Driving a Mazda vehicle comes with a prescription for fun. This is one company that has chosen to make sure the driving experience is one of pure engagement and enjoyment from behind the wheel. The challenge for Mazda isn’t in creating a more engaged experience of driving, but in finding a way to make the transitions we make smoother and they are using some interesting technology to do just that. While other car companies seek to create the right blend of autonomous technology to eventually take the wheel out of our hands, Mazda is making it a better experience with the wheel firmly in our grasp.
The challenge they have taken on is to find a way to alter adjustments we make from behind the wheel. Typically when we drive we are always adjusting the vehicle. You may not notice yourself doing this most of the time, but the subtle inputs of different acceleration levels or braking along with steering changes are part of driving. While you may not notice them when you drive because you’re the one creating these inputs, your passengers, especially in the rear seat, feel them.
When we drive there are three steps to every action. First is the input that we give the vehicle which is the steering, braking or accelerating that’s done. The second step is the reaction the vehicle has to the input, which in most vehicles is not immediate or perfect. Because the reaction of the vehicle is less than perfect the third step is the adjustment that’s made to ensure the vehicle will drive where we want it to. These different steps and the need for corrections have made it so we are less confident in our driving on surfaces that aren’t perfect and we feel less of a connection to the vehicle.
In order to assist a car with the jarring effect some of these feedback inputs can cause Mazda has come up with a technology called G-Vectoring Control. This is a software that will give you a better sense of what the first input caused the car to do which can lead to smaller adjustments and eventually help a driver become more in tune with exactly what their vehicle will do and how it will perform overall. In order to make this work what newer Mazda vehicles will be able to do is reduce the engine torque slightly in order to shift the weight to the front wheels and allow for more grip in a turn. Once the adjustment has been made the engine torque is brought back up to its normal number and the weight is shifted back toward the rear of the vehicle to give more stability through the turn.
This new technology isn’t expected to jar you or cause you to feel overconfident in the car, but it does change things in a subtle manner. The torque that’s reduced is only a small amount, up to 15 lb.-ft. which isn’t even a noticeable amount to most people. This system is different than the brake vectoring used on some other vehicles, those are easily noticeable and less natural in their transition from the beginning of a turn to the end of it.
Not only will Mazda use torque reduction to help add control, they are using the engine to improve the handing of their vehicles as well. This is the focus of this torque reduction system and is much easier and less noticeable than traditional braking. The time to reduce the torque is less than a quarter of a second and is more predicable because the power is simply reduced in the engine rather than the brakes being applied.
When will we see this new G-Vectoring Control system? the new Mazda 6 for 2017 will be the first of the lineup to have this software installed. This should make for a much more enjoyable ride in every seat of the Mazda 6 and give you a car that you really want to drive on any road. With this system you will be a more confident driver and more in tune with how your car responds to the inputs you present to it.