Front-wheel drive dominates today’s automotive landscape, powering everything from subcompact hatchbacks to full-size SUVs. However, it wasn’t always this way. Back in the day rear-wheel drive was king, but over the last 30-odd years carmakers have made a dramatic shift from back to front. Why the flip-flop? No, they weren’t impersonating John Kerry; in reality, they didn’t have a choice.
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The report states that the ELR has been dubbed a 2+2, meaning two small seats in the rear, similar to a Porsche 911. The Volt uses a t-shaped battery pack that is adapted for a front-drive layout, but a 2+2 configuration would allow for the battery pack to be mounted in such a way as to clear a driveshaft sending power to the rear wheels.
Rick Kranz, the author of the piece, suggests that rear seat room would be compromised, but the 2+2 layout of the coupe – plus the use of the rear-drive platform shared with the Cadillac ATS – would allow for Cadillac to justify a price premium over the Chevrolet Volt, something that new sheetmetal and an advanced infotainment system would not be able to achieve. If this report turns out to be accurate, then the ELR could be a game changer, as the first front-engine rear-drive electric car on the market.
[Source: Automotive News]
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While many have expressed their displeasure with Toyota‘s re-design of the FT-86 sports car, fans can rest easier knowing that the changes were made in the name of function rather than form.
According to Autocar, the biggest change comes from the A-pillars, which have been moved back a few inches to create a flatter windscreen. “We had feedback from drivers who felt that the angle of the A-pillars created a type of ‘tunnel vision’”, Akihiro Nagaya, Toyota’s design chief, told the magazine. “This could sometimes make the car hard to place on the road, particularly at higher speeds. The theory behind this car remains that of the ‘86’ [the original Corolla AE-86], which was easy and pure to drive, so we had to change it.”
Nagaya also noted that the car was anywhere from 50-70 percent accurate as to the final shape of the FT-86.
GALLERY: Toyota FT-86 II Concept
With the heaviest 2011 Ford Mustang nudging 4000lbs in curb weight, Ford knows that things have to change if their iconic pony car wants to meet upcoming fuel economy regulations.
Cutting weight and overall size will be the most expedient route, with lightweight materials coming into use throughout the vehicle. The Mustang is also a huge vehicle, and expected to shrink in size as well.
The Mustang is also rumored to get an independent rear suspension, after nearly 50 years of using an antiquated live-axle suspension. While the live-axle setup works well (as you’ll see in our upcoming GT500 review), the Mustang will likely move to an integrated rear-drive platform shared with the more advanced Ford Falcon, which utilizes an independent rear suspension. Finally, the legions of haters will be forced into silence about the Mustang’s rear suspension setup, and Ford will be able to continue the muscle car legacy well into the 21st century.
[Source: The Mustang News]
Today’s shocking bit of news comes from a Motor Trend article on the future of Cadillac. While discussing future plans for the big rear-drive Zeta platform, MT claimed that the next generation Holden Commodore would switch to the Epsilon II platform that currently underpins cars like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Lacrosse.
Performance versions of the Commodore, along with the premium-positioned Holden Statesman would retain their RWD layout, but mainstream Commodores would move to front-wheel drive, a move that would likely shock buyers of the full-size Aussie muscle barge.
Rumors have been flying for some time that the Ford Falcon is going to front-drive, so the decision might make business sense, but will surely disappoint legions of hoons who rely on the Commodore for burnouts and other thrills.
[Source: Motor Trend]