The Truth About Cars » Rear Wheel Drive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 23 May 2015 15:11:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Rear Wheel Drive http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Nissan IDx is Super-Dead, But Parts May Live On in FWD Platform http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nissan-idx-is-super-dead-but-parts-may-live-on-in-fwd-platform/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072786 Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx. That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z. While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview […]

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Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

Nobody at Nissan is talking about IDx.

That’s what we learned from Pierre Loing, Vice President of Product Planning for Nissan North America. But, there’s a chance certain styling elements could make their way to other products, or possibly even a front-wheel drive performance option below 370Z.

While at the 2016 Nissan Maxima media preview in Nashville, Tennessee, we had a chance to prod Loing on what could be the future of IDx considering its overwhelmingly positive reception in Tokyo and Detroit.

Nissan IDx Freeflow / IDx NISMO

“IDX is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in,” Loing said about the future of IDx as we saw it revealed in Tokyo.

The reality is auto manufacturers are finding it difficult – or impossible – to build a small, rear-wheel drive performance vehicle and make money. Either a current platform, like that of the 370Z, needs to be shrunk down, or a whole new platform needs to be engineered to serve one niche vehicle.

2016 Nissan 370Z NISMO

Unfortunately, at least for Nissan, the 370Z platform isn’t an option.

“Small, sporty cars are very attractive for consumers but not in huge numbers. To do them properly – in our case – you can’t rely on an existing rear-wheel drive platform, because its dimensions are for a much larger powertrain. So, for us, it would mean developing a different rear-wheel drive platform and then we are bumping into the same obstacles every other automaker has: the volumes of a small, sporty car are not enough to justify the investment,” said Loing.

With the current Z doing quite well, at least in the eyes of Nissan as top-dollar NISMO models make up nearly 20 percent of units sold, going down-market is going against the market. Also, based on Loing’s remarks about size, it doesn’t look like we will be getting a smaller Z car next time around.

But, since it was the IDx’s design garnering the most attention, could it transfer to something else?

“It wouldn’t be the same design because, of course, the proportions are based on a rear-wheel drive platform,” Loing explained. “But that kind of retro 510 inspired design was very well received in Japan and in the U.S. (when Nissan debuted in Tokyo and Detroit), and to some extent in Europe as well. So, yeah, that could be an option – among other ones, it could be an option.

“I think we may still have some room (to add a retro-inspired car). We have a wide lineup.”

And with the new Maxima pumping out 300 horsepower to the front wheels alone, a FWD performance compact is possible.

Renault Megane RS 275

“If you look at the Alliance, Renault has some extremely strong front-wheel drive cars that are very sporty; Megane RenaultSport, for example, holds the front-wheel drive record on the Nurburgring. So, yes, it is possible within the limitations of front-wheel drive today.”

But, is that something Nissan is considering? Loing held his cards close to his vest.

“You will have to come back in a few years to see if it has materialized or not. *laughs* But, we do show cars to test reactions all the time, so those reactions are included in the debate on future global products. Sometimes they will be the deciding factor to go one way or another. Sometimes they won’t.”

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Piston Slap: A Primer on Wheel Offset and Backspacing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-primer-wheel-offset-backspacing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/piston-slap-primer-wheel-offset-backspacing/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 13:26:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984898   Long-time TTAC Commentator 86er writes: Hi Sajeev, Could Piston Slap furnish me with a be-all/end-all explanation about wheel offsets? The more I try to read up on it on the web, the more confused I get. I’m pretty clear that RWD (at least traditionally) went with the low-offset while the FWD revolution made high […]

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Yum. (photo courtesy: www.crownvic.net)

 

Long-time TTAC Commentator 86er writes:

Hi Sajeev,

Could Piston Slap furnish me with a be-all/end-all explanation about wheel offsets? The more I try to read up on it on the web, the more confused I get. I’m pretty clear that RWD (at least traditionally) went with the low-offset while the FWD revolution made high positive offsets the industry standard, at least in passenger cars.

A few years back, I had purchased a set of winter tires on rims for my trusty ol’ 92 Vic and later after research found out that the rims were medium-offset that went on a 4×4 Ranger of similar years. I’ve heard that putting on a different-offset wheel can hurt steering/suspension parts like ball joints, but I’ve never seen it in black-and-white, so to speak.

Sajeev answers:

Let’s cover the basics of both wheel offset and backspacing: offset is the location of the mounting hub in relation to the center of the wheel’s barrel.  This mounting hub goes to flat surface where car’s suspension holds the wheel (i.e. the hub on the spindle).

http://www.fastcar.co.uk/

Image Courtesy: www.fastcar.co.uk

 

A positive offset pushes the wheel’s hub away from center, closer to the outside of the car. Negative offset is the opposite: sucking the wheel’s hub closer to the inside of the car. Zero offset means it’s smack dab in the center.

I question if the traditional FWD/RWD offset difference still holds water.  While FWD wheels often have a more positive offset than their RWD counterparts, all (most?) modern vehicles have flat faced wheels (for aerodynamics and countless suspension needs?) stemming from a more positive offset wheel. Need proof? Look at your own platform: peep the redesigned front clip and the mandated wheel redesign of the 2003+ Crown Vic.

CrownVicFrontSusp05_06_edited

(photo courtesy: http://www.ridetech.com)

Oh wait, the Crown Vic barely changed at all from 1979 to 2011.  It was such an antiquated pile: must remember to toe the autojourno line, never speak of Panther Love! But I digress…

In theory you should keep a close-to-factory offset to optimize steering geometry and wheel bearing health.  In practice, it might not matter: especially for a set of winter tires. You probably can’t drive aggressive/fast enough to care.  Probably…

There’s also the matter of torque steer on FWD machines, mostly for those with unequal length half-shafts. But most modern vehicles use equal length shafts?  (Have at that, B&B!)

You also need to consider backspacing. This ensures the width and offset of wheel you chose will clear your body or suspension, especially on cars with strut suspensions.  Instead of my usual ramble, I think this video really nails it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Akerson Confirms: Cadillac Will Build Large RWD Flagship, Just Not the Ciel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/akerson-confirms-cadillac-will-build-large-rwd-flagship-just-not-the-ciel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/akerson-confirms-cadillac-will-build-large-rwd-flagship-just-not-the-ciel/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 20:15:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496686 During a visit to USA Today‘s editorial offices, CEO Dan Akerson of General Motors clarified the question of a rear wheel drive Cadillac flagship.  Akerson confirmed that Cadillac is indeed working on a RWD based model that will likely slot in above Cadillac’s current top of the line XTS sedan and probably go on sale […]

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During a visit to USA Today‘s editorial offices, CEO Dan Akerson of General Motors clarified the question of a rear wheel drive Cadillac flagship.  Akerson confirmed that Cadillac is indeed working on a RWD based model that will likely slot in above Cadillac’s current top of the line XTS sedan and probably go on sale in 2015.

 

According to USA Today, that car will be “very loosely based” on the platform underpinning the new 2014 CTS, not a platform from GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden, which has supplied platforms for many recent RWD GM cars like the Camaro, the new Chevy police car and the Chevrolet SS. It will come in an AWD version, considered by many in the luxury field to be an essential feature to be able to sell cars north of the Mason-Dixon line. Though the XTS also comes in an AWD version, the new sedan is not likely to replace the biggest current Caddy. Though sometimes derided by enthusiasts, the XTS sells well, in this country and in China. In North America, GM sells about as many XTS models as it does with the CTS. Akerson made a point of saying that the new large sedan will not resemble recent Cadillac concept cars, making it clear without saying so that the Ciel is dead, as was reported recently. The flagship, along with other upcoming Cadillacs will, however, pick up styling cues from the Ciel and other concepts, as evident in the front end of the new CTS that features headlamps units that extend back along the ridge of the front fenders.

 

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CAR Magazine: Alfa Romeo to Go RWD Only http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/car-magazine-alfa-romeo-to-go-rwd-only/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/car-magazine-alfa-romeo-to-go-rwd-only/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496557 The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.   The new Alfa models will involve collaboration with fellow Fiat stablemate Maserati. According to CAR’s “insider” source, 2015 will see the introduction of a […]

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2014_alfa_romeo_4c_overseas_01-0216

The UK’s CAR magazine’s Georg Kacher is reporting that Alfa Romeo will be going exclusively to rear wheel drive models as it drops the Mito and Giulietta FWD hatchbacks around 2015.

 

The new Alfa models will involve collaboration with fellow Fiat stablemate Maserati. According to CAR’s “insider” source, 2015 will see the introduction of a Giulia sedan intended to compete with cars like the BMW 3 Series, with a larger Alfetta sedan following in 2016 to go up against the E Class and 5 Series cars. Those sedans will be followed in 2017 and 2018 with a compact competitor to BMW’s X1 and then a larger X3/Q5 competitor. The SUVs will based on the same modular platform as the sedan, developed with Maserati. Those cars will share showroom space with the recently introduced 4C midengine sports car and the upcoming roadster jointly developed with Mazda’s next MX-5. Both those cars are rear wheel drive. It’s apparently thought within Fiat that Alfa cannot compete with brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi without superior driving dynamics and that RWD is the way to achieve those dynamics. Look for ZF’s rapidly proliferating 8 speed transmission and a Maserati V6 in the new Alfas as well as hybrid versions. No word from CAR’s insider on whether or not Fiat owned Chrysler will have access to the same RWD platforms, though the larger Alfetta sedan would be the right size to underpin the next Chrysler 300.

 

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