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Thread: is good handling FWD possible ? which car and what specification ?

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Default is good handling FWD possible ? which car and what specification ?

    haven't owned any FWD "sports" car in a while, nor have I track a FWD 10/10th. with all the new FWD hot rod out. heard quite a few comment about how so and so FWD have good handling.....

    for RWD, basic recipe is simple:
    50/50 weight distribution (actually idea is like 40/60, but FWD will never come close ?)
    front mid engine or mid engine (is it possible for FWD car to have front mid engine ?)
    unequal control a-arm. (is Civic the only FWD car that has this ? why don't more FWD have it ?)

    related question: which FWD car has good handling, and why ? is it possible to have a good handling FWD car ? when we say "good", does it mean good for FWD, but still sucks for RWD standard ?

    how do you handle big power in FWD ? today's Camry and Accord are sub-6 seconds 0-60. can a sub 5 second FWD handle at all ?

    inquiring minds would like to know. thanks.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 05-22-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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    Kam
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    Define "good handling", because that's a largely subjective concept.

    A good handling car for you, may be too loose for me or vice-versa.
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    Kam
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    Beyond that, you don't WANT 50/50 weight distro for a FWD car... you want it around 60/40, front bias.
    The only real downside to FWD is the ability to put down a lot of power and steer it.

    How I miss my 220whp CRX =(
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    According to Dave Coleman, when he was writing for Sport Compact Car, this was the best handling FWD car he'd ever driven.

    1185712_10151674315459667_826306116_n.jpg


    For the street, it's fine. I call it my five-door Miata. It will understeer if you push it hard, but not in a pig-like way. I bet it could be made adequate for track days.

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    FWIW, I love my Focus ST for daily use. I think it could be a pretty cool track car too but to be honest I only have those thoughts when I'm incredibly bored.
    Do you understand?

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    Kam
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    Quote Originally Posted by ucfbrett View Post
    According to Dave Coleman, when he was writing for Sport Compact Car, this was the best handling FWD car he'd ever driven.

    Attachment 7294
    They are absolutely brilliant to drive... but better than an ITR or Mini Cooper? Tough to agree.
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    97-01 Prelude SH. It has a rudimentary torque vectoring differential, 4 corner double wishbone suspension, decent n/a power (195-200hp/156tq)



    Setting up a FWD car to handle well depends on the suspension geometry. Like you, I am curious about a lot of the 'hot hatches' coming out, but am disappointed when I read some of them use beam rear axles (Fiesta ST). In general terms, a lot of rear sway bar, stiff springs up front and judicious left-foot braking is pretty standard for hustling a FWD car.

    Torque steer is just something you have to live with or try to make it work in your favor. There are all sorts of methods manufacturers are using to minimize it, like brake assisted yaw/traction control, driveshaft geometry (equal length), and other items.

    I gave up on a FWD car when I realized the $2k+ budget I allowed for handling upgrades didn't measure against a stock 1.6 Miata.

    I still love a good hatchback, though.
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    Handling is how a car feels to drive. The only way a FWD car will not feel like ass is for it to be so underpowered and over ballasted in the rear that you can't tell that it's FWD.

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    There is a very well supported series here called Improved Production. In the under 2 L Civics were first and second last year.

    I know nothing about how you make them handle. Just can't get my mind around driving one hard, rwd for me.

    By the by mx5/miatas are excluded from that series as it has a 'minimum cabin volume' designed to keep certain sports cars out.

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    The Integra type-R is surprisingly quick. I got mine around 2sec slower than gt3 with a very basic set up that was daily driven. The only way i've found to make FWD feel "good" is to make them light weight with "big" tires (225) or more.

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    Sure, they can handle well in the sense that the vehicle feels lively, connected to the driver, and "fun." One vehicle that is purported to feel this way is the Mini Cooper S. The layout of the vehicle has little to do with it. It's about chassis tuning, suspension tuning, shifting feel, and steering wheel ratio/feedback. There are a lot of fast cars that feel numb (i.e. Hyundai Genesis, Mustang), and slow cars that feel like riding a blinding, yellow lightning bolt zipping along the sinful-thought-invoking curves of Jennifer Lawrence while Scarlet Johansson flips newly minted one-hundred dollar bills in your face to the soundtrack of Crank (MR2 Spyder).
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    My Mini Cooper S did surprisingly well... but the rear sway bar was so fricking stiff it would tripod going into shopping center driveways.
    In fact, it didn't require many aftermarket parts... a set of TSW springs, a TSM X-brace, and a rather stiff rear sway bar.

    I think the front sway bar was still stock.

    It dipped into the 1:50s at Laguna Seca... with 205/45/17 RE-01s on 17x7.5 wheels and about 200hp according to the dyno at Church's...

    And from what I've heard up from other Miata TT guys... the Mazdaspeed 3s are supposed to be incredible for FWD cars, but I haven't had a chance to take one around the track yet.

    Oh. And there's a guy in a Focus ST who has been out at Sears Point with me for the last two months.
    We basically swap positions on the track... and probably run comparable lap times (2:12s or so).

    Of course, he's still on the stock tires. Then again, I'm still on the stock 150k mile suspension on the Miata... soooooooo..
    Last edited by Schmoe Money; 05-22-2014 at 03:16 PM.

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    BTCC has some really good FWD/RWD battles.

    BTCC | Teams
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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    when you guys say so and so FWD car handles good. do you mean it handles well for a FWD ? or it handles say like a Miata, Boxster or a Vette ? or at least a BMW ?

    I hear Mazda 3, Focus ST and Mini. do they handle as well as a E30/E36 ? if better, better than a Miata ?

    handling also isn't all about lap time. ride is also important part of the equation. you can make a pickup turn high G on skidpad by throwing super stiff springs and wide tires on it, doesn't mean it handles.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 05-22-2014 at 04:03 PM.
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    I think both the Mini and the focus are McPherson fronts. Don't take this as anything personal but that's a terrible for FWD.

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Force McCocken View Post
    BTCC has some really good FWD/RWD battles.

    BTCC | Teams
    problem with racing, is rule often handicap a faster design. so any car can win as long it has enough handicap.
    an easy example would be NASA PT class, RWD is handicapped vs. a FWD (FWD allows a better hp/weight ratio). so even if FWD turns a faster time, it doesn't mean much really.
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 05-22-2014 at 03:59 PM.
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    Put it this way my ITR on had more grip than my NC Mx-5 with hoosiers and penskes. Now That's not to say it handled better just had more grip. It was harder to drive on the limit but what isn't compared to a MX-5?

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    The post below was intended to be a "quoted" response to Force M's "spot on" comment about the British Touring Car Championship series:

    ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________
    Very good example.

    As is Darin Nishimura's (the wizard at West End Alignment) Civic Hatch.

    e.g., 1'58" @ Buttonwillow:


    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v...type=2&theater
    Last edited by Loose Caboose; 05-22-2014 at 07:23 PM.

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    I have raced and tracked a bunch of FWD cars including a VW ITB car, a Mazdaspeed Protégé, Dodge Neon SRT-4 and a Mini Cooper S. The speed Protégé was a great handling car, even in stock form and the Mini Cooper S is a very good handling car, even exhibiting a bit of a rear wheel drive like feel (back end wants to rotate). Also, the front wheel drive cars I have driven tended to be lighter and we all know that weight is detrimental to handling.

    Having said that, I found the recent rear wheel drive cars I have tracked (2008 Nismo 350z and 2013 Boss Mustang) to be much more balanced and to have "better handling". As you can figure, the larger percentage of weight on the front wheels and the front wheels needing to turn and propel the car just makes it tougher to get great/balanced handling. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy going to the track with any type of car and have found the FWD cars still to be a lot of fun but I would say RWD is better handling setup.

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