Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Magic Buttons on the Jaguar

I knew that I wasn't going to have Corvette-level cornering from the Jaguar, but I am still pretty happy with it.  There are two not well described buttons: one has a checkered flag, which effectively changes the natural state of the car from mild understeer to something a bit more balanced.  I still defaults to understeer but application of the gas pedal can move it to neutral and even mild oversteer.  Very nice.

The other button disables traction control.  The owner's manual indicates it is for advanced drivers.  I suspect that means the ones who understand understeer and oversteer, and aren't going to pass themselves on the left because of an oversteer induced spin (more a problem of rear engine cars like Porsche 911s).

It turns out that it does more than turn off traction control.  It puts it in sports car mode, with much stronger cornering and more abrupt  transmission shifts to go with the more neutral balance.  I doubt it is cornering at Corvette levels, but as I took the ID-44 to ID-55 sweeper, my viscera couldn't tell the difference as they tried to go west while the rest of me went north.

Another discovery: I live near the ridge of a small mountain range.  ID-55 going into Horseshoe Bend drops 1000 feet in about five miles with some parts steeper than the average.  Going into Eagle is a little less steep.  On both roads, cruise control is not sufficient and I either spend a lot of time braking, or I put the transmission in S mode (semiautomatic?) and use the paddle shifters to burn off speed while still using cruise control.

When DSC is disabled, I can put it in S mode and no need to manually shift.  It knows, somehow, to downshift to maintain cruise control.

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