Not all driving assists are designed for safety. As it turns out, some have been painstakingly engineered for the express purpose of making your driving experience a much more engaging and rewarding one.
And no, we're not talking about turning off the AC to give your car a bump in power. Automakers the world over have spent untold amounts of money to develop clever technologies for their sports-oriented machines, be it to shave off precious seconds around the track, or simply to get you from nought to a hundred quicker than you can say "cheese".
For this segment, we've compiled a pair of iconic driver-focused assists that are found in numerous performance vehicles today.
This is perhaps one of the most recognisable assists out there today. As its name suggests, Launch Control brings you quite literally up to speed in the quickest and most efficient way possible. without any of the drama. Originating from the world of motorsports in the 1980s, it has since trickled down to performance road cars.
In order to achieve this, the system will pre-determine the rotations per minute (rpm) that the engine will settle on, once the accelerator and brakes are engaged at standstill. This prevents wear-and-tear and putting unnecessary stress on the mechanical components. Once ready, all the driver has to do is lift off the brake pedal (or clutch if it is a manual transmission car) and keep the car in line.
When the car launches, the system will still be engaged to regulate the power output, preventing any wheelspin or loss of traction from occurring while keeping the acceleration brisk. At the same time, the system will also adjust the gearbox response to be a lot sharper than usual.
Want to burn some rubber around the hairpins in your AWD monster, but not quite as skilled as world-famous tofu shop owner Bunta Fujiwara? Worry not, as some manufacturers have stepped forward with the perfect solution.
To put it simply, the Drift Mode system essentially redirects more power to the rear wheels on an AWD car. On some cars, as much as 70% of the torque is sent to the rear wheels, allowing the driver to easily initiate controlled sideways action with ease. Power is then distributed equally between both of them to sustain smooth drifts, while other driving assists work in the background to keep the car stable.
In short, your vehicle's driving dynamics are altered significantly, transforming from a rather clinical driving-on-rails experience into a far livelier tail-happy one. This feature can be found on many modern hot hatches, including the Mercedes-Benz A45 S AMG and Ford Focus RS.
As always, this list is non-exhaustive, and we will be sure to cover other driving assists and features in future instalments!
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