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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I currently drive a Leon Cupra (180 bhp) and a month or so ago took a GTI for a test drive with a mate who also owns a Cupra. We agreed that it there was less turbo lag, the car felt more tied down to the road, had sharper steering, and was overall quicker and more fun than our Cupras. All very positive, though engine note perhaps not as good as on MY 03 Cupra. That test was on roads we didn't know but the car felt very secure, planted and encouraged you to press on. Significantly for what I am going to say, it also felt nothing but stable and well balanced when confidence braking gently to wipe excess speed off on sweeping bends.

This morning I took a second hand one for a test drive on roads I know well and overall the car felt a bit less exciting. It was easier to get the tail to step out than on the Cupra -- no problem, but surprising. (Tyres perhaps, Cupra runs on GSD3s.) What was both a problem and surprising was a small "moment".

Here's the scenario: fast left hand bend (6L in rallying terms!), cyclist on apex, no oncoming traffic, possibly a slight camber to the left: gently (NB!) apply brakes for bend and simultaneously steer gently to the right to overtake cyclist. Well, in the Cupra, all would have been fine, but in the GTI suddenly the car starts fishtailing! Both the dealer and I were scared and surprised that the car did that. I asked him if he thought it was me or the car; he said (twice) that he thought that my driving was "excellent", that I was driving the car as it was meant to be driven but that the car had created the problem. Until a week ago he used to drive and sell Scoobies -- this was only the second time he'd been out in a GTI -- so he knows a bit about driver inputs and handling too. He sold his Mini Cooper S Works because it felt similarly unstable when the ESP cut in on braking; in his view the GTI was doing the same thing. Unfortunately the light for ESP cut in was not on so we couldn't tell whether it had come on. But perhaps ESP did cut in and then I tried to drive round it, but either way, the braking was not that hard and I applied the brakes gently on a trailing throttle (I didn't slam it shut!) so as not to upset the balance of the car.

Sorry for the length of the post, but both the dealer and I reckoned this was a definite black mark against an otherwise enjoyable car. Any of you guys have any opinions; have you had similar experiences? Maybe the geometry was a bit out...

Cheers!
 

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Will be getting my Golf GTi later this month so haven't experienced this characteristic in the Golf. However..

I have had similar experiences in a previous Mini Cooper S under similar driving circumstances, ie. braking and steering at the same time. For example, approach to a fast roundabout with a slight bend in the road and braking, car starts 'fishtailing'. Driver training has taught me that braking and cornering should be avoided, braking should be done before a corner and the car should go through the corner balanced. I have to say that when I experienced the fishtailing in the MCS it was due to the fact that I had 'unbalanced' the car in the corner due to my braking, but the resultant fishtailng nevertheless caught me by surprise.

I think that when it happend in the MCS the 'characteristic' was made worse by me trying to correct the feeling of oversteer, in doing so the back end would change direction, I'd then steer in the other direction, the back end would change direction again. etc. etc. Having been surprised by the cars reactions, I subsequently tried the same corner with similar braking but this time resisted the temptation to correct the 'feeling' of oversteer and held the wheel rock steady for the corner and without my 'corrective' inputs and the car did not fishtail. The sensation is fairly well documented on the Mini2.com forums with varying opinions as to the cause of it. My view is that the DSP was doing it stuff, and the driver inputs were causing / exagerating the 'fishtailing'

I've previosuly attended a Airfield driver training day with Andy Walsh (http://www.1stlotus.com/intro.htm). It's an excellent way to explore the handling characteristics of your car by taking it to the limit and beyond without the possible dire consequences of discovering them on the road. I think I'll be booking another visit in the GTi when it arrives [8-|]
 

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Possibly brand new rear tyres that had not been scrubbed in yet. If not, sounds like you were pushing on a bit, and over controlled a bit. The MK5 is definately more "pointy" than a stock leon cupra and would need more gentle corrections to unsettling than the cupra.

Did they chck the car out when you got back?

BTway, that saleman is salesman of the year potential aint he?? His kids may end up starvin with sales techniques like that.[;)]
 

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Hi ,it could be that the human mind trying to control the car[:O] ,while the car computer trying to correct the car balance [:S],this could be the reason of the fishtaillthing ,just my thoughts[:D]
 

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What were the tyre pressures like, if one of the rears were very low or
very high it could cause what you describe, so long as you didnt
mistake it for a bit of lift off oversteer.

As for the mini thats why I hate those cars My mum has one and Ive nealy lost it more than once
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It was a 2nd hand car (selling for bang on or above new book price!) so the tyres were properly scrubbed in. The dealer had not had the opportunity to drive it for himself properly, but he said he'd check it out. I think the moment happened because I tried to correct the ESP's correction of my inputs. To add to my earlier description, the car didn't actually break away. Although most reviewers have liked the ESP, one review I read (can't remember where) criticised it for cutting in too soon. Perhaps it's better on track than on road.

Agreed about the pointiness of the GTI -- an excellent feature and preferable over the cupra's lack of precision; lack of turbo lag is nice too. Interior not really that much better in terms of quality of plastics than Cupra.

Personally I like a dealer who is honest, but he didn't exactly inspire me to buy the car. And we are thinking of getting a WRX with free PPP anyway! Having test driven that on Saturday, it's leagues ahead of the GTI in speed (obviously), in plantedness, and as for that engine note...! Overall, the Scoob was the more thrilling drivers' car. Which to choose? It's a close run thing which comes down to head and heart in the end, I think. But if I wanted a VAG hot hatch, I'd definitely wait for the new Leon Cupra.
 

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First rule of driving fast.....don't brake and turn at the same time,
especially not on a fast corner and definitely not whilst you turn in.
If you do, expect some sideways action [:D]
 

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I dont think it would be his driving, you would expect the car to make a slide in the direction of the cars initial momentum when the brakes go on you would only expect fishtailing if there was an articulated load attached. OR the physics of ths slide were interfered with i.e: put power down, cut power or braking applied unevenly to the wheels - ESP.

The only thing you could say in the cars favour and against the drivers was if his choice of speed and braking was so bad that the cars attempt at correction that resulted in the fishtail was a better end result than his slide not being controlled by the ESP. Having said that it doesn't sound like this is the case since the incident was a surprise at the speed being travelled.

Modern car manufacturers rush out cars these days in this case with a lot power through the front wheels. A different situation - but remember when the Audi TT came out and under certain driving conditions on a bend they were leaving the road dramatically. They are now controlled with various tweaks including electronic. There is no way I'd buy a car whose initial design fundamentals are flawed. I'm not saying that the golf's apparent flaw is that serious but don't assume everything that makes it to market is as it should be !
 

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I experience this in the S3, with the ESP on it feels like lift off oversteer, with the ESP off, that feeling just disappears..

AFAIK, the TT problem was the lack of downforce at the rear at speed, hence the recall and addition of the lip spoiler..
 

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First rule of driving fast.....don't brake and turn at the same time, especially not on a fast corner and definitely not whilst you turn in. If you do, expect some sideways action [:D]
Nowt wrong with trail braking especially in a FWD car, helps em turn in a bit tighter!
 

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I test drove a mk5 GTI today. Car seemd to handle better then my V6
4Motion. Stiffer suspension and I felt more tucked in the seat in the
GTI, my car is on stock supspention and full leather seats (non recaro)
so that was to be expected.

What really surprised me the most was the GTI's tourqe, the power
output of the GTI felt alot like the V6 4Motion! Lots of low-end power
output and then going a bit flat at 6000rpm.

All in all I'm really happy with the new GTI. I'ts driveablity is just
awsome. It's handling is great and with a few upgrades this beast could
be turned into a monster. One thing I did keep thinking about while
driving this car was how much I missed the 4Motion aspect. The GTI's
power output makes spinning them tires a bit too easy :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First rule of driving fast.....don't brake and turn at the same time, especially not on a fast corner and definitely not whilst you turn in. If you do, expect some sideways action [:D]
OK, I think I've learned that rule though I'm prepared to accept that it might have been my bad driving that caused the fishtailing -- it's foolish to let pride get the better of honest assessment of your driving ability, otherwise you're an accident waiting to happen.

But I don't think it was bad driving in this case: a) The inputs were smooth: it was not a sharp stab on the brake (I wasn't trying to provoke the car!), it was more a check brake on entering the bend. b) My Cupra -- which I have tried to provoke -- would not have done the same thing in the same circumstances. c) I checked with the dealer about my driving both immediately after the fishtailing and 20 minutes later when we got back to the forecourt and both times he said it was "excellent" and that there was a weakness in the car (and remember that he's owned and sold Scoobies and has just sold his MCS Works because it did the same thing).

I think the ESP cut in sooner than I was expecting and that my trying to to drive round it caused the 'moment'. However, I suppose that once you've learned its idiosyncracies, that'd be fine. Though to be honest, I'd have preferred the car to have wagged its tail without ESP cutting in because at least if that happens, you instinctively correct it. (Cue happy memories of a Peugeot 306!) If the GTI is your kind of car, it's excellent.

Cheers.
 

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Fair enough....I thought you mean you had to stand on the brakes really
hard mid corner. I've done it before in my car when I've had no choice
(massive combine taking up the whole road round a corner [:p]).
Certainly nowt wrong with trail breaking and leaving a little bit of
brake on.

Perhaps it was the road. Could there have been some oil or petrol on
it...or even slurry or anything like that? That could have meant a
sudden loss of grip which you would naturally correct. As soon as the
wheels passed over the slippery surface, they'd grip again and mean the
correcting steering input was then too much. I've seen it happen in
racing before on oil and it looks like the driver just steered off the
road for no apparent reason [:O]
 

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"it was more a check brake on entering the bend"

Not a particularly good driver then!

Probably the worse thing you can do in any car, always brake in a
straight line, the only pedal you should be touching in a corner is the
throttle pedal.

I have now covered 500 miles in the first week in my GTi and he must of
been driving like a pillock to unsettle it, mine is a beautifully
balanced neutral handling car (as long as you drive within the limits
of it's abilities)
 

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"it was more a check brake on entering the bend"

Not a particularly good driver then!
Carlos will ya give the guy a break! The way you're going on you're coming across as the guy you're giving out about in your posts!!! [:|]
 

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I take it you dont do much rally driving then carlos.

If you really know how to drive a car you can use the brakes mid corner to adjust and control the balance, I will admit you really do have to know what you are doing but dont make over exagerated statements like that which IMO are coming across very aggresively.
 

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Plus are you telling me you never push the car to and beyond its limits ?

If not you are not then IMO you are not enjoying or driving the car to its full potential, have you never spun the wheels never slid the car in anyway shape or form ?
 

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On the track yes, on the road rarely.

Too many accidents are caused by people trying to explore the
limits of their cars, I know I have been there and learn't some
very valuable lessons, the first is that if you want to faster invest
in some high performance tuition,

Sorry but spinning wheels is not really enjoying the car to it's full
potential, but belting around a deserted rooundabout is (especially in
my wifes 330 touring in the wet with the traction control off!)
 

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Spinning the wheels was merely an example of which you obviously do unless you just go round and round the round about with no opposite lock ?[:p]
 
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