We often read the term FF or FR or even MR and 4wd. But do we all know what it actually means.4wd is pretty straight forward.It means the vehicle is four wheel drive meaning power from the engine is transferred to all 4 wheels.But how about FF, Fr and MR.It is actually an abbreviation where the first letter denote the engine position and the second letter denote the wheel being driven by the engine. I will explain further on different types of drivetrain and the general characteristics.
First of all, the most used drivetrain in Malaysia or Japanese car is of course FF. For example, every proton has an FF layout. What does FF means? It is a short form for FRONT engine FRONT wheel drive.Which means the engine of the car is lacted at the front of the car and the wheel being driven by the engine is the front wheel.FF layout is best for small, light, and low powered sports cars.This layout avoids additional weight, increased transmission power loss, packaging problems of long drive shaft and longitudinal engines of FR vehicles.
FF handling characteristic.
An FF car will exhibit a understeer characteristic during corner. Meaning when u press the accelerator during a corner the car will tend to head outward form the turn.But it is the easiest layout to drive. Whenever the car understeer to much, one can always release the pedal and aplly a little pressure of brake.With an FF layout, the best way to tackle a corner is by using the slow in fast out method. This is can be done by braking before entering the corner and enter the turn as close to the inside of the corner and while halfway through the corner, we can press the accelerator and exits the corner as wide as possible.
The second most used layout is FR which means FRONT engine REAR wheel driven. This layout can be found on bigger and luxurious car. Example of car using FR layout is BMW, Mercedes, Avanza and Most Jeeps and Vans.With an FR layout, the engine is located at the Front of the car but the wheel being driven is the rear wheel.But weight and drivetrain is an issue for an FR layout car since a long shaft is needed to transfer power from the engine at the front to the wheel at the back.
FR handling characteristic
An FR car will exhibit an oversteer characteristic during corner.Meaning when u press the accelerator during a corner the car will tend to head inward of the turn and in some cases, even spin out.A high skill is needed to drive an FR layout car.An FR car is the best car to do drift with, notice that almost all drift car are FR such as the Nissan Silvia, and Toyota Corolla Ke70. The best way to take corner for an FR layout car is by using the fast in slow out method. Pro driver often will dodge the corner at high speed and initiate some drift or slide movement. The slide or drift will help to slow down the car.However extreme caution has to be taken when exiting the corner as too much throttle will cause the car to oversteer and spin out. But an FR car under the hand of a pro driver can be very fast as the car is very agile and manouvreable even during the corner.
And the third commonly used layout is 4wd or four wheel drive.4wd can be found in high performance sports car and also jeeps and trucks.Example of car using 4wd layout includes Nissan Skyline, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Honda CRV.Most 4wd car had their engine mounted at the front and power is supplied to all 4 tyres.Four wheel drive layout has the highest transmission lost but almost all the power and torque from the engine can be transferred to the ground which gives out a very high acceleration.
Four Wheel Drive handling characteristic
An 4wd car will exhibit a slight understeer during corner.The grip of an 4wd car is termendous but negotiating a corner with a 4wd machine can be quite challenging.Most pro driver will take the turn at very high speed and initiate some drift or slide while fully pressing the accelerator. The angle of the car is solely controlled by the steering, But a simple mistake can cause the car to understeer and continue sliding outward until the tyre grips are retained back.
And the last layout to be discussed here is MR which means MID engine REAR wheel driven.MR layout can be found in many very high performance sports car such as Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F430 and Lotus Elise.In an MR layout car, the engine is fitted at the back and the power is given to the rear wheel.
MR handling characteristic.
An MR car will handles similarly to an FR car but MR car will have more grip on the rear tyre hence it will tend to oversteer more during acceleration.Mr layout is one of the hardest to drive fast. However an MR car under a Pro driver will turn very fast.As the car is very agile and highly manouvreable during the corner. But a slight mistake will cause the car to spin out.