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Golf GTI to get new ESP

2011-03-16 12:00
VW engineers have panders to the brand’s more demanding customers by reconfiguration stability intervention system thresholds for its quickest Golf and Scirocco models.

The presence of brake modulated stability intervention systems, and meddling traction control, has always been an issue for purist drivers, especially in the last five years, as these electronically governed nanny-aids have proliferated.

Keen drivers have poured scorn over those manufacturers who market performance cars, yet dot not enable the stability intervention systems to be fully disengaged. The seminal hot hatch, VW’s Golf GTI has been one of the chief culprits.

When VW’s announced it would engineer and market a specialised line of ‘R’ branded Golfs and Sciroccos, enthusiasts postured a lukewarm reaction to the concept – what was the point of upping power to nearly 200kW, refining the suspension dynamics and upgrading the brakes if the ESP was simply going to spoil the fun?

To address the issue of its ‘ghost in the machine’ ESP calibration (where you can never fully disengage stability intervention), all Golf GTIs and R-badged Scirocco/Golf cars assembled from May 2011will benefit from a set of ESP operational parameters.

VW’s new ESP configuration is a dual-stage system, where depressing the ESP 'off' function once will disable traction control, whilst keeping it depressed for more than 3 seconds will render both stability and traction control inoperative, giving free reign (and full responsibility) to the driver.

A trace of safety net will remain though, as any abrupt brake pedal interaction (especially mid-corner) will summarily reactive the stability control. The left-foot braking issue (a particular frustration for Scirocco and Golf R owners) remains a grey area.

Left to default, VW’s ESP system is set-up to allow greater apexing momentum if drivers use a neat driving style under deceleration, and employ the ‘slow-in, fast-out’ mantra.

So, if you are neat and wish to go quicker, the newfangled Golf GTI and R-line stability systems can be fully disengaged at your better judgement. Nice.


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