Automobile Layout

The various Automobile Layout can be broadly classified into the below categories:

  • Front Wheel Drive Layout
  • Rear Wheel Drive Layout
  • Four Wheel Layout

The Front Wheel Drive Layout

This type of layout is popularly known as the FF layout. In this layout, only the front wheels of the vehicle are driven and the rear wheels are situated on a dead axle.

In the current market scenario, the FF’s are the most popular layout used in the automotive industry. Usually, the engine is mounted transversely on the driven shaft with the engine situated in front of the driven axle.

The Advantages of a Front Wheel Drive Layout are:

  • The FF layout is chosen primarily because of its compact packaging providing more volume for passengers and the cargo.
  • As the engine and the driven shaft is on the same side, the central tunnel is not required to accommodate the propeller shaft.
  • As there are fewer components required, the overall weight of the vehicle is reduced leading to increased performance during acceleration and braking. This also leads to better fuel economy and lower cost of production.
  • Rather than using the tunnel for the propeller shaft, which is obsolete in the FF layout, the tunnel can be used for housing the exhaust system to provide better ground clearance.
  • As the steered wheels are the one driven, the car attains a natural tendency to understeer. This makes the car easier to control the car on low traction surfaces like mud, snow, sand etcetera.
  • Also as the engine is located in front of the driven wheel, the center of mass of the vehicle shifts to the front improving the traction and the directional stability on low traction surfaces like mud, sand, etcetera.

The Disadvantages of a Front Wheel Drive Layout are:

  • For the vehicles possessing high horsepower, the understeering can become a noticeable problem. This problem is tackled using diver aids such as four-wheel drive system, active front suspension etcetera. The Audi Quattro system is one the most common system found in the current market scenario.
  • In an FF layout, the problem of Torque Steer occurs. *Torque Steer is the tendency of the vehicle to pull to the right or left during hard acceleration.
  • Only smaller displacement engines like the inline 4 cylinder or the VR6 engines are generally used as the space available is too cramped to install a larger displacement engine than a V8.
  • The FF layout makes heavy use of the front tires, even when compared to the wear caused to the rear wheels in a rear wheel drive layout.
  • Under heavy braking, as the already heavy front, causes the weight to transfer forward, this leads to decreased traction of the rear tires.
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