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Old 07-17-2018, 07:35 PM   #1
JasGTI
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First time feeling ESC. WTF?

It is witchcraft. I was turning into a hard right on a newly paved road I know very well that is a lovely set of switchbacks. I drop a cog, dip into the corner neatly, and suddenly I'm staring at a debadged Mazda3 that was absurdly lowered (think Roomba) coming towards me. As in actually pointed in my direction. I suppose it was being driven by someone who thinks thick double yellow lines in the middle of a road mean "Kiss the apex bra!"

Adrenaline hit, my brain did the thing it does where everything gets really slow around me and complex decisions and calculations are made without me noticing, and my brain determined there was a gap exactly one GTI wide and that this was vastly preferable to slamming on the brakes.

My arms suddenly applied full lock while I started lightly trail braking within a time frame shorter than anything I've ever felt myself do, excluding in my sim rig doing laps in iRacing.

Then things got weird.

Yellow ASR/ESC lights go nuts on the dash. The corners of the car sort of vibrated in a pulsing way that felt more like my iPhone on silent mode than normal "chunk-chunk-chunk" ABS, the wheel went briefly light which was horrifying then suddenly hooked up, and the car felt like it literally rotated about its own axis mid corner, pointed in exactly the correct direction, slipped past the Roomba3, and then just ... carried on.

It was astonishing. This car is astonishing.

Last edited by JasGTI; 07-17-2018 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:26 PM   #2
Jose_Gti
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Was ESC in sport mode or just regular?
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:48 PM   #3
JasGTI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose_Gti View Post
Was ESC in sport mode or just regular?
Regular. When I am just bopping around during a nice day I drive quick, but not on full attack. No need for sport mode. I'm glad it stepped in when it did in this case!

The one thing I'd like to figure out is whether it's the ASR/ESC that sometimes causes... I don't know how to explain it. It happens sometimes under hard acceleration, but isn't wheel spin, that's smooth and controllable, it's like the opposite of ABS. They hook up, then seem to yank violently, let go, yank, it's super jarring.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:51 PM   #4
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ASR feels like:

What happened to the power .... oh ASR light

What you're describing with the violent gripping is wheel hop.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC_451 View Post
ASR feels like:

What happened to the power .... oh ASR light

What you're describing with the violent gripping is wheel hop.
Find an empty parking lot and experiment.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC_451 View Post
ASR feels like:

What happened to the power .... oh ASR light

What you're describing with the violent gripping is wheel hop.
He's talking about ESC, not traction control (ASR).
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Last edited by Hoon; 07-17-2018 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:29 PM   #7
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He uses the phrasing "The one thing I'd like to figure out is whether it's the ASR/ESC..."

So...

Anyway, the ESC doesn't feel like the car violently losing and regaining traction under hard acceleration either. Dunno if my post above was confusing or something.

Last edited by JC_451; 07-17-2018 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:25 PM   #8
JasGTI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC_451 View Post
ASR feels like:

What happened to the power .... oh ASR light

What you're describing with the violent gripping is wheel hop.
Okay, so it has a name. Thanks a ton -- now I can do some reading about it.


BTW to clear things up:

- I meant for this thread to express how impressive I found the ESC having never before had it step in, let alone in a crash-preventing scenario.

- I know ASR tries to keep the wheels from breaking traction due to torque, ESC does what I described which is keep your car pointed in the direction it calculates you want until the laws of physics take over, and ESC Sport means that the threshold for the system deciding to help aim the car is much higher.

- What I couldn't pin down was what JC just described as "wheel hop." I thought it was inherent to the ASR, since technically the wheels aren't spinning and the light tends to blink during hop.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:27 PM   #9
JasGTI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Fed View Post
Find an empty parking lot and experiment.
That is like telling someone asking if root canals hurt to get out a drill and experiment.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:36 PM   #10
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A couple of times I've felt some weird lateral forces in my GTI S which I wasn't sure was XDS or ESC. Like when taking a roundabout at a decent clip, maybe 40mph, then letting off the gas, the car will suddenly nudge more in the direction of the turn, as if it was applying extra help and there was slight lag in it deactivating when I slowed down. Probably XDS? I dunno. It almost feels like sudden power off oversteer, but more subtle.
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:17 PM   #11
Dhecker99
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The most amazing thing to me is that this probably happened within less than a second. The reflexes you get from driving are amazing.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:02 PM   #12
ThatWhiteRabbit
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhecker99 View Post
The most amazing thing to me is that this probably happened within less than a second. The reflexes you get from driving are amazing.
No kidding.

I had to make an abrupt evasive maneuver in my GTI a few months ago and like OP, time seemed to slow down yet I made all the moves without thinking about it. I was going 45mph at the time and had to suddenly veer onto the shoulder to avoid an SUV swerving into my path.

As I was making the maneuver, a part of me worried the GTI couldn't handle it but it didn't miss a beat. Amazing car. ESC light didn't come on, though.
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