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      01-15-2013, 10:39 AM   #115

Drives: 2013 M3
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Vero Beach, FL

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Originally Posted by tmurphy2 View Post
Is it really that much cheaper to make it a FWD?
Yes, absolutely.

Steel isn't cheap, and components like drive shafts and drive axles use a lot of it. There are also a lot of packaging constraints that FWD solves, making the car less expensive. You can use less metal in the construction of the chassis when building a FWD car. Straight lines are shorter than curved lines when measured along the contour, so the "hump" required to accommodate the drive shaft actually has a measurable impact on the amount of steel used. You can also make a FWD more compact (dimensionally) because the rear axle and suspension doesn't need to accommodate a differential. Also, the engine is oriented transversely, which allows you to make the car shorter.

The trouble is that all these packaging advantages trade off in two areas:

1) Front/rear weight balance

2) Engine position in relation to the front axle

It's impossible to achieve near 50/50 weight balance in a FWD car, and even if you do, the polar moment of inertia is going to be higher than a front-mid engine RWD car like BMW currently makes. Can't change the laws of physics.
His: 2013 ///M3 - Interlagos Blue Black M-DCT
Hers: 2013 X3 28i - N20 Mineral Silver / Sand Beige / Premium, Tech
Past: 2010 135i - TiAg Coral Red 6MT ///M-Sport