The great drivetrain debate

I’d like to do a little article on drive-trains in vehicles.  I am not gonna choose any favorites(yes I am) but merely explain the reasons certain ones are better than others and give some pro’s and cons.

Starting off we got the most common bore fest of them all… Front Wheel Drive(FWD).  This is the most typical drivetrain for cheap practical vehicles and that’s about all it’s good for.  With front wheel drive, the car gets pulled around like a wagon making it very easy to keep going where you want it to at relatively civil speed. However, as soon as you try cornering at any fun speeds, you generally get this awful sense of no-control known as under steer.  This is essentially when you are trying to turn, your wheels are pointed where you want them to go, but rather than corner nicely, the car kind of just makes a shallow bend and slips forward through the turn a lot more than actually turning.  This has to be the most frustrating thing when it comes to vehicle control, as it is unpredictable sometimes and is worse in some cars than others.  Their is this saying I heard awhile back. It goes “Under steer scares the driver, Over steer scares the passengers”

Pros:

  • Cheaper
  • Practical
  • Easily controlled in normal situations and winter driving

Cons:

  • Terribly un-cool
  • Under steer
  • No fun

Now, we have got All Wheel Drive(AWD) this is in the middle of the two.  It is essentially what it sounds like, all wheels of the vehicle are receiving power from the engine.  AWD when done properly can be IMO better than RWD as it provides much better acceleration(Nissan GT-R) because of all 4 wheels delivering power and grip to the road surface.  However, if done improperly, can be a nightmare.  They can under steer just as bad or worse than FWD in some cases and can just feel clunky.  AWD is also very beneficial in the more northern climates where winter driving is an issue, like here in Canada.

Pros:

  • Acceleration
  • Awesome control when done properly
  • Pretty cool

Cons:

  • Can Under steer
  • Drifting is a bit trickier sometimes but not impossible.

Saving the best for last, we’ve got Rear Wheel Drive(RWD). RWD is the sportiest option generally. They have the highest tendency to kick out the back end when cornering, known as Over steer, which is also much more controllable than under steer assuming you don’t panic and you know what you are doing. RWD is the most commonly advertised drivetrain for sporty vehicles and rightfully so.  It is fast, fun, and skillful. RWD works by pushing the vehicle around from the back which makes it easy to understand why the back can get ahead of the car and before you know it, you’re facing the wrong way.  It is however, a pain in the ass in the winter sometimes.

Pros:

  • Sporty
  • Fun
  • “cool”
  • Sick drifts
  • skillful(good or bad depending on who you are. good for me)

Cons:

  • Winter
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My Thoughts on the Top Gear fiasco

I’m going to start off plain and simple, Top Gear was one of my favorite shows of all time, not only because it was about cars, but like many others would agree, it is the chemistry between Hammond, May, and Clarkson that just makes the show so great.  They are funny, witty, and when it comes to it, know that the hell they are talking about.

As people may know however, Clarkson is known for having a temper and saying things many find offensive.(IMO this is a dumb argument, if you don;t like it, don’t pay attention to it.)  The story leading to Clarkson being ‘sacked’ s an apparent dispute over something petty that lead to Clarkson striking his producer.  This is uncalled for of course, but BBC cutting Jeremy off just like that was not only a hastily made bad decision, it was also probably one of the worst business moves ever.  You are never gonna get any of those three doing a Top Gear styled show without each other and if BBC thought that they would let that fly, they really need a mental check.

Apparently Amazon has a new car show in production with the trio and while this may work out, I think it will be lacking something.  The fate of ‘The Stig’ is uncertain as well but I truly hope he is able to go to the new show as his segments are hilarious.

All we can do is wait and hope for the best really.

The new generation of Corvettes

I have never been a fan of corvettes, mostly because of their appearance.  They never struck me as an attractive car, especially from behind.  Sure they had a nice big engine under the hood but those circular tail lights always threw me off.  But now; the new generation of Corvettes, with the C7 Z06 changes them for me.  These cars truly catch the eye now.  They were always easily identifiable cars but not really in a good way (at least in my opinion) but the first time i saw it I didn’t really know what I was looking at.  When i was told that it was the new Corvette I had a little heart attack. It was beautiful.

corvette rear

Just look at that nice new rear end

Now, for all the numbers mumbo jumbo from the wonderful Wikipedia.

“The C7’s all-new LT1 6.2L Small Block V-8 engine develops 455 horsepower (339 kW) and 460 pound-feet (620 N·m) torque, which can accelerate the Corvette from 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds.”-Wikipedia

The Mclaren P1’s Rival: Porsche 918 Spyder

Now, in my previous post I stated that the Mclaren P1 was the truest supercar; and I do still believe that.  However, there is one car that stands up to the Mclaren and is a perfect contender in every way.  That is, the Porsche 918 Spyder.  And here is why.

 

“The Porsche 918 Spyder is a mid-engined plug-in hybrid sports car designed by Porsche. The Spyder is powered by a naturally-aspirated 4.6 litre V8 engine, developing 608 horsepower (453 kW), with two electric motors delivering an additional 279 horsepower (208 kW) for a combined output of 887 horsepower (661 kW). The 918 Spyder’s 6.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack delivers an all-electric range of 19 km (12 mi) underEPA‘s five-cycle tests.[1] The car has a top speed of around 340 km/h (210 mph).[3]” -Wikipedia

This car has almost every single feature the Mclaren does and vice versa.  Adaptive spoiler, electric motor and Engine hybrid and futuristic materials and technology.

However, at US$847,000 It is quite a bit cheaper than the Mclarens asking price of $1.35 Million.

These cars are true rivals.

A TRUE Supercar: Mclaren P1

The Mclaren P1 is what I would consider the most super car-ish of Super cars.  It combines the aesthetic of a futuristic super car with the performance and build quality you would expect for US$ 1,350,000.

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With the ability to hit 100km/h(60 mph) in a neck breaking 2.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 350km/h(217 mph) it truly is a ‘super car’.

 

“The P1 features a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine that is only similar to the mj 200 motor in its displacement.[8] The twin turbos boost the petrol motor at 2.4 bar to deliver 727 bhp (737 PS, 542 kW) and 531 lb ft (719 Nm) of torque at 7500 rpm, combined with an in-house developed electric motor producing 176 bhp (179 PS, 131 kW) and 192 lb ft (260 Nm). With both engine and motor, the P1 will have a total power and torque output of 903 bhp (916 PS, 673 kW) and 722 lb ft (978 Nm) of torque respectively. The electric motor can be deployed manually by the driver or left in automatic mode, whereby the car’s ECUs ‘torque fill’ the gaps in the petrol motor’s output, which is considered turbo lag. This gives the powertrain an effective powerband of almost 7000rpm.[9] The car is rear-wheel drive with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission by Graziano.”

-Wikipedia