It's not so much of where the motor is it's how it's all packaged. What Tesla is very good at, is the packaging of all their components, and having parts that do more than one function and integrate into other systems.
Most old school OEMs still build with a catalogue mentality, meaning that they pick off the shelf components for all their systems. This tends to lead to a lot of compromises, especially in regard to space claim. You have multiple ECUs, multiple pumps, multiple fuse blocks, a whole spaghetti mess of hoses, all just doing that one function, you won't see that in a Tesla.
Tesla on the other hand, are much more vertically integrated, where they manufacture a lot more of their own components and these components can be designed specifically for the job that it is intended.
The "Octovalve" for instance is a Tesla designed and manufactured part that controls both the HVAC and battery thermal management in the one unit. This valve alone gave a 10% increase in efficiency. A standard OEM would have several separate systems to do the same function. Tesla drive units are another example, the inverter and electronics are all packaged in with the drive unit and in a way that is the most space efficient. Even the mega castings Tesla use, save dozens of sheet metal components and serve as both structural units and for mounting surfaces.
Most current OEMs take their standard ICE floorpan and cram an EV drivetrain into it and make do with a whole lot of off the shelf parts to make it all work.
The AWD teslas have a front motor and
Tesla has many faults, but they are very good at vertical integration and thinking outside the standard automotive manufacturing box on how to build a car.