[V8] Torsen and Stasis...I've driven them both, for what it's worth
carterjohnson3 at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 12 18:57:49 EDT 2007
I drove a 93 V8Q as my daily driver for about 2 years, and got to know it quite well. I took it to three winter driving schools, though never to the track, and never pushed to hard enough to matter on the street. The Torsen rear/auto combo in the V8 with snow tires is - hands down - the best Audi I've driven in the snow. That includes all the new models save the A8. It was certainly better than my 4000Q, and is better than the 200. I think a lot of that had to do with power to weight ratios, and balance - it was much easier to balance the V8 on throttle than it is the 4000 or 200.
This past fall at Mont Tremblant, I got to drive a fully modded 2.0 Turbo A4, replete with Stasis modded Torsen diffs. In terms of track driving, it was the most oversteering car I've driven on the track, and I've driven quite a few. It oversteered underpower and off power, neutral input, mild turns and hard turns. Part of that was the car setup - 800lb springs in the rear will certainly help when not on full race rubber - but you could also feel the power delivery shift under heavy throttle. It was a neat mod, though I wouldn't want it day to day, as Scott said - it was really intended for track use, and could certainly catch you out if you weren't paying attention. I'm fairly smooth on track, especially when it's not my car, and I had the thing 90 degrees to the direction of travel on the warmup lap, completely unintentionally. It was much like driving the V8 in the snow.
I've also driven RS4s and RS6s, which seem to overly suffer from the high speed/fast turn oscillation. At Tremblant, this is pronouced through turn 6 - approximately 90mph at entry flat on the floor and lots of steering input. Both cars have an uncomfortable understeer/oversteer wiggle they develop at that speed. With some experience under my belt, I didn't lift when this occured, though I could see easily how someone could put one of these cars in a wall if you snapped off the throttle at the wrong time. The B5/B6/B7 S4's I've driven on track don't seem to do this as much - it's more just constant understeer, so I presume the R's have reprogrammed Torsen setups and probably too much power :-)
For track driving, the Stasis setup is very trick, if you can live with it. In the snow and ice, the new cars do WAY too much thinking for me, though in general I'm sure they're safe, there are times when I want the car to oversteer - or even, just to turn - and the new cars simply won't let you. On the new new models, they've gone Daimler - even if you disable the ESP, it stays on.
For what it's worth, that's my input. The V8 stock setup is certainly good, but only with proper tires. In a track situation, I can see wanting to bias that power more to the rear and have maybe a more constant limited slip, though it would be interesting to know what Audi ran for center/rear diffs in the V8 touring cars. I presume they ran a much more rear-biased, locked up setup, given the videos I've seen of those cars turning.
W. Carter Johnson
SileStone/Stone Systems of New England
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