Did Mother Nature decide rear-wheel drive is best?

Blue Renault Alpine in oversteer at 2007 Le Mans Story eventThe BBC has an interesting article about animals that is relevant to the age-old question debated by automotive enthusiasts. What’s better, rear-wheel drive (RWD), front-wheel drive (FWD), or all-wheel drive (AWD)?

The cheetah, capable of 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds, is the world’s fastest land mammal. There are few street-legal cars capable of sub 3-second sprints to 60 mph, so what is the Cheetah’s secret?

Japanese researchers found that the muscles found in the hind (rear) limbs have many Type IIx fibers, best suited to producing lots of energy in a short period of time. The front limbs have more Type I muscles, which are resistant to fatigue but less powerful.

The difference in muscles allows for a separation of tasks between the front and rear limbs, with the front limbs being largely used to turn and decelerate. Sounds a lot like RWD, doesn’t it?

Which automaker do you think has the most to learn from the Cheetah? Post your comments below.

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