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ABS or no ABS

As far as I know, ABS is intended to help you maintain CONTROL of the car while
decelerating.  Sometimes this comes with an increase in stopping distance.  The
specific examples of loose gravel and snow "wedges" building up under the wheels
are given in the owners manual, I think.

If all you want to do is stop in a shorter distance, straight line, then ABS-off
might not be such a bad choice under some specific conditions.  If you're
planning on maintaining control during that skid, then maybe it's not the hot
ticket.  The snowy/icy parking lot test does not accurately simulate the real
world (at least I hope not) but does build your familiarity with the impact of
the ABS.  On the 200's you get a kick and a loud clang -- not the most pleasant
sensation under braking.

Scott's probably right with the highest Cf on ice being a locked wheel, but
you're not going to change your direction that way.  Skid - vector change -
correction - back into skid is a tough thing.  If you are skidding, then you are
along for the ride until you stop the skid -- by whatever means are most
suitable.  Don't get me wrong here, there are times and places where a
"controlled" skid is preferrable to "controlling" your car right up to impact.

If you are confident in your reactions/abilities then ABS off in the really
slick stuff might be okay.  If you get into an accident though -- don't even
mention the existence of the switch.

Best solution, real world:  when the conditions are bad don't play ProRally.  If
you are driving fast, or simply have the misfortune to be behind someone and are
involved in an accident, then the fingers are going to be pointing your way --
ABS on or off, quattro or not, snow or shine.

Joe Yakubik