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Question re emergency maneuvering in an AWD vehicle.

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Question re emergency maneuvering in an AWD vehicle.

 
Old 02-22-2005, 02:53 PM
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Default Question re emergency maneuvering in an AWD vehicle.

The following was inspired by a conversation I had with a buddy of mine regarding the new RS4. I was telling him about how I was drooling over it, and he asked me why I was so hung up on Audis, and why not the new M3.

I responded, "AWD," to which he basically said that a RWD car with modern stability controls could operate just fine in the event of a skid-induced loss of control, and that it was just a matter of handling the situation differently than AWD. If I understood him right, you'd basically count on the stability control to help you brake to a stop, whereas with an AWD, you'd try to countersteer and accelerate back into control.

Does that sound about right? If so, I definitely need advanced driving lessons so I learn the limits of my car. Or any other suggestions about how to do so safely?
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:13 PM
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Default I'm not even about to say that I'm an expert, but I am scared to death about operating a RWD car...

on the track at the same speed that I drive my S4 at. Simply because I see a pretty big difference in how you drive, depending on which wheels get power.

Not to say that driving an AWD car is easier or harder, I just think that you may have to be <b>more</b> careful about applying power in turns in a RWD car vs. an AWD.

My car tends to push when it approaches it's limits. RWD cars tend to oversteer. And oversteer is a more dangerous condition than understeer, IMO. You would have to counter-steer and modulate the throttle in the same way you would with a AWD car, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.

In an AWD car you would lift power under the push and wait for the tires to grab. With a RWD car applying power tends to make the rear tires grab the pavement.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:29 PM
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Default Regarding your last paragraph...

Are you saying come up entirely off the accelerator? Wouldn't that negate the AWD benefit because NO power would be going to the wheels?

By the way, as someone who's at least been to a track, I'd bet you already have a LOT more experience than me at operating this vehicle at its limits.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:32 PM
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Default Remember, Torsen operates under power

The relative merits of any car versus the Torsen equipped car willl depend on a lot of factors. Just like on a race course, the performance of a car is going to depend in large part upon the driver. Other factors will include available grip (tires), how grip is distributed under braking and power and even the weight o the car. A lighter car is easier to maneuver and a lighter car typically stops in shorter distances. Torsen is beneficial if you use it right. That means you must be applying power for it to work.

The biggest safety feature in the car is the driver. If the driver can avoid dangerous situations, there is less work for the car to do ;-) Failing that, a stability control system will go a long way towards helping a driver out of a dangerous situation. It can brake individual wheels to help correct the problem. The driver usually isn't smart enough or quick enough to do this themselves.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:36 PM
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Default Yes, but I'm talking about being at the limit and going out of control...

I thought that was what you were talking about in your post. How to control the car in emergency situations? When you lose traction, which with an AWD usually happens when applying power in a turn or coming in to hot.

Coming in too hot and lifting the throttle is going to induce oversteer. However, applying gas in the turn beyond the traction of the tires is going to yield an understeer situation, in which your going to want to lift off the gas until the tires bite again.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:48 PM
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Default traction control is meant to keep you from losing control.....by.

cutting power and braking individual wheels - if you drive stupid you can loose control in either one AWD or RWD. AWD tends to push at the limit under power whereas RWD will oversteer.
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Old 02-22-2005, 03:58 PM
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Default He's right in that once you're *in* a skid, there's no real difference between AWD and RWD.

But a less experienced driver is far more likely to find himself skidding in a RWD car than in an AWD car.
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:00 PM
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That's what I've been thinking since we talked. By the way, did you get my email?
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:10 PM
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Default Yes sir! Keep me informed.

I already travel down to Burlingame for my hair cuts--what's another few miles?
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:55 PM
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Default Serious ive never driven an m3 but have owned RWD cars

and have been in skids in my s4 and it snaps back hard enough to give you whiplash.
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