Un­in­tended bene its

Hoon­ing-en­hanc­ing e-di turns out to have a bonus tal­ent.

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars - By Chris Chilton

A key com­po­nent in the 245’s goodie bag is an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled lim­ited-slip diff. Push the Oc­tavia hard through some tight turns, par­tic­u­larly on track, and it’s a real help de­liv­er­ing the 242bhp (245ps) to the front wheels. Here’s an­other ben­e­fit: the Oc­tavia’s Pirelli P Zero rub­ber is ter­ri­ble in the snow – but the e-diff brings some com­pen­sa­tion.

A Fer­rari en­gi­neer once told me that dur­ing 458 test­ing if ever a car landed in the gravel they would just grab the lap­top from the pas­sen­ger seat and tell its e-diff to lock solid. The 458 would es­cape the sand with­out need­ing a tow.

I didn’t have a lap­top to hack the Skoda’s ECU but, if I kept the wheels straight and barely touched the throt­tle, the dif­fer­en­tial made sure both wheels turned to­gether in­stead of spin­ning power away, and I man­aged to claw my way past sev­eral other floun­der­ing open-diff cars up steep snow-cov­ered hills (‘Sorry, I’m sure help is on the way!’).

Turn­ing was more tricky – the vRS just wanted to un­der­steer – but there’s no doubt the e-diff saved me from sleep­ing in the car when the Beast from the East hit big in the south west.

If you go down to the woods to­day, leave the low-pro ile tyres at home. But an e-di helps

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