In the Headlights – 2WD vs 4WD {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

2 May 2018

Ah the eternal debate of motoring forums throughout the globe – AWD or 2WD. Of course 2WD can be split into FWD or RWD but that is an argument for another day! For now we need to focus on driving all the wheels or just a single pair. You can have a playful and fun AWD car, but as a rule they are always going to understeer a little more and have less communication through the wheel, whereas you can have a sweet handling FWD car or a hilarious oversteering RWD toy. These are vast generalisations of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but we’ve chosen two AWD cars and two 2WD cars for you to choose from this week. Here are my thoughts on each one….

Audi R8 V10 Plus

Audi had one of the toughest jobs in the world when it came to designing the second generation R8. The first model was incredibly popular with over 55,000 sold worldwide, so they decided to play it safe with the styling – to most it looks broadly the same with a few more angles and an extra dose of aggression – we can’t argue with that. But we think it looks fantastic – somehow it looks faster, hungrier, like it wants to devour the road ahead of it and any cars it comes across. With more advanced chassis technology the new R8 is around 100 kg lighter than the old model and power is up too. The 5.2 litre V10 engine is a reworked version of the old powerplant, but in this Plus model now produces 603 bhp giving incredible performance. If those numbers sound familiar then worry not, you’re not going mad – it does indeed share the drivetrain and chassis with the Lamborghini Huracan, so in essence it’s a cheaper Lambo! 0-62 mph is dealt with in just 3.2 seconds on the way to the 205mph top speed and there's lots of carbon outside and in. The best just got better.

Jaguar F-type P300 R-Dynamic

I almost choked on my cereal when the press release for a 4-cylinder F-Type came through – I mean that beautiful snarling coupe with 6 or 8 cylinders works perfectly, but with four? Surely not? But hey you know what, those boffins in Gaydon actually know what they’re doing! Yep, it may be a 4-pot but it packs a 296bhp punch and the engine is lighter than the V6, so performance isn’t too far off the standard V6. That smaller engine up front is also a fair bit lighter than the V6 too, so handling is sweeter (fun fact – the V6 actually shares the block with the V8 with the rear two blanked off, so has a lot of wasted metal and hence weight). The biggest surprise is what the exhaust geeks have managed to do with the sound of a 4-pot lump – it snarls, bangs and pops like an old Group B rally car! To you, Jaguar engineers – I doff my cap. Jaguar has nailed it.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk

I’ve always been a fan of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s looks, it was a great looking large SUV and I very nearly got one last year when some super cheap lease deals came out on the 3.0d model. But despite being a fantastic car I would’ve always yearned after the SRT model with its huge V8 and burbly soundtrack. It wasn’t the most dynamic or sporting of SUVs but with 461bhp it was quick enough. But America being America, that wasn’t enough for Jeep. They wanted a more extreme version of the SRT so looked around the Chrysler Group parts bin for something to power it, and they found it in the most unlikely of places. So now there’s the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk which is powered by………the Dodge Challenger Hellcat engine. Yep, that’s right – not a detuned, softer version, oh no – the full-fat, mega-bonkers 700bhp supercharged 6.2 litre V8. In an SUV. So that makes the Trackhawk faster to 62mph than the Lambo Urus, for half the price. Yeehaw!

Audi TT 1.8 TFSi Black Edition S-Tronic

The Audi TT is one of the most iconic shapes on the road, when the very first model was launched it was an instant design icon and won fans the world over. A few generations down the line it's still super stylish, but the TT now has sleek angles, aggressive looks and road presence that some supercars only dream of. This Black Edition model comes with unique black and silver 19-inch alloys along with a gloss black finish to the grille, door mirrors and side window trim giving it a menacing look, especially in a light colour. There's plenty of tech and kit too, like LED headlights and the virtual cockpit which replaces traditional dials with a wide screen. We know some people want to look good without having a car that costs the earth too though, so this TT has the 178bhp 1.8 turbo engine mated to a 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch gearbox meaning you get punchy acceleration, along with great economy and emissions. Handling-wise that 1.8 engine is fairly light, and without the weight of the quattro system this Black Edition has wonderfully tight handling and feels not dissimilar to a Golf GTi. Add in the TT’s wonderful practicality when you fold the rear seats – which can hold a decent sized human incidentally – and it becomes a seriously good all-round proposition.

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  • So which would I choose? The R8 is one of the best examples of a playful AWD car, but for me the sheer fun and ability to steer with the throttle of a well set-up RWD chassis, and the huge fun that can be had in something like a Civic Type-R or Megane RS means that for me, 2WD wins this time. Especially as we’re about to hit summertime. Ask me again in winter and the answer may be different though! Either way, these four cars are available for only a week, so go and get your tickets while they’re still available!

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