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A public disservice announcement?

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Old 05-19-2017, 06:16 AM
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Default A public disservice announcement?

I have passed 1,000 miles on my new S4. I have, subsequently, pressed the pedal to the metal and have been rewarded with a smooth, powerful rush of acceleration that now I can confirm feels stronger than my outgoing 2014 supercharged S4.

My wife and I like to say, about every 5,000 miles, "I got a new engine today!" Likewise, there is a point-of-inflection at about 1,000 miles. The engine, transmission, brakes and tires are all working in harmony. I've learned the ADS settings that work well for me, I've become comfortable with the paddle shifters (which, actually, was quite easy, since it seems to me to be identical in feel to the DSG in the 2014 S4.) Shifting via the paddles offers the reward of instantaneous shifts -- there is no delay while the computer sorts out the command from the helm.

In years gone by, there have been paddle shifters that were very much like what I imagine an ocean liner must be like. That is, previously, I'd initiate the paddle command and wait a half-a-beat while the command signal was sent, the computer reacted and then, finally, the transmission did my bidding. This guy is "yes sir, right away sir" -- paddle shifts on this Tiptronic are identical to the DSG's.

My "secret" curve (15MPH) can be taken, without drama, at 45+MPH -- the feeling is that this S4 will be just fine with pushing the speed upon entering the curve close to 50MPH and then at the apex, powering out (with a simultaneous pull on the paddle shifter while pressing the right hand pedal down.)

Of course the issue is (for me), I will only do this when there is no traffic. Sadly, out of a half a dozen attempts, only once was the road empty.

Which brings me to the PDA I refer to in the title of this post.

I was reading a recent test report of the new S4 -- read the following, please:

"The driver can also tweak the stability nanny — it can be turned off partially, which allows the car to drift before it clamps down, or off all together."

This characterization is technically accurate, the ESP can be disabled and the effect, would be that the S4 could be pushed to "drift" -- which makes me wonder. To get the new S4 to drift requires either a closed course or a track day. Moreover, to drift means to make the car slide sideways on its contact patches, scrubbing perhaps hundreds of dollars worth of tread from the tires, possibly threatening the four wheel alignment and putting considerable stress on suspension components.

Drifting a new S4 -- seeing someone drift an S4 -- is no mean feat. It is, likewise, an act of,er, "controlled violence." An act I'll be sure to attempt with my $60,000+ daily driver. Not!

I have taken four 2-day Audi driving schools (in Seefeld, Austria), one, 1-day Porsche driving school and one 2-day BMW driving school. The Audi schools, just the schools, not the trip itself, cost $2,000+ each. The BMW school was a like amount and the Porsche school was, for me, a no cost event since my Porsche+Audi dealer gave me one of the slots he had open for the normally paid driving training.

The Audi schools were in a closed "classroom" about one-mile square ON ICE! The BMW and Porsche schools were also on closed courses that were continuously flooded (with water) to allow us to "drift" the cars at somewhat slower speeds than the same exercises would require if performed on dry concrete or asphalt.

Only during the Porsche school were we encouraged to "break the rear end out" on dry pavement. You really have to have some speed (mass x velocity, if you get my "drift") to make the tail of a Porsche slide, all the while, liquifying the rear tires.

The BMW school, taught on wet concrete, mimicked the effect felt during the Audi schools (on ice), but at a slightly higher speed. The Audi school, and only the Audi school, allowed us students to experience the full range of power slides, J-turns, ABS actuation, ESP on, ESP off, over steer, under steer, drifting, steering entirely with the throttle, etc. The reason we could do this during the "classroom" training (on a huge ice covered field in Austria in the dead of winter) was that the wear and tear on the vehicles is mitigated (somewhat) by virtue of the somewhat slower speeds required to perform a four-wheel drift on a mile square sheet of ice.

Even the BMW school required the replacement of tires and brake pads and rotors -- for every class -- the wear on these components was so extreme over such a short period of time. My classroom BMW, even so, had horribly warped rotors since it had new pads and tires but, obviously, overheated and warped discs.

So, how is this: "The driver can also tweak the stability nanny — it can be turned off partially, which allows the car to drift before it clamps down, or off all together." a public disservice?

AudiWorld participants, overall, are probably strong earners, perhaps some are wealthy, maybe even 1%-ers. Yet, even with this artificial sample of "American (mostly) car owners" (perhaps enthusiasts, even) it is hard for me to envision we routinely, or perhaps EVER, even, turn off the "stability nanny" and drift our cars thus liquifying our tires, warping our brake discs and smoking our brake pads.

Such exercises strain all-wheel alignments, bushings, struts, springs, steering mechanisms, wheels, tires and all of the associated componentry.

Are we -- are YOU -- made of money? Are you a regular participant in closed course events where you can reach ultra legal speeds and propel your S4 into situations where it has no choice but to begin to slide, er, drift?

If you're NOT a regular and frequent participant in such closed course events, your ability to get your S4 into a controlled drift would be, if you ask me, suspect.

I am "comfortable" making my car perform a few -- very few, truth be told -- "unnatural acts." Most of these "UA's" I would never attempt on a public road or highway. My guilty pleasure of taking a curve designated to be navigated at 15MPH at nearly 50MPH (now, with my new S4) and "donuts on a freshly snow-covered, empty, parking lot" push the limits of what I will do with my expensive toy.

Pushing an S4 so hard so as to require the rear torque vectoring differential, is something I have done and know how to do -- but I'd only do this with YOUR S4, not mine for pity's sake.

It is such a disservice, IMHO, to speak about feats of automotive daring-do that even if we are capable of such acts would actually attempt with our own vehicles risking rubber and metal and risking jail time and loss of license if actually attempted on most American roads and highways NOT in the middle of nowhere.

The new S4, especially with the "summer only" rubber Audi typically mounts on the car, is a practically infinitely capable car in terms of acceleration, speed, cornering, braking and emergency maneuvering.

If you find yourself routinely forcing the S4 into an attitude that most would identify as an emergency maneuver, you are performing a public disservice.

I submit suggesting that acquiring an S4 for the specific purpose of disabling its "nannies" in order to induce a (hopefully controlled) drift is so far removed from "our" collective reality to be a public disservice announcement.

However, therefore, notwithstanding: Drive it like you live.

Last edited by markcincinnati; 05-19-2017 at 06:31 AM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by markcincinnati View Post
...scrubbing perhaps hundreds of dollars worth of tread from the tires...
Hilarious!

Hey Mark, can I borrow your car for a couple of hours? Mine hasn't come in yet.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:52 AM
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Talbot, absolutely. You can test it out, wear it out and use it up -- I, after all, AM made of money.

Of course, when yours comes in, I'd expect nothing less than reciprocal behavior. Just give me the keys once you've completed the paperwork. You can keep mine until I return yours then, seems fair.

Oh, not that there is a trust issue, I would expect proof of insurance, of course.

Silwy Wabbit.

Last edited by markcincinnati; 05-19-2017 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:04 AM
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I would really feel badly with you driving mine, knowing you'd hate the interior color and all.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
I would really feel badly with you driving mine, knowing you'd hate the interior color and all.
That's ok, anything for my AW buddies.

Besides, "hate" is a strong word.

I'll take one without a red interior especially if I get to melt off a few hundred bucks worth of someone else's tire treads and burn off some brake pads and warp the front rotors, by golly.

It's the least I can do.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:58 AM
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Talbot,

I just noticed your join date was Jun 2008 and you only have 126 posts. Man, you've got some serious catching up to do. . . .

What made you go into radio silence for 9 years?
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:05 AM
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I dunno. I think it wasn't as much as going into radio silence as much as breaking radio silence. I've been away (from reading forums) for a while, and generally speaking, I tend to be more of a lurker than a talker. Mostly I just started back reading the forums as I got interested in the new B9.

Last edited by Talbot; 05-19-2017 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 05-19-2017, 04:12 PM
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Audi recommend using ESC Sport mode, to allow some wheel slip without a substantial reduction in engine torque output, when driving in snow, very loose surfaces, using snow chains, etc.

BMW and Mercedes (at least AMG models) "automatically" reduce the level of traction control in their Sport settings - but then traction control is more intrusive on those cars.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Glisse View Post
A but then traction control is more intrusive on those cars.
Can confirm this statement. The longer it takes for my car to get in the more I am beginning to notice all the little annoyances in the BMW.
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