Motor (Australia)

STRUT YOUR STUFF

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I’m interested in buying an Alfa Romeo 4C. I was recently having a poke around one of them and I came away wondering why on earth it has double-wishbone suspension at the front and struts at the rear end? It sounds as if the engineers have designed the car the wrong way round. Is there any sound engineerin­g reason for doing this? Why didn’t they just copy what Porsche or Lotus does? It seems to work for them.

Martin Bellingham, via email It’s a good question, Martin. If they’d have copied the Porsche Boxster they’d have been doubling down on struts. The rear strut solution caused Alfa no end of problems in developmen­t. The engineerin­g team switched from an inboard to an outboard set-up, with the vehicle suffering severe toe angle changes during hard cornering. The production cars are still quite sensitive to changes in road camber. The reason why Alfa fitted struts at the back? I’d bank on a combinatio­n of cutting weight, complexity and, curiously for a car that features a full carbon tub, costs. The position of the engine subframe also provides the requisite top mount for a strut set-up. Rear wheel support can be much improved with the fitment of a cross-axis bush kit. – Ed

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