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2004.01.18

駆動方式あれこれ

クルマって4つタイヤが付いてるんだけど、ご存知の通り、エンジンのチカラを前の2つに伝える(FF)か、後ろの2つに伝える(FR)か、はたまた4つ全部に伝える(4WD)かでだいたい大別できる(あとはエンジンの配置場所でMRとRRがあるけど、ちょっと特殊例)。今の主流はだいたいFFが多い。なーんにも考えずに普通にスルスル走っている分にはFFって楽。とりあえず前に進むにはあまり困難を感じないように完成されているのだ。

ところが、ちょいと本気で走らせようと思ったり、クルマの動きを積極的に変えようと思うと、FFって限界があるのよ。たった2つのタイヤで駆動・制動と旋回力を受け持たせているので、物理的に受け止められるチカラを上手く配分してやらなきゃいけない。(駆動方式の図解を見たければここのページがいいかも:勝手にリンクしますがご了解を) 片やFRはそれぞれの機能を前後に分けているので大パワーをコントロールしやすいということになっているのでハイパワースポーツはこれが多い、がこれまた独特の限界がある。 これらの折衷案かつ4つのタイヤの接地面積を最大限有効に使うために4WDというものが急速に普及してきた。

特に80年代中盤以降の乗用4WDの進歩は目覚しいものがある。その始祖の一つがSubaruのレオーネ・レガシィであって、コンペティションベースではAudiのquattroシステムだった。そして、NISSANはATTESA(E-TS含む)などで追随、ラリーもサーキットも(フォーミュラ以外は)ハイパワー4WDの天下となっていった。 田舎(雪国)に住んでいた頃はうちの自家用車もブルーバードU12-ATTESAだった。当時は国産で雪の峠越えと圧雪の高速巡航を苦も無く両立できるのはレオーネ・ブルーバード・ギャランVR4、そしてファミリア4X4ターボくらいだったからね。

さて、私のR32はAudiのquattroの血を引きながらもATTESA E-TSの前後をひっくり返した制御に近いHaldex LSCというFFベースの電子制御オンデマンド4WDに相当する。VWは4Motionというネーミングを与えたが、AudiTTやA3/S3のquattroと名前は違うが同じシステムである。ちなみにA4/Passart以上はトルセンデフを使った常時駆動式の4WDなので、名前は同じだが機構はかなり違う。(4Motionの詳細は同じ機構を持つ兄弟車BoraV64Motionのユーザーさんが開設している「大ぼら研究所」(by にしわきさん@BoraV6-4M.netに詳しいので参照してください)

んで、今まで乗ってきたクルマのほとんどがFFだったため、FF独特の運転のクセが染み付いてて今度のR32には最初は戸惑った、と共に驚いた。 FFではアクセルをスッと抜いて鼻先を乗せて曲げるのが楽しいのだが、4WDではキープアクセル+ススっと舵角を足してやるだけで狙ったラインに何の苦も無く乗る。逆にアクセル抜いちゃダメ、路面に杭を打ったようにそのままの角度で減速してしまう。これはこれで安全側に制御できるので、あまり急激にやってオーバーステアを誘発しない限り大丈夫なんだけど。要するに4つタイヤを使っていることで奥深い安定感が得られているわけだ。 ただし!油断は禁物、4WDにしている分車重は増えているのだからモーメントで持っていかれないようスピードコントロールはより慎重であらねばならないね(^^)

ところで昨日、友人Kさんがミッドシップ(MR)のクルマを買ったとメールが来た。こっちはこっちで操る楽しさ満載のレイアウト。しかも超軽量級でレッドゾーンが8500rpmからになっている例のクルマ。この人、何に乗らせてもパッキパキの走りをできる謎のドライビングセンスの持ち主(なんたって、過去にcivicシャトルでダートトライアル荒らしてた位)なので、今度のクルマも激速なんだろうなぁ。 会うのが楽しみになってきた。

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