I have seen some cars advertised as having Torque Vectoring.
My car has TCS and ESP. Are these the same?
Torque vectoring is a little more complex than traction control (TCS), ESP (electronic stability programme) and ESC (electronic stability control).
Torque vectoring electronically controls the car’s differential and continuously apportions torque to the left or right wheel as conditions demand.
Unlike normal mechanical limited-slip differentials, torque vectoring systems use active actuating devices such as hydraulically pressurised multi-plate clutches to divert torque to a wheel.
The effect is greatly enhanced stability, maximum traction and higher cornering speeds.
The primary aim of TCS is to maximise stability in the interests of safety.
TCS reduces wheel spin if one wheel loses traction on a slippery surface.
Unlike the more complex torque vectoring system, TCS uses the car’s anti-lock braking system to do this.
In a front-wheel-drive car, when the left tyre is, say, on grass and the right one is on tarmac during acceleration, TCS will modulate braking effect on the left, causing the differential to divert torque to the right.
TCS also reduces wheel spin when accelerating in corners, when the less heavily laden wheel tends to lose traction.
ESP, on the other hand, is an electronic stability program.
It monitors wheel speeds (among other dynamic parameters), and effects individual braking on any of the four wheels in order to alleviate understeer or oversteer.
If your vehicle is equipped with torque vectoring, it is probably a high-performance model engineered to deliver good handling.
However, you shouldn’t let any of these systems lull you into pushing your car and yourself too hard – even if you’re on a racetrack.
Remember, whenever you’re driving, your passengers’ lives are in your hands.
As a rule of thumb, never confuse your abilities with your intentions.
It will often lead to disastrous results.