AO Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
BMW - Who would have them
Thought you might be interested in the following from a Bravo site in reply to: WHY DO ITALIAN CARS HAVE THE CALIPERS AT THE FRONT OF THE WHEELS AND BMW AT THE BACK?
The calipers and the steering arms need to be at opposite sides. Most manufacturers have put the steering behind the wheels to cut damage costs on accident repairs. The more you can put behind the wheels the lower the repair costs.
Which brings us to BMWs.
The advertising would have you believe that they design without compromise but this is one of their giant weaknesses. They have so much weight at the front end that they are trying to push the engine and gearbox as far back as possible. This puts it tight up against the bulkhead; so no room for steering rack there. This means the rack goes in front of the axle line and the brake calipers behind.
Of course this doesn't solve all their problems. To get some handling neutrality they have to try to get 50:50 weight balance or the ass end keeps overtaking the front. They have achieved this in recent models by moving the front axle further forward so now the tyres are nearly the most forward part of the car. (Even worse for the steering rack which would have to go through the engine block). So what do you think happens in an accident. Just look at the insurance premiums to see what the insurance companies know about expensive repairs. Walking pace into the back of a Fiat and you are talking £5000.
Of couse BMW could put the gearbox at the back of the car like Alfa did in their rear wheel drives but that would be proper engineering. Why bother when the average owner just wants a badge.