Merc Driver Aids Praised

MainMan

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Aug 5, 2002
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316
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SLK 320
Not sure I agree

When it snowed last year I remember that the only way I could get any traction at all was to turn the ESP off. The main problem with driving a front engine RWD car in snow is getting the bloody thing moving at all, and the problem is modern tyres. The type of high performance fat radials which are used on most cars nowadays (so that they get good reviews when the journalists take them out on a track) are not suited to snow. 30 years ago we'd have 5.20X13 4J cross plies that had a fraction of the modern tyre's grip - but they actually worked quite well in the snow. And there isn't any gizmo that has been invented that can make up for zero tyre grip.

As for BAS, it's positively dangerous. I experienced this when I drove a new C-class courtesy car and started to brake fairly sharply when approaching a roundabout. Before I knew it I had stopped dead. It was lucky no one was behind as he would have had no chance of avoiding me. Fortunately my SLK either doesn't have it or it isn't working - either way I'm grateful.
 

Steve_Perry

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Jun 3, 2002
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Wales, U.K.
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CLS350CDI Grand Edition
I think that's why most European drivers have a separate set of Winter tyres.

I agree about your comments over ASR/ESP. I find if my car is stationary on a slippy surface I have to turn it off to get the car moving at all otherwise ASR kicks in and the car remains stationary :rolleyes:

As for BAS I agree with your comments on that too, but you do get used to it after a while, which then makes swapping to another car a bit of a mare. Hehe all fun.

S.
 

Satch

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Nov 24, 2003
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S211 E320Cdi Avantgarde Estate & Toyota Land Cruiser
The key to it all is in the article: "slap on a set of snow tyres and carry on driving at exactly the same speed as in the summer."

Modern high performance summer tyres can be woeful in snow but as we now have very good high performance winter tyres available I wonder why the two have not converged more.

I do quite a bit of driving in Southern Germany & Austria and nobody would ever dream of taking a vehicle into the mountains in winter without proper tyres. There are certain areas where it is a legal requirement have winter or winter rated tyres on after 1 November and the "Chain Laws" apply on certain roads so that if there is snow on the road chains must be used as well.

I have a set of winter tyres and although it is a bit of a drag to change them once the snow comes down it really pays off. I got caught out a couple of weeks ago by a sudden snowfall and had to drive home on normal tyres. Only 19 miles but a dreadful journey made worse by the fact that I knew that if I had the winters on I would have been completely untroubled.

On your BAS point, there is a degree of learning built into the system to cope with both the feather & leaden footed. The system is looking for "abnormal" braking force being applied by reference to what it remembers as being the norm and then applies full braking pressure.

Precisely what you describe can happen to me if I drive my current S211 directly after my wife has been using it for a bit and I forget! Does not take long to learn that an oaf is now driving. Conversely, if my wife drives it directly after me, for a little while the BAS system is not going to kick in unless she stands on the pedal with both feet. Still, I would rather have it than not.

:)
 

MainMan

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SLK 320
Satch said:
. Only 19 miles but a dreadful journey made worse by the fact that I knew that if I had the winters on I would have been completely untroubled.
:)
The trouble is that even if you have the right tyres there are still plenty of people who haven't, and they'll jam the roads pretty effectively.

But my point was that electronic gizmos can only do so much and I don't think ESP is useful in very low grip situations - it just gets confused. As for BAS it still sounds dangerous to me. And if you're driving in soft snow you're better off without ABS too, because you stop quicker by locking the wheels and letting them pile up snow in front of them.

I still think that the gridlock we get nowadays in 2" of snow is caused by the modern tyre. They're wide and made out of a rubber compound that doesn't grip at low temperatures, which is a consequence of the requirement for the tyre to have reasonable wear characteristics and grip in summer.
 
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Andy Stanton

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Apr 23, 2003
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Better than BAS, ABS, ESP ETC

Forget all the gizmos built into the car to stop you getting stuck in the snow, I find the best ones are a little closer to home.

It's called PC and ADSL. Always looking for legit excuses to work from home and snow does the trick everytime. I've yet to experience the problems you're talking about ;-)
 

vito113

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Aug 16, 2003
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Emsworth
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One that's too slow…
Ain't that the truth!

MainMan said:
30 years ago we'd have 5.20X13 4J cross plies that had a fraction of the modern tyre's grip - but they actually worked quite well in the snow.

Showing my age here, but too true! Can't recall all the stress about snow when I started driving. Good point about the tyres, my Dolomite Sprint (1976) had 175/70x13 tyres and they were considered wide! Most standard cars had 155x13's and you needed a lot of snow to cause any real problems. Current C180's – 205/60x16's ish…mmm that's a much bigger tyre footprint.

Andy
 

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