, but it takes a lot of energy and thinking, whereas a AWD car wouldn't take a much, if you begin to understeer, apply brakes, and go.

    Quote Originally Posted by A 2000 SS in Jersey
    At low speed I would think AWD would be better potentially??
    On dry roads, AWD offers very little advantage over RWD during initial acceleration, where most of the wieght shifts to the rear, so having the front wheels pulling isn't that much more advantageous, but ever bit does help. This is most likely than offset by the drivetrain loss and extra wieght of an AWD system.

    The best part about AWD is the traction for acceleration, so that's why it is so good off road, if one wheel slips, the others back it up. AWD can accelerate better in snow or mud, but one common misconception is it handles better in snow, which is often not the case, or that it helps braking in snow, which is never the case.
    On dry roads, AWD offers very little advantage over RWD during initial acceleration, where most of the wieght shifts to the rear, so having the front wheels pulling isn't that much more advantageous

    This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard now everyone's entitled too their own opnions but this is just dumb!! I borrowed a clip from zo6vette to show the advantage!!! of awd, this is a low 13 second DSM eclipse which is probably around the 300 or less hp mark compared to a newer lingenfelter vette running huge!! power as you'll see in the vid while rolling the vette easilly takes the eclipse however from a dead stop the eclipse hands the vette it's azz!!


    http://www.williamyoungblood.com/Vid...%20Import.mpeg

 

 

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