Can cars become anymore complicated? Yes. In fact, we’re in a mess of changing times from hybrid electronics to fuel efficiency system; auto developers are racing to incorporate everything possible to make sure modern power is efficiently planted to the ground while confusing everyone in the process. One such way is with Torque Vectoring differentials.
Why would you need this? The ideal is that as a car drives around a corner, all four tires track and create four separate arch’s on the ground. Now since the arch’s are different in size, this means that each tire is spinning at a different speed.
A torque vectoring system can control the maximum or minimum amount of torque individually to any wheel — at any given time. How so? By nothing else than incorporating a computer process which receives signals from driving sensors, that in turn control mechanical actuators at the differential, which then release differential power each axle. All of which happens in milliseconds.
Although the basic concept is nothing new, we’ve been offsetting torque for years with limited slip differentials; Torque Vectoring takes the limited slip process to another level. Originally used in Mitsubishi rally car racing, nowadays variations of this tech are being added to production cars tacked on as a hefty performance upgrade.
One case of this is with the new Ford Focus RS. Developed with an all-wheel drive version of TV, Ford engineers developed their system to give drivers an opportunity to safely drift the vehicle. This is due to the TV system monitoring a mess of inputs including steering wheel inputs, throttle, vehicle tire speeds, vehicle speeds and more.
The system is so advanced, that when set into “Drift Mode,” the car will monitor wheel torque and spin to control vehicle yawing, and eliminate spin out. Thus creating a very sophisticated way to race or just have fun. Ford, is not the first to incorporate this idea, but the first to create a marketing gimmick to increase sales.
Whether you’re out to drift or just drive fast, manufacturers claim that this technology will make a vehicle faster in corners, reducing lap times, and make vehicle safer to drive, but with the average upgrade of $2,500, and an upwards of 400 pounds more of mechanical gear to thrown onto the vehicle, you may be better off utilizing that money to invest in driving school.