How much better is 4 wheel drive? - A2B
In terms of grip on pavement services just how much of difference does 4 wheel drive make. I'm refering to cars like Volvo and Audis ect...

Does it make a huge differnce as it seems they use more fuel.

Has anyone had experince of driving the same model with and without the 4 wheel drive? Is it worth it?
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - jc2
Yes;and the only difference was a total inability to spin the wheels on hard acceleration but it should have advantages for towing on poor surfaces but it will cost a fortune if repairs are needed.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - DP
In my opinion 4WD is completely pointless in the UK on anything with less than 200 bhp which doesn't get driven off road.

For high powered cars, or those that tow or drive regularly off road then yes, I can see the point.

Cheers
DP
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - DP
Sorry, this is based on driving the following cars:

Sapphire Cosworth 2wd and 4wd versions
mk2 Cavalier 2.0SRi and Li 4x4 (same engine in both cars)
Audi A4 1.9 TDI Quattro and FWD versions Quattro significantly slower, no noticeable benefit on road.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - SjB {P}
Yes.

Many V70s; front wheel drive, all wheel drive, and all wheel drive XC70

I much, much, prefer the front wheel drive V70. Sure, it's easily possible on the higher powered models to scrabble for grip, but with DSTC it's equally possible to do a storming getaway. My own 258bhp/444NM tuned 2.4T gets to 63 on the clock (60 actual) in just under six and a half seconds on the two occasions I've had a passenger time it. Not too shabby for a front wheel drive family wagon.

In rain and slippery winter conditions of course the AWD variants have a distinct advantage but I find them clunky and more cumbersome to drive. I strongly dislike X-Types for this reason too; lots of tranmission inertia in the ones I've driven. Others will come out in favour of 4WD, but I've never owned one in 25 years of driving and have yet to think "Humph. Wish I had 4WD", so on balance the simplicity of two wheel drive (I've owned both FWD and RWD cars) wins hands down.

I also have friends who have broken four wheel drive transmissions during "lively" driving. Why? Because there is so much grip that the transmission has to absorb all excess torque instead of spinning it away at the wheels.

So, each to their own, horses for courses, All Sorts to make liquorice, etc, but for me it's 2WD.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Sofa Spud
Many top-weight artics, which have six axles, make do with just one driven axle. Gross weight: 44 tones, drive-axle weight limit: 11 tonnes. So, 75% of weight on non-driven axles. If that's OK for heavy lorries, I'd say 4x4 is of little or no benefit on paved roads.

When I had my Land Rover 90, the only day in yonks that I was snowed in and needed the Landy instead of a normal car, it wouldn't start!!!!
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - bell boy
i had a suburu justy......it looks like the old shape suzuki swift and it was 1300cc with permanent 4x4 and what a cracking car ,you could not unstick it on its 155/70/13"s i would have kept it but you felt like you were on the floor like in a gokart a thoroughly enjoyable car i thought and it had multiple airbags........
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Andy P
If 4-wheel drive is better than 2-wheel drive, why do the vast majority of perfomance cars make do with just rear-wheel drive? There are no 4-wheel drive Ferraris, neither is the McLaren F1 or the McLaren SLR. None of the AMG Mercedes or BMW M-series use 4-wheel drive. Only the Porsche 911 (for obvious reasons) and Lamborghini use 4-wheel drive (for a much less obvious reason).

Top Gear compared the 2- and 4-wheel drive 911s and the conclusion was that the 2-wheel drive version was more nimble but the 4-wheel drive version was better at putting the power down.


How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Group B
There are no 4-wheel drive Ferraris, neither is the McLaren F1
or the McLaren SLR.


"Ferrari Builds a 4x4"

Was searching for something else and came across this: www.autocar.co.uk/news_article.asp?na_id=217390

;o)
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - ziggy
If 4-wheel drive is better than 2-wheel drive, why do the
vast majority of perfomance cars make do with just rear-wheel drive?
There are no 4-wheel drive Ferraris, neither is the McLaren F1
or the McLaren SLR. None of the AMG Mercedes or BMW
M-series use 4-wheel drive. Only the Porsche 911 (for obvious reasons)
and Lamborghini use 4-wheel drive (for a much less obvious reason).



4-wheel drive with a computer control will probably be fastest for a novice.

Rear-drive is fundamentally unstable. But like with fighter jets, unstable sometimes means faster.

Front drive is like a safety razor
Rear drive is like a cut throat razor






How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Bill Payer
I remember a comparison on Top Gear (or some other similar motoring program) a few yrs ago where they had members of the public drive the previous BMW 5 series 2 & 4 WD versions back to back on a handling course - they couldn't tell the difference, most who where in the 2WD version found it so good they thought they must be in the 4WD.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - peterb
With an A4 in typical weather conditions, you'd notice 4WD if you were doing something daft (like going 'round a roundabout several times) or driving fast on twisty road. Otherwise, it's just slower.

Personally I love RWD with the possiblity of getting the tail out very slightly at roundabouts!
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - DP
It's nice to have at least one end of a car gripping when you're pressing on, but 4wd cars have a tendency to let go at both ends at once. It happened on an Impreza Turbo I borrowed from work one evening. Kind of an understeer, oversteer, understeer, both at the same time within about 5 seconds.

That would have been a great car with the front driveshafts removed!! ;-)

How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Happy Blue!
Its as much to do with tyre grip for my Forester. The Geolander tyres are awful and I am looking forward to the day they wear out and I can justify a better make. As it stands, the only real difference 4WD makes to my driving is no wheel spin at all, ever; but the car can get out of control if moving too swiftly.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Group B
Would agree you only really see the benefit if you need extra traction, if you frequently drive on wet grass/ muddy fields, or you get a lot of snow in winter; or in the dry if your driving style regularly gets you close to the limit of your tyres' grip!

I used to have an Audi 80 quattro which in the wet would come into its own; pulling out at busy streaming-wet roundabouts you could nail it in 1st gear with 140bhp and it would not break traction, just go.
In the snow it was great too (I used to live 10 mins. away from the Peak District); one winter despite having worn 195-section summer tyres, it was amazing the amount of traction you could get and the hills it would go up. Once had a very memorable drive back from the RAC Rally at Clumber where it snowed and then the roads turned to sheet ice. Had to bear in mind though that you cannot defy the laws of physics and although it would go better in snow, it would not stop better!
The downside is you are carrying around the extra weight of the 4wd system, and you've got more mechanical bits requiring maintainance. For that particular car, 10 years ago, parts like rear brake calipers were unique and prices were high. In the end I had problems with the rear diff and couldn?t afford to get it sorted.
When I had the Audi I started thinking I wouldn?t be able to go back to a 2wd car; but I?m now on my fourth 2wd car since then. I think 4wd is not very necessary but can be great fun if you?re that way inclined.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - A2B
So Paying for a Quattro might not really be worth it for normal driving? Might as well get a normal 2 W/D instead.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - adverse camber
Well I like awd and would buy another. So far I have had a Porsche 964 C4, a subaru SVX and an Audi A4tdiQuattro.

One point I would make is that what you experience depends on the awd system fitted. A lot of current models use the haldex system which is a clutch driven system in which only 2 wheels are driven most of the time, the others only coming in when the system decides that its needed. These systems also often provide only a limited amount of power to the non-driven wheels. The early haldex also seem to be more fragile, S3 owners went through a lot of problems I recall. Although the old volvo full time system was fairly poor for reliability, all tyres to be kept at same spec replace all 4 if you suffer a puncture etc..

when porsche changed to a haldex (993?) the amount of power diverted to the front wheels dropped sustantially (from 30% to 10%?)

In driving a C2 and a C4 (not current models I should say) the C2 has better feel but the C4 is more useable in poor conditions.
There isnt a 2wd performance subaru so couldnt compare, but hard corners in the wet at silly speeds only ever gave controllable drift, never anything 'exciting' or worrying.
my A4 is the old full time torsen diff system and the handling performance is noticeable. For a while we had two identical A4's same engine&year, one 2wd one awd. Even swmbo who isnt a keen driver always prefered the quattro.

awd generally gives a worse turning circle (on the current v70 that would be quite something)
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - amarsys
Sorry coming to this a bit late, but want to agree with mark99 - if you are getting AWD then make sure it is a proper full time permanent system - i.e. the Audi torsen system or the Subaru (with manual gearbox) system. I have had various Subaru Legacys for the last 10 years. I would agree largely pointless for 99% of the year, but remarkable ability on the 2-3 days a year that it snows here, even on ordinary tyres. Going downhill in snow is also safer than with 2WD because the engine braking is spread over 4 wheels. We stick with Subaru because the cars are reliable and have plenty of space in the boot - the AWD is a nice bonus. I think the downside of AWD in a car (i.e. Subaru or Audi) is less of an issue than the downside of big SUV-style 4x4s (poorer fuel economy, high centre of gravity etc).
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - defender
amarsys there is no way I could agree with your fuel economy comments ,our last legacy which has just been sold averaged 28 mpg, the discoveries average 29mpg doing the same job and actually servicing and spares are much cheaper on the disco.
I am not having a go at you or subarus as I think they are great cars although they are getting to be bigger than they really need to be ,our first one was a mark 2 on a w reg (the old one) it had a 1.6 engine but still never got much more than 30 mpg although some of that maybe was that I was a bit younger and had a big right boot ,I agree about the engine braking over 4 wheels when its slippy though
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - madf
I think a 4wd is great for snow (us in ice) so of use say 5-10 days a year tops.
Rest of time it cannot be financially justified on any rigorous cost/benefit analysis. (but then so can few cars !)

As most of us see little snow, 4wd is more show than snowgo:-)
madf
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - nick
amarsys there is no way I could agree with your fuel
economy comments ,our last legacy which has just been sold
averaged 28 mpg, the discoveries average 29mpg doing the same job
and actually servicing and spares are much cheaper on the disco.

>>
I think comparing a Subaru and diesel Disco are like comparing chalk and cheese. It all depends what you want form a vehicle.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - legacylad
I have had 2 Legacy estates, plus one Impreza 5 door, all with standard 2 litre engines averaging 30/34 mpg. Great in the wet, and for getting up the NE facing hill where I live when there is any snow or ice around. They are bought primarily for their reliability, and I would prefer a FWD only version, but can live with the relatively poor mpg due to 4WD. As a compromise between a fine handling, capacious estate and a SUV they have no peers.
Fabulous 2nd hand buys (private)at 4 years old.
With only 112bhp you do not need prodigious amounts of bhp to get the most from 4WD.




How much better is 4 wheel drive? - IanJohnson
Many years ago (20+) that venerable magazine MOTOR included an article where they examined this very question and one of the comparisons they used was 2/4 wheel drive escorts.

Their test included seeing how fast you could drive around a circle of a set size before losing grip - there were others but this is the one I remember.

Their conclusion was that 4wd gave NO benefit in terms of handling and cornering but did give a benefit in terms of traction.

4WD systems have improved but the laws of physics have not changed and for a given weigh and coefficient of friction any force put into traction reduces the force the tyre can apply to change direction (friction force is coefficient of friction multiplied by the reaction force) and this is why the supercars gebnerally stick to 2WD.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - A2B
OK most views say no better than 2 /WD.

Is the Audi Quattro just a lot of hype and good marketing? Is the new Subaru Tourer a bit pointless?

Would anyone NOT choose an equivilant 2/WD instead?
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - bignick
4WD is great for applications that require getting the maximum power down on the road - i.e either rallying/performance cars (the ur-Quattro being the classic example) or vehicles intended for adverse terrain (Land Rover)

Unless you have a specific requirement for one or the other then 4wd is just a lot of extra complication/weight for little discernible benefit.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - nick
Unless you have a specific requirement for one or the other
then 4wd is just a lot of extra complication/weight for little
discernible benefit.

I can't speak for other makes but the Subaru sysyem is simple and not much heavier. Also very reliable. I find the Legacy feels more sure-footed than, say, a Mondeo or Vectra.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - tyro
Out of idle curiousity, what about something like a Nissan X-Trail?

How is the 2WD compared with the 4WD to drive?
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - defender
when 4wd engagement was manual on subaru cars for example and the diff lock on discoveries was manual a very common problem was the operating lever would seize due to lack of use and steel rod through alloy case didnt help but it shows that many 4wd vehicles were not needed as such and could easily have been 2 wd
any others come across thios problem?
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - Group B
the diff lock on discoveries was manual a
very common problem was the operating lever would seize due to
lack of use...


When I had my Audi I think I only used the diff locks half a dozen times in 2 years. The final time I needed it, (when a nearside front wishbone snapped on my way home from work) I thought the rear diff lock wasnt working because the light didnt come on; but it did work and allowed me to drive the car out of the way of rush hour traffic with the front wheel hanging off.

It used to surprise me that Defenders only had a centre diff lock as standard; my Audi had the early pre-Torsen system with pneumatic centre and rear diff locks. I once saw a 110 have an embarassing loss of traction on a very slight wet grass incline in front of a crowd of rally spectators; but that was probably the driver at fault not the vehicle.

This is making me nostalgic, I'm going to see if there are any old S2 coupes or S4's on Autotrader!

:o)
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - neil
I found, with the Legacy, that on poor, slippery surfaces it tended to act like a hovercraft - both ends breaking loose at the same time and the car gliding serely sideways towards the ditch... not hugely impressive!

N
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - nick
I found, with the Legacy, that on poor, slippery surfaces it
tended to act like a hovercraft - both ends breaking loose
at the same time and the car gliding serely sideways towards
the ditch... not hugely impressive!


Never experienced that, but maybe I drive slower on ice. That would happen at a point long after you would have disappeared into the scenery either forwards or backwards in a fwd or rwd car. The one thing everyone (nearly) seems to agree on is that there is better grip/traction with 4wd as the power or engine braking is spread over all four wheels.
How much better is 4 wheel drive? - barchettaman
Just out of interest, why did the VAG group go with 4WD for the current generation of Lamborghinis?
 

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