All-Wheel Drive (AWD) layouts

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Audi quattro logo

All-Wheel Drive (AWD), Four-Wheel Drive, 4WD, 4×4:

Lanciaq delta 16v biasion

Note: in North America, Australia and New Zealand the term “four-wheel drive” usually refers only to drivetrains which are primarily two-wheel drive with a part-time four-wheel-drive capability, as typically found in pickup trucks and other off-road vehicles, while the term “all-wheel drive” is used to refer to full time four-wheel-drive systems found in performance cars and smaller car-based SUVs. This section uses the term four-wheel drive to refer to both.

Transfer lever 4wd gnangarra

Main article: Four-wheel drive

Most 4WD layouts are front-engined and are derivatives of earlier front-engined, two-wheel-drive designs. They fall into two major categories:

For a full explanation of 4WD engineering considerations, see the main article on four-wheel drive


Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) layouts

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RWD layouts

  • Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD):

    XR GT, from LFS.
    (Edited image)

Ford Mustang GT Burnout

The Ford Mustang uses the FR layout.

Rear-wheel drive (RWD) typically places the engine in the front of the vehicle and the driven wheels are located at the rear, a configuration known as front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout (FR layout). The front mid-engine, rear mid-engine and rear engine layouts are also used. This was the traditional automobile layout for most of the 20th century.[19] Nearly all motorcycles and bicycles use rear-wheel drive, either by driveshaft, chain, or belt, since the front wheel is turned for steering, and it would be very difficult and cumbersome to “bend” the drive mechanism around the turn of the front wheel. A relatively rare exception is with the ‘moving bottom bracket’ type of recumbent bicycle, where the entire drivetrain, including pedals and chain, pivot with the steering front wheel.


Mazda RX8, it has the FMR layout

Front-engine, Rear-Wheel Drive (FR):

Automotive diagrams 01 En

In automotive design, an FR, or Front-engine, Rear-wheel-drive layout is one where the engine is located at the front of the vehicle and driven wheels are located at the rear. This was the traditional automobile layout for most of the 20th century.[1] Modern designs typically use the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout (FF).

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Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) layouts.

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The XF GTI, with a FF layout, can perform a front-wheel spin, stopping the rear wheel with the hand brake or e-brake.

FWD overview:

  • Front-Wheel Drive (FWD):

Front drivers burnout

This car is doing a front wheel burnout, due to the FWD layout.

Front-wheel drive (FWD) is a form of engine/transmission layout used in motor vehicles, where the engine drives the front wheels only. Most modern front-wheel-drive vehicles feature a transverse engine, rather than the conventional longitudinal engine arrangement generally found in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

FF means “Front engine, Front-Wheel Drive”.

In automotive design, an FF, or Front-engine, Front-wheel-drive layout places both the internal combustion engine and driven roadwheels at the front of the vehicle.

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Automobile layouts

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Automobile layouts:

Car manufacturers often build vehicles with certain distinctive features, such as design style, engine type, target markets, etc.. Such characteristics are basically what distinguishes each from the other automaker.
Eventually each manufacturer and their philosophy evolve, adapting to markets and emerging trends along with the technology.
With this prologue, begins this article about the Automobile layouts most used, some traditionally used by certain manufacturers, others implemented due to the need to evolve in a competitive market.

Porsche 996 Jubimodell

Porsche is an excellent example of an automaker with strong traditions and adaptations to the markets.

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The Torque & Power Measurement

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Chassis dynamometer compact

Measuring the torque & power

You could find so many units to measure the power (and torque), because of this, this has to be brief. Starting with the Power:

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Measuring weight

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Measuring the weight or mass

The weight or mass of a car, generally could be expressed in two main units; the kilogram “kg” or the pound “lb”. You may find the weight expressed in “ton”/”metric tonne”, but don´t worry, here you will see how to convert between each unit.


The kilogram or kilogramme (SI symbol: kg), also known as the kilo, is the base unit of mass in the International System of Units and is defined as being equal to the mass of the International Prototype Kilogram (IPK), which is almost exactly equal to the mass of one liter of water. The avoirdupois (or international) pound, used in both the Imperial system and U.S. customary units, is defined as exactly 0.45359237 kg, making one kilogram approximately equal to 2.2046 avoirdupois pounds.

Vector-kilogram weight

After reading that, we have that 1 kg ≈ 2.2046 lb, so; to convert from kg to lb we just have to multiply the amount of kg by “2.2046”.


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Units of Speed

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Edited image of the UF GTR, from Live For Speed. (km/h)

Measuring Speed

Check here the Mph, the Km/h, and some variants as “m/s” which are used in some racing games.

Ford Mondeo MK3 ST220 - Speedometer

Speedometer, with mph (black) and km/h (red) units

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Units of measurement

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Often we have to see in articles from car magazines, video games, even in real cars, some kinds of measurement units that are different from the ones we are used to see. This could create some misunderstandings for example in top speed runs, where in some places the measurement unit is the mile per hour, but in others places, could be kilometers per hour. This is because the world used to have a few measurement systems, depending of the region, but actually nowadays, is intended to use just one system for all the regions in the world.

Non-Metric User

In red color, the nations that have not currently adopted the SI (international system of units) as their primary or sole system of measurement.

In racing video games is very common to find this kind of confusion. Some games come with a default system which can’t be changed,others games give you the option to change between systems(imperial or metric), and others allows you to choose the measurement unit of your wish in every aspect (if you want Mph or km/h for the speed, between kilograms (kg) or pounds (lb) for the (mass) weights, etc ). This kind of option should be at all the racing games over the world because allows the user to choose freely its favorite measurement unit.

If you are interested to know how to convert from a system to the other, you are in the right place, here you will find how to convert the most popular measurement units used in the automotive world (specially in racing games).

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