Mid-engined designs seem to be reserved only for high-end supercars these days. Think Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti and McLaren. But this wasn't always the case.
Ever heard of the Toyota MR2, Pontiac Fiero, Lotus Esprit or even the Fiat X1? These cars were not even close to a supercar standard, but they were cheap mid-engined sports cars that didn't break the bank and offered crazy amounts of fun!
However, there was a bigger difference between those old school mid-engined cars and their supercar cousins. The fact that these supercars have dedicated engines, purpose-built for that exact car, drastically pushes the price up. The more affordable mid-engined offerings, on the other hand, almost always had transverse engines that were borrowed from existing front-wheel-drive cars.
But mid-engined cars, as many benefits as they offer, are very expensive to manufacture. This is because the market for sports cars are very low in comparison to standard commuter cars. What manufacturers have preferred doing now is one of two things:
Either, they make "hot" performance versions of their standard cars, such as the Golf GTI or Focus ST, as their performance range shares most components, thus they save costs. Or, manufacturers collaborate with other carmakers to bring out dedicated sports cars. Together, they can save on research and development. Consider the Scion, Toyota and Subaru collaboration that produced the FRS, GT86 and BRZ respectively. Or Toyota and BMW with the Supra MKV and new Z4.
But there is another threat to cheap mid-engined cars on the rise, and that is electric vehicles. Car manufacturers are cutting down heavily on the future development of internal combustion engines. Their focus is shifting to electric alternatives, so the chances of another affordable mini-engined sportscar are highly unlikely.
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Donut Media, on Why We'll Never See Another Cheap Mid-engined Car...
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