Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout

Rear-wheel drive named after the Bosch Automotive Handbook of execution of the rear-wheel drive in motor vehicles, in which the entire drive unit is summarized (consisting of a rear engine, transmission and drive axle ) to or directly behind the rear axle. This construction is known as a tail engine block.

The concept of rear-wheel drive but also frequently equated inaccurately with rear wheel drive.


The formerly widespread standard construction ( engine and transmission for the occupants, rear-wheel drive ) requires the spatial separation of transmission and axle differential and by the power transmission via cardan shaft (which usually shows itself inside the car as a "tunnel" ) additional components and installation space. Due to the conflict of interest at cost, space and weight, the standard design for small cars is not or only partially suitable.

One possible solution is the combination of engine, transmission and drive axle to a compact drive unit. In the first half of the 20th century, this was mainly implemented as a rear-wheel drive, to bypass the design effort of a driven and steered front axle. This design is also referred to as a rear engine block.

From the 1970s, the front-wheel drive was the dominant power unit, the rear-wheel drive became a niche solution for sports cars (eg Porsche), small cars ( Smart) and large buses. In America, since the setting of the Chevrolet Corvair in 1969, who was notorious as a " tail spin ", no more rear-engine sedans. In Europe, developed and manufactured by the Czech car manufacturer Škoda ( with the Skoda Rapid to 1990 ) and Tatra ( with the Tatra 700 to 1999) sedans with rear engine.

The " fathers " of the rear-wheel drive were Hans Ledwinka and Ferdinand Porsche.

Pros and Cons

Besides the advantages of the rear-wheel drive rear-wheel drive offers other advantages over drive concepts with front engine:

  • Regardless of the loading condition and the dynamic axle load distribution of the vehicle has the drive axle a high axle load share and thus good traction on slippery roads or during heavy acceleration.
  • Compared to vehicles with front engine and rear-wheel drive, the passenger compartment is not narrowed by a transmission tunnel ( the vehicles are now much more common front-engine, front-wheel drive, however, have also no transmission tunnel on ).

Accordingly counter The following disadvantages compared to vehicles with front - or mid-engine:

  • The rear of the vehicle is partially or completely removed by the drive unit to complete and is thereby restricted or not for storage space available.
  • If it has to boot realized in the rear of the vehicle, the access to the trunk or the engine is either restricted, may also cause the motor near the trunk are strongly heated by the heat generated by the engine.
  • The front of the vehicle, the disadvantages of storage space does not compensate, because the available space is partially offset by the wheel arches ( which fail because of the steered front wheels larger than on the rear axle ), took the steering mechanism and the footwell for the driver and front passenger to complete.
  • The axle load distribution is very tail-heavy, with negative effects on stability and sensitivity to side winds. Measures to improve the driving stability are wider tires on the rear axle and a balanced axle load distribution example by placing the battery in the front of the vehicle.

Examples for cars with rear-wheel drive

  • BMW Isetta, 600, 700
  • Chevrolet Corvair
  • Fiat 126, 500 and 500 Puch
  • Fiat 600, Fiat 850, Fiat 133
  • Glass Goggomobil
  • Goliath pioneer
  • Hillman Imp
  • Mercedes -Benz 120/130/150/170H/175
  • NSU Prinz
  • Porsche 356, 911, GT2, GT3, 912, 959
  • Renault 4CV, Dauphine, Caravelle, R8, R10
  • Renault Alpine
  • Saporoshez (all models)
  • Simca 1000
  • Smart Fortwo
  • Various Skoda models from 1964 to 1990: 1000 MB, 100, 110 R, Rapid, 742
  • Tatra 77, 87, 97, 600, 603, 613, 700
  • Tucker Torpedo
  • KdF car, VW Type 82 ( Kubelwagen ), VW Beetle (Type 1 ) VW Bus (Type 2 or " Bulli " as T1, T2, T3), VW Type 147 ( " Fridolin " ), VW Type 3 ( 1500/1600) and VW Type 4 (411/412)

The Hanomag 2/10 PS ( army bread ) has no rear-wheel drive but a rear-wheel drive, as between the central engine and axle transmission means ( here: chain instead of propeller shaft ) installed and thus not the entire drive is combined into one unit ( rear wheel drive ).

Other drive options

Distinction according to motor position:

  • Front engine
  • Central engine
  • Rear engine

Distinction on drive axles:

  • Front-wheel drive
  • All-wheel drive
  • Rear-wheel drive

Distinction on the drive unit:

  • Front-wheel drive
  • Rear-wheel drive