BMW’s New Traction Control System 50 Times Quicker Than Old Setup

3 weeks ago by Anthony Karr 9

BMW i3s

It debuted in the i3s, but is now also ready to work in ICE-powered cars.

When it debuted back in September last year, during the Frankfurt Motor Show, the BMW i3s brought a number of upgrades over the standard i3, including a tweaked suspension and a more powerful 184-horsepower (135-kilowatt) electric motor. In addition, in order to better deliver the instantaneous power, the city car introduced an innovative traction control system.

2018 BMW i3s

2018 BMW i3s

The manufacturer from Bavaria is now announcing that what is likely a recalibrated version of the same system will be fitted to all conventionally-powered BMW and Mini models with gas and diesel engines. It will be available on front-, rear- and all-wheel drive variants and will deliver “noticeably greater assurance and driving pleasure when road conditions make pulling away difficult.”

BMW claims the improved system has a 50 times faster routine than the mechanism it replaces, which is possible because the control process is now calculated directly in the powertrain instead of in a remote unit, like in all conventional systems, requiring long signal paths. The new traction control is said to improve traction and driving stability in “adverse weather and road conditions when pulling away, in active Brake Energy Regeneration phases, and when accelerating out of tight corners.”

In the i3s, in combination with the electric motor and a new Sport mode, the system helps the car reach 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) from a standstill in only 6.8 seconds, which is a pretty decent result for a small city car.

“With their high levels of torque and instantaneous responses to every movement of the accelerator, electric motors already make significantly higher demands on driving stability systems than conventional power units,” Peter Langen, head of Chassis Development at BMW, comments.

With the new system installed, don’t expect to notice anything specific behind the wheel, like really faster cornering or much better grip. Instead, the traction control will secretly work to better channel the power and reduce the energy losses.

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9 responses to "BMW’s New Traction Control System 50 Times Quicker Than Old Setup"

  1. scottf200 says:

    Re: BMW i3s brought a number of upgrades over the standard i3
    I think a tug-of-war between the old and new changed i3s on wet or slick roads would demonstrate the upgrade the most visually

  2. Six Electrics says:

    Non-s i3 traction control was always a bit iffy, cutting power at inconvenient times, but that’s a hallmark of BMW. I’m looking forward to the upgrade.

  3. WARREN says:

    The i3 has remarkable traction under full acceleration on a wet road. I almost never see DSC warnings come on when I rocket away from others at an intersection. Part of the RWD rear motor DNA it shares with a Porsche 911 and other exotics. Would love to show you a side by side comparison with a Bolt under full throttle in the wet from a stand still. Difference is amazing. Check out this you tube video at abut 3:35 to see the i3 in the wet section.

    https://youtu.be/JPC6gC_HOKM

    1. Six Electrics says:

      As it happens, I have both a Bolt and an i3. I agree, from first hand experience, that the i3’s traction control is much better. The Bolt is super fun to drive, but the reason is that it will not hesitate for a second to spin out the front wheels, which is remarkably easy to do for a modern car. I’m actually OK with that.

      The i3, on the other hand, frequently cuts power when accelerating through a curve. I appreciate that it’s attempting to avoid oversteer, but it’s a bit too trigger happy and cuts too much power.

      In a straight line, the i3 is a champ, but will hesitate slightly at the get go.

      1. Six Electrics says:

        As an aside, I cannot wait to try an EV with dual torque vectoring rear motors. That will be wild!

      2. WARREN says:

        Good info. Wheel spin almost guarantees a hit on the 0-60mph times during an instrumented test. I just realized you too are on your 6th EV just as I am?

        1. Six Electrics says:

          Six cars over almost five years. With the Model 3 I might make it seven; we’ll see. The i3 lease is up in two months.

          1. James says:

            We’ll all know when your handle changes to: Seven Electrics.

            Thanks for contributing from your extensive experience.

            Traction nannies are the bane of performance driving or track days, but welcome on slick slippery days for sure. I like knowing my wife has some safeguards especially. In rainy Washington where I live, driving over on oil-slicked road plate, drain or manhole cover has caused our old Prius to literally shut down if you are on the accelerator even a tad. Toyota’s traction control was danger more than a driving aid.

            Warren referencing a 911 in the same sentence with i3 is comical – um, yes they are both RWD unless it’s a Cayenne or Carrera 4 or…But the reference is inane as there are world’s apart in terms of performance and handling.

            Warren whipping out

  4. theBrandler says:

    Seriously? Why not just put a proper 200+hp electric motor in it and make a car that’s actually fast?

    Come on, stop making electric cars as boring as the ICE cars they are supposed to replace. There is no penalty in efficiency for giving us fun!!!

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