What is the meaning of the rear engine?
In automotive design, a rear-engine layout places the engine at the rear of the vehicle. The engine’s center of gravity is over the rear axle. This should not be confused with the center of gravity of the entire vehicle. This imbalance in proportion is due to the inability to keep the front wheel on the ground.
Rear-engine cars are almost always rear-wheel drive, a layout known as RR. Exceptions are high-performance all-wheel-drive models from some European automakers. This layout was chosen for three reasons, such as packaging, vibration, and ease of manufacture.
Rear-engine cars are a rare breed. Considering the benefits, this configuration brings, it can be a bit confusing why there are no more rear-engine cars on the road. Still, there are plenty of great options, from small, frugal city cars to high-end performance cars. Some are fully electric.
This covers an important point because an ‘engine’ is any machine capable of converting power into motion, not just using petrol or diesel. So, an electric motor is technically an ‘engine’. Many battery-powered cars have an engine in the back. This is somewhat surprising since the vast majority of cars powered by fossil fuels have the engine in the front.
Here are some cars with the engine in the back.
I omitted the electric car, which has a motor in the back and another motor in the front. Putting an electric motor in the back makes a lot of sense. You get the same benefits as other rear-engine cars: more agile handling when cornering, more interior space, and in some cases, a more streamlined body shape. In addition, electric motors are smaller than petrol and diesel engines, so they take up relatively little initial space when mounted in the rear.
Below are the cars with motors in the back for you to Explore.
#1. Hyundai Ioniq 5
- MSRP: Starting at $42,785
- Engine: electric-only powertrain
- Horsepower: 168-hp and 225-hp
- Torque: 258. lb.-ft
- Total Range: 220 miles
- MPG: 132 mpg city and 98 mpg highway
- Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic
- Top Speed: 155 mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 5.1 Seconds
- Trims: 05
Few mainstream electric vehicles have made waves based on style like the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The square lighting and design make it look right at home on the set of the Back to the Future reboot. Ioniq 5 is more attractive in that it is a family hatchback with good practicality and cost performance. This means it is an effective electric alternative to cars such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
There are two rear-engine Hyundai Ioniq 5 models. The former comes with a 168hp electric motor, and the latter comes with a 214hp electric motor. The range-topping version comes with all-wheel drive as it adds another electric motor to the front. The Ioniq 5 comes standard pretty well. Climate control, adaptive cruise control, and a wireless phone charging pad are all included from the start.
Hyundai also offers a 5-year unlimited mileage warranty, which is above the auto industry average and makes a particularly good used car buy because you can pay less for a used model but still have warranty coverage.
#2. Tesla Model 3
- MSRP: Starting at $45,630
- Electric Motor: Permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor
- Horsepower: 283-hp
- Torque: 302. lb-ft
- Electric Range: 220 miles
- MPG: 113 Combined
- Transmission: single-speed fixed gear with a gearbox
- Top Speed: 162mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 5.1 seconds
- Trims: 03
The Tesla Model 3 is an incredibly capable electric vehicle that can travel between 278 and 360 miles on a single charge, depending on which version you choose. Even the cheapest model’s 278 miles per charge is impressive for an electric vehicle, and while 350+ miles can only be achieved by top-of-the-line electric vehicles, the ‘long range’ version can go the maximum distance. The Model 3 also offers solid value for money.
Other advantages include quick acceleration, an ultra-high-tech cabin with a sleek rear layout including a huge media system screen, and the use of Tesla’s Supercharger charging network. The network spans the globe, so if you prefer, you can travel across Europe using only Tesla’s charger. This means you don’t have to worry about finding a compatible charger while traveling. All are designed specifically for Tesla and mapped to the vehicle’s navigation, so you can select your charger on the screen and go straight there.
#3. Porsche Taycan
- MSRP: $86,700
- Engine: dual electric motors
- Taycan 4S – 522 HP
- Taycan GTS – 590 HP
- Taycan Turbo – 670 HP
- Taycan Turbo S – 750 HP
- Torque: 345nm
- Range: between 206 and 246 miles
- MPG: 83 MPG combined
- Transmission: two-speed automatic
- Top Speed: 260 km/h
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 2.6 seconds
- Trims: 03
The Taycan is one of the most desirable cars on the road, never mind one of the most desirable electric cars. It offers a sleek body, fast performance, low running costs and is available with a rear electric motor. Most of the Taycan range is four-wheel drive with front- and rear-wheel motors, but entry-level versions are available with rear-wheel drive only.
Despite its ‘entry-level’ name, you won’t be disappointed with the Taycan, which isn’t the flashiest. Because it is one of the best models in the entire line-up. Light weight due to the lack of a front electric motor. Not just because it’s the most fun to drive, but because it’s one of the best ranges to charge. Up to 301 miles with optional Performance Battery Plus fast, comfortable, and long-distance choice.
Even a few decades ago, rear-engine vehicles were quite popular. The first notable rear-engine car dates back to 1886 when Karl Benz launched the Patent-Motorwagen. The concept gained more attention in the 1930s and remained quite popular through the 1980s.
A layout often found on smaller, cheaper cars, allowing the rest of the vehicle to serve as passengers and luggage. Many automakers preferred this because it was easier to install a factory drivetrain compared to a front-wheel drive layout where the driving wheels steered the car. So these are some of the Rear Engine Cars for you to consider.
#4. Porsche 911
- MSRP: Starting at $107,550
- Engine: a twin-turbo 3.0-liter flat-six-cylinder
- Horsepower: 379-hp
- Torque: 530Nm
- Total Range: approximately 440 miles
- MPG: 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway
- Transmission: eight-speed dual-clutch
- Top Speed: 198 mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 3.3 Seconds
- Trims: 12
Having a rear engine is a terrible idea for a performance car. The engine is very heavy, so leaving it too far back will create a pendulum effect when cornering at speed. Theoretically, this means that going around a corner fast will cause the rear end to shake and send the car flying off the road. Not ideal. But not with 911. It is one of the best handling vehicles money can buy, as it was designed with this model only in mind.
The 911’s engine actually works like a giant paperweight, pushing the rear tires onto the road surface. This helps increase grip, allowing the driver to accelerate before the wheels spin. More weight in the rear means the braking system can be better balanced, which in turn is more capable at high speeds. Conventional cars have more weight in the front because they have engines and much more powerful front brakes. That is why the system is less balanced.
Driving experience aside, the 911 is a fantastically well-built machine and the interior is a nice place to be. It also has a distinct low-bonnet style. No engine underneath, and a sleek silhouette that sets it apart from anything else on the road.
#5. Chevrolet Corvair
- MSRP: $16,379
- Engine: Chevrolet Turbo-Air 6 engine
- Horsepower: 80-hp
- Torque: 32-34. Ib.-ft
- MPG: 26 mpg
- Transmission: two-speed automatic
- Top Speed: 153 mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 10 seconds
Chevrolet Corvair is one of the few rear-engine American cars. It was Chevrolet’s response to the popularity of European sports cars (especially Porsche sports cars) imported by soldiers returning from World War II in the 1950s. Like the emulated Porsche model, the engine was air-cooled, and the handling was nimble.
Unfortunately, the Corvair’s troubles began with small but persistent mechanical design problems and competition with the Ford Falcon and Mercury Comet. The final and intractable problem came when young Ralph Nader was looking for an opportunity to make a name for himself. In his book Unsafe at Any Speed, he went to the town of Corsair and told a congressional hearing that the car was “a prime candidate for the unsafe car title”. After production ceased, the Corvair proved to be less dangerous than any other car, but the damage had already been done.
#6. Tucker 48
- MSRP: $1,704,583
- Engine: boxer 6
- Horsepower: 200-hp
- Torque: 372. lb.-ft
- Range: 193 kmh
- MPG: 20 miles per gallon
- Transmission: Cord 810/812
- Top Speed: 120 miles per hour
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 9.9 seconds
Every American car with a rear engine seems to have a story. Tucker 48 is one of them. Indeed, De Lorean DMC 12 was about to be repeated. Also called the Tucker Torpedo, the Tucker 48 was an innovative car developed by Preston Tucker and featured forward-looking technologies such as adaptive headlights, a shatter-resistant glass windshield designed to pop out in a collision, and an integrated roll bar. The innovative engine developed was never used in more than one pair of the 50 cars completed, eventually featuring air-cooled flat sixes on the rear wheels.
The release of Tucker 48 was a disaster. The prototype’s independent suspension arm collapsed the night before its public debut, preventing the engine from starting easily. A prominent newspaper columnist called the car a scam, and that followed. Tucker had a business idea that got him into trouble, and the investigation that led to the prosecution created too much negative publicity for the company to survive. Like John De Lorean, Tucker Preston was innocent of anything, but again the damage was done.
But what makes rear-wheel drive cars so much fun for drivers? The biggest advantage is that the front wheels only handle the steering while the rear wheels transmit power to the road. In a front-wheel drive car, everything happens up front, and the rear wheels are primarily positioned for driving. With rear-wheel drive, there are no compromises.
So, what do you think are the back-engine cars? Here are our best picks.
#7. BMW 3 Series
- MSRP: Starting at $44,795
- Engine: 1.5 L B38 I3 turbo
- Horsepower: 255-hp
- Torque: 500Nm
- MPG: 26mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined
- Transmission: 6-speed manual, 8-speed ZF 8HP automatic
- Top Speed: 250 Kmph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 5.3 seconds
- Trims: 07
The 3 Series is always great to drive, offering impressive handling and confident road holding. The latest model adds a more luxurious driving experience, more interior space, and impressive technology to the arsenal while maintaining driving appeal, sharp performance, and impressive frugality.
Prices have risen slightly from previous generations, and standard equipment is even higher. The updated design is a conservative evolution of the previous version, but the vehicle’s refinement has also increased along with a stronger and lighter body.
Combining best-in-class performance and economy, the 3 Series rose to the top of the compact executive class upon launch, only strengthening its hands through a facelift in 2022.
8. Renault Twingo
- MSRP: US$10,395 – US$19,394
- Engine: three-cylinder petrol engine
- Horsepower: 69 – 108 bhp
- Torque: 160 Nm
- Range: 110 or 160 miles
- MPG: between 46.12 mpg and 39.2 mpg
- Transmission: 5-speed manual automatic
- Top Speed: 93.21 – 93.83 mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 9.3 – 14.0 seconds
- Trims: 05
French cars have historically been pretty flashy to look at, and the Twingo pretty much lives up to this. Every other four-seater city car has an engine powering the front wheels, but Renault doesn’t. The same goes for the closely related Smart Forfour, as you’ll see below. Instead, the engine is in the back and powers the rear wheels. You may be concerned that this setup will cause the engine to take up valuable boot space. Things don’t look great, as the Twingo has 188 liters of space compared to the Skoda Citgo’s 251 liters.
The Twingo’s high boot floor (higher because the engine is lower) means you don’t have to stoop to load and unload your bag. Also, the boot opening is nice and square, making it easy to load larger items. So Twingo is more than practical as a city car. Another benefit of having the engine in the back is that, like the Smart for Two above, the Twingo can turn very tight, making driving around town very straightforward.
Most sports car engines today are located in the rear center area of the vehicle, reiterating the importance of the rear engine for vehicle speed with balance and center of gravity. Rear-engine vehicles also provide more power and traction to aid in vehicle maneuverability.
So, what cars have engines in the back? Let’s check it out.
9. Lotus Esprit
- MSRP: $40,666
- Engine: 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder
- Horsepower: 140-hp
- Torque: 160. lb.-ft
- Range: 341 miles
- MPG: 14 City and 21 highway mpg
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Top Speed: 160 mph
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 4.7 seconds
- Trims: 06
Produced between 1976 and 2004, the Lotus Esprit has a rich history as a rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports coupe. Although it works best as a weekend warrior on the track, the Esprit was never intended to deliver massive horsepower (although the limited edition pushes the limits).
The 1995 Esprit put down 140-hp which should suit most buyers’ needs. So, before you take a look, consider whether the Esprit will satisfy you, or if your thirst for power is better satisfied with the new Ford Focus. The 1995 Lotus Esprit was great to drive. It is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four and mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. To be fair, the 1995 Lotus Esprit S4S made 300 horsepower, but none of the other examples are likely to come cheap.
10. Tesla Model S
- MSRP: starts at $104,490.
- Engine: Electric motor
- Horsepower: 1020-hp
- Torque: 1050.lb-ft
- Electric Range: 249–259 miles
- MPG: between 96mpg and 120mpg
- Transmission: 1-speed fixed gear ratio
- Top Speed: 200 MPH
- Acceleration (0-60mph): 1.9 seconds
- Trims: 05
Introduced in 2012, the Tesla Model S plug-in electric vehicle costs more than some people can afford. That said, rear-engine five doors are a bargain when you’re cross-shopping against the competition in the luxury car segment.
The Model S is Tesla’s first attempt at designing and building a car from scratch, and the company does many things differently. The Tesla Model S aims to please the driver, but the rear-engine design is primarily for efficiency. Each model year offered slightly different technical specifications. Trim levels represent specific motor and battery combinations, optimizing power and range based on price point. That said, if you buy the entry-level Model S, you won’t be able to go far without a recharge. If you buy a top-of-the-line Model S, you can get it to go about 300 miles before plugging it in.
Q. What is a rear-engine car called?
In automotive design, the RR, rear-engine, or rear-wheel-drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the car. Unlike the RMR layout, the engine’s center of mass is between the rear axle and rear bumper.
Q. Why do some cars have rear-engine?
Mounting the engine on the rear wheels brings the weights and power unit closer to the drive wheels. This weight helps improve traction and acceleration. These vehicles have a rear-biased weight balance but have a better center of gravity than front-engine vehicles.
Q. Do rear-engine cars handle better?
Excellent handling with excellent traction. Traction is high because the weight of the engine is on the rear wheel. So, the initial acceleration is better.
Q. Which is better, the front engine or the rear engine?
Front-engine cars are usually the best for consumers. Rear-engine cars have unmatched acceleration but can be difficult to handle at times. And while mid-engine cars are surprisingly reliable, they also have significant flaws. So, we can say that all of them are the best in their own way.
Q. Are rear-engine cars safe?
Placing the engine at the front provides more interior space, making life more comfortable for passengers. From a safety standpoint, putting the engine in the rear moves the cabin forward, reducing the crash area.
In this article, we have explained quite a bit about rear-engine cars. First, we learned what the meaning of the rear engine is and later we found out some information about some rear-engine cars that are among the best cars.
This article will help you to gather some information about cars with the engine in the back.