RWD is the general term used for rear-wheel drive systems on all makes of passenger and commercial vehicles. It means that the engine torque is transferred to the rear wheels. This type of drivetrain was widely used in the 20th century. Nowadays, RWD is becoming less common. As a rule, sports cars with powerful engines, such as the Dodge Challenger and Charger, Chevrolet SS, Chrysler 300, Subaru BRZ, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and Mazda MX-5, among others, are equipped with it.
How RWD works
In most rear-wheel-drive cars, the engine and transmission are mounted in the front. The engine torque is transferred via the propeller shaft to the rear axle final drive, and from the final drive to the wheel differential. The final drive increases the torque supplied from the engine. The differential distributes it between the drive wheels. The front axle is not coupled with the transmission.
There are other types of layout available. For instance, the engine can be mounted in the front of the car, while the transmission is then mounted in the same housing as the rear axle final drive. The propeller shaft is used to transfer the torque from the engine to the transmission. On some vehicles, the engine is mounted in the rear and housed with the transmission and the final drive in one unit.
Types and features of RWD
|RWD layout||Engine location||Transmission location||Advantages||Disadvantages||Cars with rear-wheel drive|
|Front||In front of or above the axle||In the front, less often in the rear|| || ||Alfa Romeo Stelvio 949, Spider 939; Cadillac CTS A1LL; Chevrolet Corvette С7; Aston Martin Vantage Volante; Audi 100 Coupé S C1 F104.|
|Mid||Behind the axle|| || ||Mazda RX-7 FD; Dodge Viper SRT-10; Daihatsu Hijet S85, S200; BMW Z8 E52; Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Portofino; Lexus LFA; Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren R199; Lotus Seven.|
|Mid||In front of the axle||In the rear|| || ||De Tomaso Pantera; Ford GT; Ferrari Enzo; Toyota MR2; Porsche Carrera GT 980, Boxster 987, 981, Cayman 987, 981; Jaguar XJ220 Х27.|
|Rear||Behind the axle|| || ||Renault Twingo CNO, BCM; Smart Fortwo 451, 453, City Coupe 450; Porsche 911 997; Tesla Model S 5YJS.|