Thursday, 13 March 2008

Here toe-day…

Prodrive is a name more normally associated with rallying Subarus but they are a company full of engineering and marketing expertise.

In a press release today Prodrive announced a system to actively control the toe-in and toe-out of a car’s rear wheels. This is because different behaviour requires different settings. For agility and a responsive feel toe-out (where the wheels point out) is better but for stability at speed toe-in is better. The system developed is designed to work on a simple torsion-beam rear suspension to give the benefits of multi-link (a detestably vague term) suspension at half the cost. At low speed it would point the wheels outwards for a feeling of agility and willingness to change direction; at high speed the rear wheels point inward for stability.

Prodrive toe control

I wonder if Prodrive haven’t missed a trick. After all if you can change the toe-in and toe-out I wonder if you could also steer the rear wheels in the conventional manner. Given Honda’s current fondness for torsion beam rear axles maybe it is time for a revival of four-wheel steering.

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