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Torsen vs NOT!
My .02 cents,
Last winter before I had a Q of my own I had for the week of Christmas an S6
press car. It was my first time in a Q in the snow so inexperience comes into
play here. And I've posted a similar note to the list before. So.......
So I had a nice blue S6 wagon with the worst of all tires for the snow, the OEM
Z-rated 16" tires. We had snow what seemed like everyday for much of the week.
The S6 would climb any hill I could find. The S6 did not like turning however
or stopping. I nearly slid through several lights with but a 1/2" of wet snow
on the ground! The ABS was trying but I just kept rolling/stopping. Of course I
couldn't turn off the ABS either. So I put it down to the tires. They just
wouldn't stop or steer in the wet snow we get in the SW corner of CT. And then
we had 8-12"s of real snow.
For a Quattro I thought it sucked. I was expecting invincibility. But then
again the only reason I got anywhere while others were stuck was 'cause it was a
Quattro. All in the tires.
The Torsen part of this comes into play 'cause I found that with the tires
leaving me with zero grip the Q system came into play at every corner. The car
would start to turn but then plow/push. Years of RWD cars had me goosing the
gas a bit or lifting to try to get it to turn or rotate. Brakes didn't put any
weight on the front, the front tires were already maxed out as far as grip was
concerned. Adding gas would spin the rears, sending power to the front which
couldn't cope with anything else to do. It went from a FWD to RWD to everything
Now this is with the wrong tire. The list said they had the same experience and
had gotten real snows. I didn't. I muddled through the week as best I could
wishing I had snows. AoA told me if it snows don't drive it!!!!!!!! Oh yea,
just the thing to tell the press.
Then I bought my '88 w/o Torsen. I came with terrible Eagle GAs. They had
tread but hardly snows, but better than Z-rated nasties.
But at least the torque split was the same. Any plowing/pushing etc was
consistant. any lifting/braking/gasing to get the car to do what it needed to
do wasn't thwarted by the smart ass diff changing my plans. It may not be as hi
tech but is is the same everytime.
Now talking torsen or not, and adding the two tires into it is an apples to
But I do like knowing where my torque is going. A torsen car with real snows is
another story and I'd like to try it. I'm sure that when the tires have some
grip in snow that the behavior of the car is different. Comparison on dry
roads? I have no idea and the speeds I'd need to travel to get as much slip as
I got in the snow just 'aint gonna happen.
BTW, following the S6 came an Outback. Like it or not, an Outback vs an S6 with
the Z-rated tires on a snowy road would see the S6 doing the chasing. The
Outback had whatever Michelin tire as OEM and is more suited to snow. I also
found that whatever diff it has makes snow driving fun. Turn in early, aim for
the apex, add gas and the car did a nice drift with the tail coming slightly.
Fun and predictable.