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Car With Engine In Back – Better Than Front Or Mid Engine?

by Jordan Harris
Car With Engine In Back

Are you interested in purchasing a car with engine in back? Well, if that is the case, then you have come to the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a lot to cover in terms of this specific topic.

Doing your own research before you make a purchase of a car is always a good idea. Why we are saying this? Well, there are hundreds of different models out there and each of these cars has different problems. And not only that, but they also drive quite differently because of the powertrain layout.

There are different powertrain layouts. You have cars with engines in the front, engines in the back, and engines in the middle. And each layout delivers a different driving experience.

So, you get the idea of why getting a car with a different powertrain layout can affect the performance of the car in general. This is why you want to learn what are the characteristics of such a car. And we are going to try to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what is a car with engine in back. Then we will compare mid-engine with a rear-engined car and the reasons why you should go for a car with engine in back. Then we are going to list all of the models that have engines in the back. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Rear Engine Cars

Now before we dive into the car with engine in the back and learn about the models. First, let’s take a look at the basics and understand a bit more about what are these types of cars in general and learn more about the main characteristics. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

So, what is a car with engine in back? Well, this is a car that has an internal combustion engine behind the rear axle of the car. But what is a rear axle? Well, a rear axle is an axle that connects both of the rear wheels to the differential that is in the center.

Car With Engine In Back

Usually, these rear-engined cars have the engine located where the trunk compartment is located on the front-engined car. And as we noted, this is behind the rear axle.

And on top of the rear axle, usually, the transmission is found. If the vehicle is RWD only, you don’t have a driveshaft that is going to the front. But if you have an AWD vehicle with an engine in the back, you will definitely have a driveshaft that will travel to the front wheels in order to deliver power.

What is worth noting is that these types of cars are really rare and not easy to find. This is why you need to investigate deeper and try not to confuse a car with engine in back with a different type of layout.

And that’s what we are going to cover next where we are going to elaborate everything in detail when it comes to the other similar layout.

Mid Engine vs Rear Engine

So, we have covered the basics and learned more about the car with engine in back and covered more about the overall layout. Now let’s move on and learn more about the differences between mid-engine vs rear-engine cars.

This is a topic that confuses a lot of people. Most people think that these types are actually the same. But they are actually not. There is a big difference between the two designs. So, let’s elaborate on it really quickly.

As we noted previously, a car with engine in the back is a car that has an engine located behind the rear axle. And the axle is basically the axle that connects the rear wheels. So, the engine sits behind this axle.

On the other hand cars with mid-engine are designed quite differently. These cars have the engine before the rear axle.

Car With Engine In Back

This design layout reduces the center of gravity and basically makes the car a lot more controllable on the track. This is why you will highly likely going to see race cars with a mid-engine layout, rather than with a front engine.

But this doesn’t mean that car with engine in back does not perform similarly to a car with an engine in the middle.

Both of these designs are much better in comparison to the standard front engine layout. This is why many race cars and other vehicles that are intended for track use are running these layouts.

But why you should opt to get a car with engine in back? Well, let’s elaborate more about that in the following chapter. Then we will move on to cover the most popular cars with engines in the rear.

Reasons To Get A Car With Engine In Back

So, we learned more about the car with engine in back and learned about the general characteristics of these cars. We also elaborated on the difference between mid-engine and rear-engine cars and why you should differentiate between these two layouts.

Since they are not quite the same thing. So, in order for you to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes, you should learn the differences. Now let’s discuss the reasons why to get a car with engine in back. The biggest reason for choosing this way of design is probably the handling characteristics.

This type of design works really well in terms of handling. All the weight is in the back and it’s really difficult to lose the rear end when it comes to tight corners, even if the car is rear-wheel drive. And if you’re curious, we also have another list on the best RWD cars under 5k.

So, any car that has an engine in the rear, it basically handles like a dream around twisty corners. And also on the track. These cars are running really well. If you didn’t know, most of the top-speed runs on the Nurburgring are done by the Porsche 911 GT2 and GT3s.


And the most interesting part of this is that these cars do not pack a lot of power at all. The top-of-the-line GT3 packs only 500hp. Which is average for most modern sports cars and still crushes the competition around the track.

There are even some racing series where only Porsche 911 models are participating. So, you get the idea why a car with engine in back is so popular.

And the last argument on our list is the uniqueness of the car. These cars are really hard to find and also somewhat more expensive than other vehicles in their class.

Reasons To Avoid Getting A Car With Engine In Back

Now as we covered the reasons why to get a car with engine in back. We think that now it is time to cover the reasons for this kind of purchase. Are there drawbacks to this type of design? Well, there are some drawbacks that are definitely worth your attention and we will discuss them in this chapter.

One of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to this type of design is cooling. As we noted previously, the engine is located far back.

And most of these designs used air cooling until the 80s. This was the case because installing a proper cooling system on these cars was really expensive.

So, cooling the engine off with the help of air drag was considered more cost-effective by manufacturers.

On both sides of these cars, were scoops that collected air and this air was driven into the engine. This was not as effective compared to cars with a proper cooling system. But it was a good alternative.

Luckily in recent years, many carmakers that produce rear-engined cars have switched to liquid cooling like in other standard front-engine models.

But this has created some challenges to accommodate the cooling system because usually, the rear end of these cars was very compact.

This increased the cost of these cars along the way. And even those carmakers that produced them, have cut the production. Except for Porsche which is still making this car with engine in back. But what are the models with engine in back? Well, more about that, we are going to cover next in great detail.

Car With Engine In Back

Now let’s discuss the car with engine in back and learn more about the models that you can purchase with this design layout.

Contrary to popular opinion that electric cars are cars with engines in the back, they are actually not. Electric motors are not engines, to begin with, also they are mounted on the axles.

And this does not fit the definition of a rear-engine car at all. As we noted previously, a rear-engine car is a car where the internal combustion engine is located after the rear axle of the car. So, now let’s cover our list of cars with engines in the back.

Car With Engine In Back #1: Porsche 911

Now let’s start with something really familiar on our list of car with engine in back. And this is the Porsche 911. So, why the 911?

Well, mainly because the 911 is a real benchmark of what could be done with this engine layout, to be honest. There is hardly anything that handles better than a 911 out there and is still produced.

Many carmakers have ditched this design layout decades ago. But Porsche somehow still manages to stick to it and implement it in all of their 911s and also on the Cayman.

If you didn’t know, the 911 was introduced in 1964 and as of today, there are many of these series built. But the most popular is the air-cooled ones.

Car With Engine In Back

The air-cooled 911 models were in production until 1997 when Porsche switched to water-cooled designs. And since 1998 we have had four generations of 911 that are water-cooled. These generations are the 996, 997, 991, and 992.

The 992 is the most recent one that was released in 2019. And in our opinion, it is probably one of the best cars ever created. Just the looks of it and how it handles is a pure marvel of engineering. And the best of all things is that it is a fully internal combustion powertrain.

This means no electric motors and hybrid systems around. So, if you are a purist, we definitely recommend this model. Now let’s continue to the next car with engine in back.

Car With Engine In Back #2: Smart ForTwo

The next car with engine in back that we are going to cover is the Smart ForTwo. But what is the Smart ForTwo?

Well, if you are not familiar with the model, we can say that this vehicle was created by Mercedes Benz back in the 90s. With the goal to create a perfect city car that will deliver extremely good mpg (once you understand how to calculate MPG). The high MPG of a Smart Car is mostly thanks to the low weight of a Smart Car.

And frankly, the Smart ForTwo did that really well. These models are averaging about 45 mpg, which is crazy efficient.

Also, the model of the second generation and the third generation were introduced in the US and was sold in the US until 2019 when the model was discontinued due to poor sales. Nevertheless, the model is still produced in China as an electric vehicle.

What is interesting to note is that all of the models with ICE engines have the engines mounted in the back. And this model is one of the very unique vehicles with this engine layout.

And not to mention that they are very safe because of the shell that is almost indestructible. But there is a drawback of these rear-engine cars in terms of safety since they are very small, they cannot absorb kinetic energy in the same way as bigger cars do.

So, if you get impacted at high speed, there could be some fatal outcomes. Now let’s move to the next car with engine in back.

Car With Engine In Back #3: VW Beetle

The next car with engine in back on our list is the VW Beetle. And honestly, besides the Porsche 911, there is hardly any car that can describe this segment.

And what is interesting is that both of these cars were developed under the same roof. They are both VW cars after all. So, the same engineers have worked on them and developed these models. Namely, Ferdinand Porsche, whose name is now on all Porsche vehicles.

The Beetle models implement rear engines that are air-cooled. Just like in the Porsche 911s up until 1998. And what is interesting about the Beetle, is that the model is probably one of the longest-produced vehicles ever.

The initial production started in 1938, one year before WW2, and this production lasted while the war and after the war. The last model that was ever produced of the Beetle was in 2003. In a total of 61 model years. Which is quite a benchmark.

And these cars can be really fun project cars. Parts are still everywhere since more than 21 million of these were made. And if you are after a project, this will be a really interesting undertaking. It’s certainly a top contender among the best project cars under 5k and as one of the cheapest project cars.

If you’re thinking of buying one, we have a guide to discuss the VW Beetle problems that you need to look out for. On top of that, we also looked into the coolest mods so that you can create your own modded Volkswagen Beetle.

Car With Engine In Back #4: Tucker 48

Now let’s cover something really interesting when it comes to car with engine in back. And this is the Tucker 48. The Tucker 48 is probably one of the rarest cars that were ever produced with 50 examples made between 1947 and 1948 and these samples nowadays are worth millions of dollars.

This model was created by Preston Tucker. Preston Tucker was one of the entrepreneurs in the US after WW2 that wanted to create something really new and unique.

And the Tucker 48 was a truly groundbreaking design for the time. It implemented an aerodynamic shape, which was something unseen at that time. This design language featured triple headlights on the front with two headlights on the side and one in the center.

And what was interesting was that the middle headlight was turning as the steering wheel was turning. So the driver always sees what is happening when taking a corner.

And also, the model implemented a revolutionary rear-mounted boxer engine with six pistons that were air-cooled. But what is bad is that Tucker failed to mass produce the car and only 50 examples were made. Now let’s continue with the next car with engine in back.

Car With Engine In Back #5: Chevrolet Corvair

The next car with engine in back that we are going to cover is the Chevy Corvair. The Chevy Corvair is probably one of the rare models that didn’t strictly follow the American way of doing things and this is why it is so unique and special for a lot of people.

The model was introduced in 1959 and produced until 1969. There was a total of two generations. The first was released in 1959, while the second one was released in 1965.

Both of these models implemented a rear-mounted engine that was air-cooled. And similar to the Tucker 48, the engine in the Corvair was also a flat-6 but with only 2.7L of displacement. Which meant that it was rather smaller and more compact.

Even though the Corvair sold well and created history on its own and by selling more than 1.8 million units, in reality, it didn’t make a huge impact on the market so other carmakers followed.

The Corvair was basically the only model in this era from a US carmaker in this segment of the car with engine in back. It was until the 80s that the DeLorean came. And that’s what we are going to cover next.

Car With Engine In Back #6: DMC DeLorean

The last on our car with engine in back list is the DMC DeLorean. Similarly to the Tucker 48 with Preston Tucker, now John DeLorean, another entrepreneur wanted to create something really special. So, he created the DeLorean Motor Company and introduced the DeLorean model in 1981.

This model implemented a rather interesting design. With big falcon doors like you can nowadays see in the Tesla Model X.

But the difference was that the DeLorean was a two-seater. This model was built with stainless steel on a unibody fiberglass chassis. And you can’t find a single bit of rust anywhere on these models. This made the model quite expensive to build.

The engine used in this model was borrowed from Peugeot. The engine was a 2.8L V6, that was rated at 130hp and 153lb-ft of torque. This engine was rear mounted as you would assume. But it wasn’t the engine that the DeLorean deserved because it felt really underpowered.

The production lasted shortly, in only two years, the production was halted and the 1983 model was the last. With a total production of 8,975 cars.

Car With Engine In Back: In Conclusion…

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to car with engine in back. First, we learned what is a car with an engine at the back and the difference between mid engine vs rear engine. Then we learned why cars with engines in the back are one of the best-handling sports cars.

After that, we shared our list of cars with engines in the back. We covered the most popular models that feature this engine layout.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Who Makes The Best Engines

This is arguably one of the most difficult questions to answer. Mainly because some engines are more prone to problems than others. The maker of the engine does not always play a big role but the type and the level of quality control that went into it. So, there are good engine makers that also made terrible engines.

How Much Are Engines For Cars

An engine could cost from $100 to $20,000, or even more in some cases. If you get an engine from a junkyard you can expect to pay the least. But if you get a new engine from a dealership, you can expect to pay $5,000 or even more for a standard commuter car.

Are F1 Cars Rear Wheel Drive

Yes, all F1 cars are rear-wheel drive. This is the case because they can’t be front-wheel-drive and expect them to drive in the way they are driving. Also, it would be too complex to install a driveshaft and transfer the energy to the front wheels.

Why Are Sports Cars Rear Wheel Drive

They are mainly rear-wheel drive because of the fun factor. RWD cars are very prone to oversteering. And oversteering is fun, this is the situation when you lose the rear end and the car goes into a drift. Also, the grip that you get from the rear wheels is much different compared to the front wheels.

How To Drive A Sports Car

Driving a sports car can be difficult for a beginner. The first thing you would want to do is probably to set everything in comfort mode and don’t be too harsh on the throttle. Since it takes milliseconds to lose grip and end up on the side of the road.

What Car Has The Engine In The Back

There are many cars with the engine in the back. The most famous are the Porsche 911 and VW Beetle. There are also other models as well. Like the Chevrolet Corvair, Tucker 48, and the DeLorean.

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