In Grand Theft Auto 4, the way a car's drivetrain and engine are set up can have a drastic effect on occasions such as police chases and enemy gang wars (escaping, for example). This section will break down the different drivetrains along with the cars so you don't need to.
Front Wheel Drive
Front wheel drive (FWD) is when a car's engine power is channeled to the front wheels. FWD cars cost a lot less than other drivetrain types because of less moving parts. There are only a handful of FWD cars in GTA IV. In addition, front egine, front wheel drive (FF) cars tend to have understeer when accelerating mid-turn, because accelerating causes the weight of the vehicle to shift onto the rear axle, resulting in decreased acceleration and decreased steering ability.
Rear Wheel Drive
Rear wheel drive (RWD) is when a car's engine power is sent to the rear wheels. RWD cars tend to be more expensive because they tend to have higher horsepower and more moving parts. Front-engine, rear wheel drive (FR) drivetrain layouts are commonly used in drifting, other rear wheel drive configurations are used in oval racing, circuit racing and drag racing. There are a lot of RWD cars in GTA IV.
Four Wheel Drive/ All Wheel Drive
Four wheel drive/ All wheel drive (4WD/AWD respectively) is when the engine power is transferred to all four wheels of a car. Acceleration is usually great but sometimes less than FWD cars because the model may have a lower power-to-mass ratio. Still, it provides great acceleration, great offroad capabilities, and the ability to climb rocks, walls, etc. In theory, it is the best drivetrain layout because the effects of understeer and oversteer counterbalance each other. In practise, 4WD/AWD vehicles tend to suffer greater drivetrain power losses due to the increased weight and parts, sometimes resulting in an overall decrease in performance.
Note that a few AWD cars may have uneven torque distribution (e.g. 30% front, 70% rear). This will affect acceleration, handling and drifting capabilities. Greater front torque distribution causes characteristics of FWD vehicles to show through, while greater rear torque distribution causes characteristics of RWD vehicles.
- Comet (20% front 80% rear)
- Infernus (20% front 80% rear)
- Sultan (40% front 60% rear)
- Sultan RS (30% front 70% rear)
- Vincent (40% front 60% rear)