18 March 2005

Engineering consultancy company Prodrive has created a system which combats the aggressive torquesteer suffered by powerful front-wheel-drive cars. The Banbury-based firm’s Automotive Technology division has developed a new front-wheel-drive version of its Active Torque Dynamics (ATD) stability system.

Using the Ford Focus RS to showcase its technology, Prodrive has replaced the standard limited-slip diff with an active differential that locks when traction is required, but can allow the wheels to turn at different speeds to balance speed and grip. ATD changes the torque running to individual wheels based on information from sensors monitoring the car’s behaviour. On four-wheel-drive cars it senses under- or oversteer and alters the drive to correct this. Prodrive, which runs Subaru’s world rally team, has been working on ATD for around five years, and has demonstrated its capabilities to around half a dozen manufacturers in cars ranging from off-roaders to rear-wheel-drive sports cars. However, its application in a front-wheel drive layout is new.

Although Prodrive won’t offer ATD as an aftermarket item, it says several manufacturers are close to a decision on whether to fit the system as standard, where it would cost around £300 per unit.

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