NOT A NEW IDEA

BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

NOWADAYS four-wheel steering (4WS) is one of the techie spec highlights in an array of mostly Euro premium hotshots like the BMW 5 Series, Porsche 911 Turbo, Mercedes-AMG GT R (its system pictured right) and even the Renault Megane GT.

But it was during the halcyon days of 1980s Japan predictably enough where this system first came to prominence in production vehicles.

And it was the impossibly low-cowled third-gen Honda Prelude Si 4WS that was first to market in Australia towards the end of 1987, sweeping our Car of the Year award just a few weeks later.

The sporty 2+2 seater coupe featured rear wheels that turned only about onefifth of the angle of the front ones via a mechanical rotating shaft that ran from the rack and pinion front to the rear steering box. At small angles, all wheels faced the same way for added high-speed stability, but applying more lock saw the rears switch progressively in the opposite direction by up to five degrees.