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Progressive power assist on 184 TDI quattro

Discussion in 'New A3/S3 (8V Chassis)' started by arad85, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Hello all,

    First post. I've spent ALL weekend researching a new purchase and can't find much info on the above. Biggest decision was between s line 2L 184 quattro and S3 stronic. The head won in the end and I decided to get the A3 over the S3 (for a variety of reasons, including likelihood of accumulating license points quickly!). However, in speccing up the A3, there is one option I am not sure about: the progressive power assist. It isn't a mind blowingly expensive upgrade at less than £300, but has anyone who has driven a car with and a car without it got any comments? What does it really do to the steering - my guess is it can't be too bad given it is spec'd as standard on the S3. Is it "worth" £300? Our belief is that this is something which makes the steering lighter around town in parking and traffic, but more direct when pushing it a bit is the primary reason we have spec'd it.

    The car is shared between myself and my partner and our use will be around town and 30 mile commute to/from work (A&B roads plus motorway) plus the occasional burble around the country :whistle2:Current spec is:

    2.0 TDI 184 Quattro S Line 3dr S Tronic
    Hill hold assist
    Progressive power assisted steering
    SD card satellite navigation system
    Audi Sound System with 10 speakers
    Comfort pack - A3 with adaptive cruise control
    Interior light pack - A3 Hatchback/Sportback
    Pearl - Daytona grey
    Tyre pressure monitor
    Electric lumbar support
    Perforated alcantara/leather - Black
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  3. M_D_O_London
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    M_D_O_London Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Good spec there!

    I must admit I've not driven an A3 8V with the Progressive Steering. However, the regular power steering set-up in the A3 is pretty good - decent feel and not too light, (but light enough for parking). Personally, I'd probably spend the £300 on adding in folding mirrors and / or the front parking sensors, (which then also includes the on-screen parking guidance). I find it quite difficult to judge the front of the car in tights spots and the front sensors do help considerably.
    #2
  4. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Damnit... you're not supposed to give me more ideas to spend! (but thanks for the reply and comment on spec. :)) TBH, I tend to reverse park if I can and I don't live anywhere where folding mirrors would help (I have them on my Skoda Superb and never use them and we live in a town with ~50k people in, so not a big urban sprawl or parked on the streets). I've also driven a 184 S-line for a few hours and didn't notice anything untoward in the steering, so would be happy with that. It's kind of an impulse buy and at less than 1% of the purchase price, not too worrying.... I almost spec'd magnetic ride too, but judging from peoples responses that's a bit of a Marmite thing (and not so cheap!!).
    #3
  5. Sherbs
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    Sherbs Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Having driven the S3 for a week I found that sometimes the steering was slightly heavy at low speeds and I didn't notice the benefit when pushing on a bit, personally I'd spend the money on something else. Privacy Glass looks good with Daytona.
    #4
  6. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Brilliant Sherbs - exactly the feedback I was looking for. Many thanks.
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  7. Sherbs
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    Sherbs Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Glad I could help.

    I also wouldn't have Hill Hold with S-Tronic as I don't think its needed, there are others though that would not do without it. S-Tronic like any auto tends to drive the car when the brake is released, so not really needed.
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  8. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I was more thinking of avoiding creep or helping where the auto cutout has cut in more than anything else - and given the price.... Although I am thinking about adaptive headlights - I have these on my Superb and I quite like them.

    Or just saving the money of course. The car is just over 30k with discounts, would be nice to have it be £29xxx
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  9. TDI-line
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    TDI-line Uber Post Whore

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Hi Arad,

    i haven't driven an A3 with the progressive steering, and quite frankly it's something i don't think you need.

    The quattro handles just lovely and i'm just finding out new things each week, and am quite surprised what i can push out of her.

    Also the steering feel can be setup on the MMI, between dyanamic, comfort and auto, aswell as the gear box. I have my individual setting as steering dynamic, and gear box as auto, as i don't want to drive everywhere in S mode.

    I was torn between an S3, as your in there price range, but reality is i need a diesel, so...

    Any questions just ask.

    Btw, the folding mirrors is a must. Each time i lock my car, they fold away, all for £150 notes. Hill hold, nah.
    #8
  10. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I've driven the 184 quattro too and didn't feel there was anything wrong with the steering and I'd forgotten you can set up the steering in the MMI - so thanks for that :)

    Hill hold - I'm in two minds about this. In discussion with the dealer, they said they had one and found it useful as if you need to be quick off at a roundabout, then this will hold you still and compensate for the very slight delay that the auto shutoff gives you with the footbrake depressed - it's a slightly quicker off... It's not that much if I never use it anyway.

    You're the second person who has mentioned folding mirrors... I don't really see a use for them (and would rather save the £150). What am I missing?
    #9
  11. cemerson
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    cemerson Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Pretty much everyone says hill-hold is a must have. Folding mirrors are popular but I agree that if you don't need them then it's probably not worth it. I went for the £250 which also gives you the auto-dimming on the drivers side which I think is pretty good - works really well.
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  12. ivicyrusivi
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    ivicyrusivi Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Living in London, the folding mirrors are a nice touch, but also helps to have the reverse dipping function so I'm less likely to curb the alloys :)
    #11
  13. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I can see why people are questioning hill hold - it is an s-tronic, so "shouldn't" need it, but for the money, it doesn't seem worth worrying about (as I'm not convinced of the auto power off on stop). In final discussions with the dealer... will be ordered tomorrow (they have the build slot on hold overnight :)) :D
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  14. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Good point. I have that on my Skoda, but tend not to use it as we don't often park on the road - either supermarket carparks or on the drive.
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  15. TDI-line
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    TDI-line Uber Post Whore

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    You'll probably find when you want to be quick of the mark, with hill hold or not, the Start-stop kicks in, just adding another factor. :)
    #14
  16. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I've been told the two don't work together - you need to disable the start-stop to use the HH... Don't know how true that is though.
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  17. steeve
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    steeve Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I've driven the 184 A3 but without progressive steering and found the steering an improvement over Audi's of old, there's definitely more feedback.

    I have owned a few cars that had the dreaded sport button, when pressed as well as doing other unecessary stuff it also loaded the steering up too.
    Now the problem I found was that the feeling of the steering changed from what i was used to and it upset my responses and interaction when I was pressing on. It was either leave it in sport all the time or leave the button unpressed all the time.
    The concern I would have is that the steering would feel different at different times, something I personaly wouldnt want. But it's your choice.
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  18. Sootchucker
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    Sootchucker Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I know it's not an A3, but my new Golf GTD has the progressive steering (I guess it will be the same system ?), and it's fantastic.

    takes a few minutes to get used to it but it's really direct in the straight ahead position, but point it into a series of bends, and the amount of steering movement you need to input is vastly reduced (think it's just over 2 turns from lock to lock). Makes the Golf very agile, so can only imagine what a Quattro A3 with all that grip will handle like with it !
    #17
  19. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Rats! You're not supposed to say that!! :D I may have to amend my order within 5 minutes of confirming it ;)
    #18
  20. cemerson
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    cemerson Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    I think they do work together on S-Tronic
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  21. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 21, 2013]
    Here's hoping :)
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  22. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    OK. There's far more information out there on progressive steering for people looking on the Golf. Basically, the further you turn away from centre, the quicker the steering gets, this means you can go around corners with less steering input.

    Back on the list and car now ordered! I also need to keep away from internet forums for the foreseeable future....
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  23. JohnnyM100
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    JohnnyM100 Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Agree with cemerson. I have both and they work together fine. They are actually a really nice combo.

    If you are going to pull out quickly and engine is stopped then would recommend a momentary touch of the accelerator first to start the engine whilst stationary but this is to allow time for the oil pressure to build up before the engine is revved hard, It still works fine if you don't do that though.

    Hold Assist too. "It just works" and with S-tronic you aren't holding it on the footbrake brake to avoid creep. The three (start/stop, Hold Assist, S-tronic) work together really well.

    John.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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  24. Sootchucker
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    Sootchucker Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Agree, again (sorry) comparing my GTD, which DNA wise is 80-90% of all the other MQB platform cars. I opted for DSG (S-Tronic), and the GTD comes with Start / Stop, electroinc handbrake and hill hold assist as standard, and they just work.

    In fact, I prefer the implementation of the stop start better in the Golf than I did in my previous Scirocco. In that, I had to keep my foot on the brake to instigate start/stop and keep pressure on, then as soon as pressure came off the brake pedal, the engine started. In the new Golf, start stop is activated in the same way (i.e. pressing the brake pedal), but you can then remove your foot off the brake pedal totally, and the engine restarts on light application of the accellerator pedal. I much prefer it that way.

    That combined with the electronic handbrake and hill hold means I never ever have to think about the brakes when I'm stopping. When you come to a standstill the auto hold interveins (with a green handbrake symbol in the dash), and ultimately when I turn the ignition off, the green symbol turns red to indicate the full handbrake is activated. Did take me a few days to get used to it and I kept reaching for an non existant handbrake lever , but not driving a car without it seems really old fashioned :yes:
    #23
  25. 97catalunya
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    97catalunya Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Yes they do work together on an S-Tronic, and to good effect too.

    With Hold Assist turned off.
    The car will cut out as you hold the brake and restarts as you lift off the brake (just as it does if you hadn't specced it) then when you park put the car in P and turn on the hand brake.

    With Hold Assist switched on.
    Pull to a stop and the car will cut out, lift your foot off the brake and the car will stay put and engine will stay off, when you need to pull away just put your foot on the throttle engine starts and off you go.
    The engine restarts I'm milliseconds but if you can anticipate pulling away and want instant response (ie pulling onto a roundabout or a T junction) either turn off start stop as you approach or once cut out lightly touch the throttle or press down again on the brake and the engine will cut back in and hold assist will still be on.
    When parking as soon as you open the door or release your seatbelt the car will swap from hold assist to handbrake automatically, so no need to ever touch the handbrake.

    If you turn hold assist on or off the car will remember the last state it was in, so don't like it turn it off and it will be like you never had it and all you have done is lost £90. But if you do like it (and you will) you will realise it was £90 well spent. Why it isn't standard I don't know?

    I hope that is a good enough explanation of how HA and S-Tronic works together as I didn't know either until the day I collected the car ;)
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  26. snowfree52
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    snowfree52 Full LED baby !

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    never tried progressive steering but in all the magazine they talk about it badly (top gear, Evo , chris harris ...) they all say the same :

    they turn if off because you never know how the car will handle. for that reason I didn't take it

    anyway, even if it was good, I don't think it's that big of a deal if I don't have it.

    there are several other things I would miss first !
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  27. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Then they don't have the same understanding as me as to what the progressive steering is.

    In my understanding, it is simply a steering rack with variable ratio. That is, the further away you are from the centre point, the faster the wheels will turn. I don't think this is configurable in any way, and it means you need a "normal" movement to change directions slowly, but that you can make more aggressive steering (where you would normally move the wheel a long way to go around corners) with much less steering input (it reduces full lock from 2.75 to 2.1 turns whilst still retaining the same ratio at centre so the car isn't skittish on the straight road). This makes the car "normal" on relatively straight roads, but much more responsive going around corners.

    What I think you can setup on the car is how light or heavy the feel back through the wheel is. I don't think you can actually turn off progressive steering, you can just change the feeling back through the wheel.

    After realising it's standard on the GTD (see Sootchuckers post) and googling that, there's a lot more information in those reviews about what it is and how it works. I had removed it from my spec. but readded once I (think) I understood what it is and how it works.
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  28. snowfree52
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    snowfree52 Full LED baby !

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
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  29. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    That's interesting. I also found this:



    from here:
    https://www.audi-mediaservices.com/...gen/2013/02/13/the_new_audi_s3_sportback.html which claims that the steering is new. Also, the video you posted is called dynamic steering - so I'm not sure it is exactly the same (here is the S8 dynamic steering page: ESP - Handling & control - Audi S8 - Audi UK and the S3 has something Audi call servotronic power steering: Handling & Control – Audi S3 – Audi UK)

    Who knows what it actually is... I've added it and confirmed my order - if it's good enough to be standard on the S3 (and I've seen enough reviews praising it) then it'll be OK on an A3 :)
    #28
  30. snakehips
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    snakehips Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    When I was playing with the configurator, deleting sports suspension made progressive steering unavailable so I couldn't have it. Any idea why this should have been the case?
    #29
  31. cemerson
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    cemerson Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    Just not compatible with each other I guess. It kinda makes sense that people interested in one would be interested in the other.
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  32. Dylock
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    Dylock Active Member

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    [Oct 22, 2013]
    On my s3 I love the steering, as mentioned cornering is fantastic. Of coarse I don't know jest it's like without it but I love the feel it provides.

    In regards to the stronic h/h I have not got it and can't say it bothers me. Someone mentioned the creep, that's easy to control, at the lights a light brake press will give you anything from stationary to creep and a bit heavier will make start stop kick in so no creep. When you release the brake, engine starts then 3 seconds later it will creep or move as soon as you hit the throttle. All works perfectly I think.
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  33. arad85
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    arad85 Active Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    The key difference with HH according to:

    So, without HH, stop-start restarts automatically when you take your foot off the brake. With HH, it restarts once you put your foot on the throttle. Whilst the first clearly works, the second sounds better to me
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  34. Toadoftoadhall
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    Toadoftoadhall Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Had the HHA on S3 s-tronic and manual test cars and it was fantastic - you just dont have to think about it. Had an ordinary A3 a few months ago without it and it was not as easy as HHA. In my opinion for such a small amount of money it is a must and besides that it visually balances and improves the look of the central area.

    Dylock mentions 3 seconds for restart? Perhaps a mis-type but that sounds very long, on my S3 test drives once throttle was touched it restarted and i reckon was moving in a second, as near as instantaneous as you could get. Perhaps this is the hidden advantage of HHA???
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  35. Toadoftoadhall
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    Toadoftoadhall Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Regards Progressive Steering, it was very good on my S3 tests. Steering was at times too light for my liking in lesser modes but dynamic mode was the best feeling more natural setting for me and worked really well.

    Here is the official description from original S3 press release:

    "Another innovation in the Audi S3 is progressive steering. The steering rack is geared in such a way that the ratio varies. It is somewhat more indirect around the centre and very direct when steered sharply. For the driver, the result is a pleasantly smooth character when driving straight ahead and fittingly rapid response in tight corners.

    The powerful electric motor providing the servo boost complements the character of the steering system, decreasing its output as speed increases. It consumes no energy when driving straight ahead and thus helps to further reduce fuel consumption. The progressive steering works closely together with various systems on board the new S3, such as the standard rest recommendation and the optional Audi active lane assist and park assist systems."
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  36. dzankizakon
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    dzankizakon Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Speaking of steering and start-stop, there is one small complaint I have about it: steering wheel locks when start-stop is activated. It's a bit frustrating if you're trying to make a small angle correction with the steering wheel before you press the gas pedal, but you cannot - start-stop is active. Since the steering is now electromechanical and not hydraulic, it's strange that the steering wheel is locked as all other electrical systems in the car are running fine.
    #35
  37. snakehips
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    snakehips Active Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Actually locked, or just very heavy because it has lost its assistance?
    #36
  38. dzankizakon
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    dzankizakon Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    I'm pretty sure it's locked.

    Also, let's say the start-stop is active, you press the gas pedal and the car starts moving, if the windshield wipers were half-way through the windscreen, they will pause very slightly and continue.. it's not a problem but it's not pretty either. ;-)

    My guess is that they're trying to reduce electrical power consumption as much as possible when activating the engine again...
    #37
  39. 97catalunya
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    97catalunya Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    I thought the same! I could understand with hydraulic power steering but there is no need for it to happen now it is electro mechanical.
    #38
  40. dzankizakon
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    dzankizakon Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    I know this is completely off-topic, but since we're mentioning start-stop, there's another niggle that caused me embarrassment while at a traffic stop recently.

    If you remove the seat belt while the start-stop is active, the car beeps and tells you something about start-stop being disabled, and that you need to re-start the car manually. Normally, you move the s-tronic lever to P, press STOP, press START, move the lever back to D and drive off. Unfortunately, the first time this happened, it took me 10 seconds to figure out just what happened (I just removed the seat belt to take out phone from my front pocket) and another 10 to re-start the car. Luckily, there was only one car behind me and he wasn't in a hurry.

    The moral of the story: if you need to take out something from a pocket on a traffic light, disable start-stop first! :)
    #39
  41. cuke2u
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    cuke2u Well-Known Member

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    [Oct 23, 2013]
    Hi, my ford does the same. This is a good feature because if it wasn't there then, if you happen to leave the car and someone jumps into the driving seat and drives off, the car cannot be restarted without the fob present
    #40

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