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ESP + Understeer


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Morning all,

With GTi No.2 due in a couple of weeks I decided to borrow a colleague's Steel Grey Manual GTI for a week, to 're-acquaint' myself. What can I say, I much prefer it to my current A3!! Actually I have missed my last GTi every day since I had to return it.

However back on topic, ESP + Understeer.

Have any of you brave bunch done any constructive testing to see whether front end grip (in a round a bout situation for example) is different with/without ESP?? During some of my own testing, only with ESP engaged due to me borrowing the car, I found the car seems to be allowed to understeer for a second or two before ESP kicks in, and by this time I have already lifted off and the nose has tucked in. During this process the tail feels as if it is trying to assist the cornering motion by sliding round a touch, but it can't as the ESP has now fully woken up and prevents play.

If I remember correctly the ESP thresholds on the GTi have a wider tolerance before kicking in than a normal golf, is this correct??

Also I'm wondering if the turn in will be improved and a more natural cornering stance will be able to be achieved with ESP disengaged??

I realise disengaging ESP is NOT advisable, and I'm not trying to provoke any attacks from fellow TSNers by merely mentioning doing such a thing on the road, just trying to understand the different handling characteristics the GTi has with/without ESP engaged.

I also believe from, reading various tests, that the ESP on the GTI even though disengaged will reactivate if everything goes horribly, horribly wrong, is this true??

Hopefully you bunch will be able to provide me with some informative feedback on my questions.

Many thanks in advance.

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Hi - Haven't heard from you here for a while. Great that you like the GTI so much.

I would strongly recommend you book a one-day course with CarLimits. Do a 4-person day. muppetboy is trying to get some GTIers together - thread: Here. This thread has a link to the CarLimits site. I suggest you PM muppetboy.

Read something about what Melchior, nhs, stevie_d, and myself felt about the course recently: Here.

Andy Walsh is brilliant and you'll get the opportunity to explore the limits of your GTI in a safe environment. Be warned of tyre wear though and very low mpg!!


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I don't feel I can give you particularly meaningful answers to your specific questions. We spent the day with ESP Off but early on in the day the ESP automatically came back on when I restarted the ignition again and so I did a small amount of driving with ESP on and then realised. In other words the ESP greatly assists safer handling but prevents the degree of feedback you may sometimes desire.

I would have to very consciously conduct tests with ESP On and then Off in the same conditions (on the course) to be able to answer you.

Andrew Walsh (our very highly qualified instructor) mentioned that ABS would always be present even with the EPS Off - assuming I understood him correctly.

One of the other guys may be able to answer you better.

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Red> You're quite correct my friend.

ABS will always be present and I believe that there is a final "safety net" i.e. the ESP is never completely off, but it may as well be as by the time it intervenes in the "off" position you're already going to hit *that* tree smile.gif

The ESP in the Golf is pretty discrete, although I managed to get it flashing yesterday when I "attacked" a back road (I only knew it was working due to the flashing on the dash) and managed to get some air over a bump...Generally it doesn't do anything unless you floor it whilst wet or REALLY push through some corners. However it does activate rather easily if you go over metalworkings under hard braking.

You may feel a little less enjoyment if you are really booting it, but generally there will be no difference as it only intervenes when absolutely necessary.

It depends where you are driving, but on a public road you won't see any advantage in fun levels if you have the ESP off, I'd only turn mine off if I was on a track and there were large run off areas 169144-ok.gif

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Hi Stevie 169144-ok.gif.

Yes, even on dry roads, when you drive hard you'll get the ESP light flashing. Personally I'm glad to be generally 'looked after' by ESP on the roads - The GTI still feels fun to drive and quite frankly my days of putting my BMW at 90 degrees sideways are over!

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