The front vs mid engine debate, we all know that vehicles with the engine mounted at the front end is
the most commonly known configuration. In fact many persons, have never driven a car with the engine mounted
closer to the center of the vehicle.
A mid mounted engine is one that is mounted between the front and rear axles so the bulk of weight is
in the middle of the front and rear wheels. If the engine is behind the driver but over the rear axle then that
is rear mounted like the Porsche 911 and not a mid mounted engine. There are mid engines infront of the driver
like the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG. You would observe how long the front of the car is, the engine is in front of the
driver but behind the front axle.
The question is does the popularity of the front mounted engine means that it is better than the engines
mounted closer to the center of the car? The rear mid mounted engine will be used for the comparison as it is more
popular than the front mid mounted engine.
I will define the answers for the front vs mid engine debate as I split the explanation into two parts,
functionality and performance.
The front mounted engine is the better alternative.
The location of the engine is the advantage as it allows the preferred bodystyle to benefit from all the
functions such as passenger capabilities, cargo capabilities, or both. The engine and
transmission is in the compartment where the steering mechanisms are already housed so its like killing two birds
with one stone.
With most of the mechanical components in the front, the rest of the vehicle is free to assign to any function
that the manufacturer desires. I have also observed the front mounted engine is used for all of the drive layouts
such as two wheel drive vehicles and four wheel drive
Technological advances have made very high end luxury and performance vehicles with engines mounted in
the front so you can benefit from exceptional steering and handling and at the same time have your passenger
and cargo space.
The mid mounted engine is the better alternative.
This is where the functionality is removed to facilitate performance. I'm not saying that mid mounted engines
don't have their issues but for people who want a vehicle for straight out performance, buy a mid engine vehicle
such as the Ferrari 488 GTB.
The rear of an Audi R8 open and showing the engine
An engine in the center of the vehicle allows better weight distribution and a lower moment
of inertia. These cars will have a good center or gravity. That's why most
supercars have mid mounted engines, they don't need a second row of seats or
The unusual location of the engine can sometimes be attractive as most persons are accustomed to an engine
in the front under the bonnet. Its appealing to be passing by and see a powerhouse visible behind the driver's
seat. I have only seen mid mounted engines in roadsters and exotic coupes
as only one row of seats is required and mid engine cars are either rear wheel drive or all wheel drive.
I would say that the front engine is the better choice because there are front engine vehicles providing above
average qualities in both functionality and performance but where a front vs mid engine is concerned,once I could
afford it and I already have vehicles for functionality I will buy a mid engine car, no doubt about it.