Getting used to rear wheel drive - experiences?

donskibeat

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This will be my first rear wheel drive car, have always had front wheel drive up until current car which is Quattro (Audi TTS)

Does concern me a bit, especially in bad weather.

Comments / experiences from those who have also made the change.

I assume being mid engine will make a difference too compared to some other RWD cars.
 
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RWD is super fun, just be careful in bad weather and you'll be fine. Rain can be fun as it makes it easier to break traction, but I would say be careful in snow - both times I had my 135i in snow, I drove like a cautious baby and still spun out or had scary losses of traction. :ROFLMAO: For everything else, RWD is groovy.
 

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If you haven’t driven RWD before it’s worth doing some driver training. Looks like you’re in Norfolk so the obvious place would be the Lotus Driving Academy at Hethel, using their cars.

There are other places like Car Limits at North Weald and CAT Driver Training at Millbrook. Some you use your own car, others you can rent one of theirs. Some low friction (skid pan) training is worthwhile too.

The most common mistake is lifting off the throttle mid corner or lower grip in a corner due to an oil spill or camber change, which can get the back end stepping out. Learning how to avoid that and how to correct it are useful lessons.

I suspect the Emira will be more forgiving than an Elise - the Evora certainly is.
 

PaulP

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If you haven’t driven RWD before it’s worth doing some driver training. Looks like you’re in Norfolk so the obvious place would be the Lotus Driving Academy at Hethel, using their cars.

There are other places like Car Limits at North Weald and CAT Driver Training at Millbrook. Some you use your own car, others you can rent one of theirs. Some low friction (skid pan) training is worthwhile too.

The most common mistake is lifting off the throttle mid corner or lower grip in a corner due to an oil spill or camber change, which can get the back end stepping out. Learning how to avoid that and how to correct it are useful lessons.

I suspect the Emira will be more forgiving than an Elise - the Evora certainly is.
I am also afraid of lift off oversteer having driven awd Audi and BMW for the last 20 years. I tend to corner at the limit of my tires once I get used to the car and I know the 911 was famous for death and destruction for this issue.
 

Racer X

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I am also afraid of lift off oversteer having driven awd Audi and BMW for the last 20 years. I tend to corner at the limit of my tires once I get used to the car and I know the 911 was famous for death and destruction for this issue.
Nah, you’ll be fine once you’ve driven it a bit and crept up on its limits. You shouldn’t be driving 10/10ths on the street anyway. All cars are about weight transfer. You have to understand it and feel it. Get the weight transfer right and you won’t accidentally lose the rear end. Too little weight on the front end in a hard corner, under steer wide into a guard raid. Too much weight on the front mid-corner, then the back end meets the guard rail 🤣. That’s what track days are for- to find where the limits are and to learn how to balance the car.
 

Jonhklee

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Mid engine RWD takes getting used to. they don’t slide or drift around as you would expect a front engine RWD would, they rotate closer to your hip point, so more intuitive. All depends on the chassis set up of course.
 

khamai

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The biggest change you'll see going from FWD to RWD is the car's reaction to the throttle. In gross generalization then -
FWD
> more throttle = more understeer and the front end rotates LESS
> less throttle = less understeer and the front end rotates MORE
RWD
> more throttle = the rear rotates to the point you exceed traction (throttle oversteer). The driver can control the rate of rotation with the throttle.
> less throttle = the rear rotates less with the exception if you're close to the traction limit, then less throttle means more/sudden oversteer

Mid-engine means the car is more sensitive and will react more quickly to the driver's inputs (steering, throttle, brake).

Cheers,
Kiyoshi
 

JPS_67

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If you haven’t driven RWD before it’s worth doing some driver training. Looks like you’re in Norfolk so the obvious place would be the Lotus Driving Academy at Hethel, using their cars.

There are other places like Car Limits at North Weald and CAT Driver Training at Millbrook. Some you use your own car, others you can rent one of theirs. Some low friction (skid pan) training is worthwhile too.

The most common mistake is lifting off the throttle mid corner or lower grip in a corner due to an oil spill or camber change, which can get the back end stepping out. Learning how to avoid that and how to correct it are useful lessons.

I suspect the Emira will be more forgiving than an Elise - the Evora certainly is.
Depends of the making of your Elise. Mk2 and Mk3 have smaller front tires than the back tires. So you'll expirience understeering more early than a breakout in the back. In regular situations it will be very hard to get your Elise (Mk2 and Mk3 that is) drifting. I am not sure about the Emira set up in that matter.
Apart from a training on the behavior of the car on track I would recommend a "public road training". People around you will certainly react and this interaction can lead to hazardous situations. Don't be tempted and knowing when to lift your right foot are the most important lessons to learn :)
 

VL3X

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You just need some seat time to get used to it. Under normal driving, you'll be fine. Snow and ice, be careful around turns.. as with any vehicle. A lot has to do with your tires (treadwear and temp) and powerband. You'll eventually know your car well enough to make it handle as you wish... when to stay planted and when you want the backend to break loose a bit.. and the how to snap it back. Just spend some seat time with normal driving and find a nice BIG empty parking lot if you want to try and test it's limits a bit (preferrably somewhere far away from other people and cars). Once you're comfortable with it, sign up for a HPDE track day and get an instructor to do a ride along with you.

My first RWD car was at 19 with a 300ZX twin turbo putting down around 450WHP. I somehow managed to not kill myself. I've since had modded AWD Subaru STIs and most recently a tracked FWD GTI. They all handle differently on the track and when pushing it around turns on the street, but for daily driving, it's all the same. You're not going to randomly have the backend kick out on your in the Emira without you wanting it to (especially with new tires). Just learn the powerband and take it easy around turns at first. You'll be just fine!

Also, not sure if you're into gaming, but a good sim like Forza will give you a feeling of how RWD vs FWD vs AWD handles around a track.
 
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weepel

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I'll echo what others have said here - on the street under normal conditions (e.g. not more than an inch of snow, or not torrential downpour), you'll be fine. You shouldn't be testing limits on public roads, so the backend isn't likely to step out on you unexpectedly (unless you let tires go bald, or use the accelerator like a binary switch, or are a hoon). As @VL3X noted, HPDE and AutoX are fantastic ways to learn your and your vehicle's limits in a controlled and (relatively) safe environment. If you're not comfortable putting your new baby on track, there's usually a way to hire/rent a car for a day. My recommendation is an MX5 since it's RWD and well-balanced, so many of the "feeling" and principles are the same as what the Emira will be.

End of the day, the laws of physics apply and give yourself time to learn the car - slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Given the looks of this car, you may get folks on road trying to "challenge" you (I live in the land of Dodge Challengers and Chargers in Atlanta), but my recommendation is let those folks do their thing and race past you, save the spirited driving for the track or AutoX.
 

PaulP

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I am deficient in the gene that allows me to ignore others flying by me. My right foot goes to the floor like pavlovs dog drools.
 
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You just need some seat time to get used to it. Under normal driving, you'll be fine. Snow and ice, be careful around turns.. as with any vehicle. A lot has to do with your tires (treadwear and temp) and powerband. You'll eventually know your car well enough to make it handle as you wish... when to stay planted and when you want the backend to break loose a bit.. and the how to snap it back. Just spend some seat time with normal driving and find a nice BIG empty parking lot if you want to try and test it's limits a bit (preferrably somewhere far away from other people and cars). Once you're comfortable with it, sign up for a HPDE track day and get an instructor to do a ride along with you.

My first RWD car was at 19 with a 300ZX twin turbo putting down around 450WHP. I somehow managed to not kill myself. I've since had modded AWD Subaru STIs and most recently a tracked FWD GTI. They all handle differently on the track and when pushing it around turns on the street, but for daily driving, it's all the same. You're not going to randomly have the backend kick out on your in the Emira without you wanting it to (especially with new tires). Just learn the powerband and take it easy around turns at first. You'll be just fine!

Also, not sure if you're into gaming, but a good sim like Forza will give you a feeling of how RWD vs FWD vs AWD handles around a track.
Bahaha I also had a TT 300ZX at 21... fishtailed it and totalled it within 2 weeks, I still cry thinking about it today! Ah, to be young and stupid... and total your first great car!
 

VL3X

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Bahaha I also had a TT 300ZX at 21... fishtailed it and totalled it within 2 weeks, I still cry thinking about it today! Ah, to be young and stupid... and total your first great car!

LOL, glad you made it out alive! I wrapped my Integra GSR around a poll after hitting a bump on a back country road @ 120mph. Young and dumb for sure!

Here's a pic of my Z.
borders.JPG
 

weepel

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(Apologies in advance for diverting from the thread topic)

Oh man TT 300ZX was my high school dream car - @VL3X yours is so clean! Do you still have it? I nearly traded in my first car (2nd Gen Integra) for one and in retrospect am glad I didn't - 16 year old me definitely lacked the responsibility and skill to drive a car with that much power... also I've heard from friends and owners they're a nightmare to wrench on (although replacing spark plugs in my Subarus is no picnic).

I really wish the new "Z" was modeled after the Z32. Here's a pretty sexy render someone put together. If the actual car looked like this, I'd have an Emira and a Z on order :p

 
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(Apologies in advance for diverting from the thread topic)

Oh man TT 300ZX was my high school dream car - @VL3X yours is so clean! Do you still have it? I nearly traded in my first car (2nd Gen Integra) for one and in retrospect am glad I didn't - 16 year old me definitely lacked the responsibility and skill to drive a car with that much power... also I've heard from friends and owners they're a nightmare to wrench on (although replacing spark plugs in my Subarus is no picnic).

I really wish the new "Z" was modeled after the Z32. Here's a pretty sexy render someone put together. If the actual car looked like this, I'd have an Emira and a Z on order :p

Bahaha that's a really cool Z render! If the new one looked more like that, if might have been my fallback too if the Emira were priced too high! (fingers crossed!). Sadly I've never been able to like the interior of the 350 and 370, despite trying to on 2 separate occasions... but the 300zx was my very first car love. I'm really not a fan of the design on most of the newer sports cars really - the Emira is the first one in a long time that makes me WANT it. (See how I brought the thread back there?)
 

fatjase

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This will be my first rear wheel drive car, have always had front wheel drive up until current car which is Quattro (Audi TTS)

Does concern me a bit, especially in bad weather.

Comments / experiences from those who have also made the change.

I assume being mid engine will make a difference too compared to some other RWD cars.
You should be fine, I had similar reservations with a 2018 Aston Martin Vantage. Terrified didn't do it justice but I built up slowly and sensibly and once I was dialled in I don't think I've driven quicker point to point when the conditions have allowed. Get to know the limitations of the car and learn to respect it and you'll be fine whatever the weather.
 

weepel

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Bahaha that's a really cool Z render! If the new one looked more like that, if might have been my fallback too if the Emira were priced too high! (fingers crossed!). Sadly I've never been able to like the interior of the 350 and 370, despite trying to on 2 separate occasions... but the 300zx was my very first car love. I'm really not a fan of the design on most of the newer sports cars really - the Emira is the first one in a long time that makes me WANT it. (See how I brought the thread back there?)
Completely in the same boat. I want to like the new Supra, I really do, but meh. Same with the Cayman, but meh. The C8 Corvette actually caught my eye for a second until I saw it in person and realized it's a land yacht. Emira is the first car in a long time that (...wait for it...), revs my engine.

And in the spirit of bringing it back to the original topic at hand - mid-engine, RWD is the right formula. If this were a 1977 930 911 Turbo forum, I would be concerned much like OP and would need to cut a hole in my right shoe to allow for my big toe to just caress the accelerator.

At the risk of yucking others' yum (and acknowledging that the 911 is a super capable car), it's required ~57 years of tweaking suspension to get the rear engine around the corner without doing twisty loops. With the Emira, we can skip all most of the suspension fiddling and have a predictable and capable drivers' car (at least that's the hope, as we just have to take Jenson Button's word for now). That's not to say we won't ever see one in a hedge, but the fact that OP is asking the question tells me he's at least thought about the differences in dynamics, which is a good first step.
 

VL3X

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I'm really looking forward to other reviews besides Jenson's. He obviously paid to rep the brand and it'll be good to hear feedback from other pros.
 
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