COTD: Brooks bothers edition

Common sense is a gift that often goes unappreciated, especially by people who don't give a shit. Those who deliver such wisdom passionately can sometimes let a detail slide, here and there. When that happens, expect some wiseass to step in.

Take, for example, when dal20402 delivered an impassioned plea for sanity in a mad room of rear-wheel-drive fanbois. And, go.


This is narrow thinking mixed with hysteria (can anyone here ever remember any proposal to "regulate away" RWD)?

VW, excluding Porsche, is just not positioned in a way that makes RWD useful to it.

Rear-drive doesn't make sense in any market segment in which VW (division) is currently participating. Small family hatch? No. Small and midsize volume family sedans? No. Small convertible cruiser? No. Minivan and crossovers? No. The only VW (division) product that even conceptually makes sense as RWD is the CC, and there is no RWD platform appropriate for it.

Audi is a brand that has made its reputation for 30 years on all-wheel-drive. It was the pioneer of sophisticated AWD systems in cars. All Audi products except the A3/S3 and the TT are engineered much like RWD cars, except with AWD systems added. They have longitudinal engines, decent weight distribution, and poor packaging, just like the RWD machines you love so much. But Audi selling RWD would be like Brooks Brothers selling jeans — it would defeat a central attribute of the brand.

Lamborghini and Bugatti are at a point on the performance spectrum where AWD is a legitimate performance enhancer because RWD cars just plain run out of grip. You can argue that an RWD Lamborghini might be more fun, but you can't argue it will turn in better numbers. It won't.

FWD has big advantages. It allows for vastly better packaging, with bigger and more comfortable interiors in smaller cars. It allows for cheaper powertrain engineering (these days). It's more predictable for unknowledgeable drivers. Most FWD cars, except for enthusiast-focused models, would be worse at their jobs if they were made RWD.

Likewise, AWD is a boon to those who drive daily on snowy hills. That's a lot of people in the north half of the country. Yes, snow tires are very helpful, but AWD and snow tires together are better yet, and people know it.

I think RWD has become, and will continue to be, a niche product for enthusiasts. Its advantages, unlike those of FWD and AWD, are not really relevant to anyone else.

Slow clap, dal20402. But as snapoversteer points out, oh just see for yourself.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter