Torque shop

These days, I see some cars advertised as having "Torque Vectoring". My car has TCS and ESP. Are these the same?

TCS stands for traction control system. It reduces wheel spin should one wheel lose traction on a slippery surface.

It 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 is electronic stability program, which monitors wheel speeds (among other dynamic parameters), and effects individual braking on any of the four wheels in order to alleviate understeer or oversteer.

Torque vectoring is a little more complex.

It uses electronic control of the 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.

Shreejit Changaroth

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Torque shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe