The engine position should take into consideration among other things, the following points: - The center of gravity should be way up front (insensitive to crosswinds) - a low front bonnet giving little air resistance - evenly distributed weight (chassis quality) - as much well-usable space as possible - the engine should be easily accessible - a high amount of comfort through a low noise level
The in-line (straight) mounted engine up front, which drives the rear wheels through a cardan shaft is known as a standard drive train, although nowadays, most vehicles have a front wheel drive and the first vehicle by Carl Benz had the engine at the rear. He initiated the mass-motorisation. A special construction type, the transaxle drive train, also exists. The engine is straight-mounted in the front with the gearbox behind it. Whereby, the clutch can be either mounted on the engine or on the gearbox. Vehicles with a standard drive train can also achieve a well balanced weight distribution (e.g., by installing the battery in the boot).
Special construction form - the mid-motor principle: A straight- or transverse mounted engine installed mostly in front of the rear axle should permit an aerodynamically effecient front bonnet, and should weigh down the driven axle causing a neutral handling during bad weather conditions. This is also achieved. However, a break-away when cornering at high speeds, is also more difficult to control, e.g., because the whole mass is concentrated near to the vertical axis.
The main argument against both special construction forms: Nowadays, a neutral cornering behaviour can be achieved by applying specific measures to the chassis and the weight distribution without having to turn to these complicated and space consuming technologies. 11/10
Other construction forms
Normal drive train with the engine above/behind the front axle,
Front-wheel drive straight flat mounted engine in front of/behind the front axle,
Rear-wheel drive with a transverse flat mounted engine behind the rear axle,
Flat, straight mounted mid-engine, gearbox in front of/behind the rear axle.