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Torque vectoring is a technology employed in automobile differentials. A differential transfers engine torque to the wheels. Torque vectoring technology provides the differential with the ability to vary the torque to each wheel. This method of power transfer has recently become popular in all-wheel drive vehicles.[1] Some newer front-wheel drive vehicles also have a basic torque vectoring differential. As technology in the automotive industry improves, more vehicles are equipped with torque vectoring differentials. This allows for the wheels to grip the road for better launch and handling.


The phrase "Torque Vectoring" was first used by Ricardo in 2006 SAE 2006-01-0818 in relation to their driveline technologies. The torque vectoring idea builds on the basic principles of a standard differential. A torque vectoring differential performs basic differential tasks while also transmitting torque independently between wheels. This torque transferring ability improves handling and traction in almost any situation. Torque vectoring differentials were originally used in racing. Mitsubishi rally cars were some of the earliest to use the technology.[2] The technology has slowly developed and is now being implemented in a small variety of production vehicles. The most common use of torque vectoring in automobiles today is in all-wheel drive vehicles.

Functional descriptionEdit

The idea and implementation of torque vectoring are both complex. The main goal of torque vectoring is to independently vary torque to each wheel. Differentials generally consist of only mechanical components. A torque vectoring differential requires an electronic monitoring system in addition to standard mechanical components. This electronic system tells the differential when and how to vary the torque. Due to the number of wheels that receive power, a front or rear wheel drive differential is less complex than an all-wheel drive differential. The impact of torque distribution is the generation of yaw moment arising from longitudinal forces and changes to the lateral resistance generated by each tyre. Applying more longitudinal force reduces the lateral resistance that can be generated. The specific driving condition dictates what the trade-off should be to either damp or excite yaw acceleration. The function is independent of technology and could be achieved by driveline devices for a conventional powertrain, or with electrical torque sources. Then comes the practical element of integration with brake stability functions for both fun and safety.

Front/rear wheel driveEdit

Torque vectoring differentials on front or rear wheel drive vehicles are less complex, yet share many of the same benefits as all-wheel drive differentials. The differential only varies torque between two wheels. The electronic monitoring system only monitors two wheels, making it less complex. A front-wheel drive differential must take into account several factors. It must monitor rotational and steering angle of the wheels. As these factors vary during driving, different forces are exerted on the wheels. The differential monitors these forces, and adjusts torque accordingly. Many front-wheel drive differentials can increase or decrease torque transmitted to a certain wheel.[3] This ability improves a vehicle’s capability to maintain traction in poor weather conditions. When one wheel begins to slip, the differential can reduce the torque to that wheel, effectively braking the wheel. The differential also increases torque to the opposite wheel, helping balance the power output and keep the vehicle stable. A rear-wheel drive torque vectoring differential works similarly to a front-wheel drive differential.

All-wheel driveEdit

Most torque vectoring differentials are on all-wheel drive vehicles. A basic torque vectoring differential varies torque between the front and rear wheels. This means that, under normal driving conditions, the front wheels receive a set percentage of the engine torque, and the rear wheels receive the rest. If needed, the differential can transfer more torque between the front and rear wheels to improve vehicle performance.

For example, a vehicle might have a standard torque distribution of 90% to the front wheels and 10% to the rear. When necessary, the differential changes the distribution to 50/50. This new distribution spreads the torque more evenly between all four wheels. Having more even torque distribution increases the vehicle’s traction.[4]

There are more advanced torque vectoring differentials as well. These differentials build on basic torque transfer between front and rear wheels. They add the capability to transfer torque between individual wheels. This provides an even more effective method of improving handling characteristics. The differential monitors each wheel independently, and distributes available torque to match current conditions.

Electric vehiclesEdit

In an electric vehicle all-wheel drive can be implemented with two independent electric motors, one for each axle. In this case the torque vectoring between the front and rear axles is just a matter of electronically controlling the power distribution between the two motors, which can be done on a millisecond scale.[5]

Torque vectoring is even more effective if it is actuated through two electric motor drives located on the same axle, as this configuration can be used for shaping the vehicle understeer characteristic and improving the transient response of the vehicle.[6][7] A special transmission unit is used in the experimental car MUTE of the Technical University of Munich, where the bigger motor is providing the driving power and the smaller for the torque vectoring functionality. The detailed control system of the torque vectoring is described in the doctoral thesis of Dr.-Ing. Michael Graf.[8] In case of electric vehicles with four electric motor drives, the same total wheel torque and yaw moment can be generated through an infinite number of wheel torque distributions. Energy efficiency can be used as a criterion for allocating the torques among the individual wheels.[9][10]

Specific implementationsEdit

Active Yaw Control by MitsubishiEdit

Active Yaw Control (AYC) is an automobile feature that uses an active differential to transfer torque to the wheels that have the best grip on the road. Unlike traditional mechanical limited-slip differentials, an AYC is electronically controlled.[11][12]

AYC was designed by Mitsubishi Motors, first introduced in the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV. It has been included in certain models of every subsequent generation, and was also used in the VR-4 variant of the eighth generation Mitsubishi Galant sedan and Legnum wagon. Later developments led to S-AYC (Super-Active Yaw Control), first introduced on the Evolution VIII, utilizing a planetary gearset which could support an even greater torque bias than the previous system.[13][14] AYC and S-AYC have also been seen in several Mitsubishi concept cars based on the underpinnings of the Lancer Evo, such as the CZ3 Tarmac and Tarmac Spyder, the Montero Evolution, the RPM 7000, and the Concept-X.[15]

Active yaw control is based on a computer-controlled rear differential which can actively split torque based on input from various accelerometers in the vehicle measuring longitudinal and lateral g forces, steering, brakes and throttle position.[12] Where ABS brakes are fitted they too are included in the input parameters. It accomplishes this via two hydraulic clutches which can limit torque on individual axles. This system should not be confused with stability control systems which utilize the braking system of a vehicle by individually braking certain wheels to rotate and slow the car (such as Electronic brakeforce distribution). AYC is a performance-oriented system which aims to increase cornering speeds.

Torque Vectoring Differential by LexusEdit

Lexus developed an electronic limited slip differential for their F models which distributes torque to either wheel based on steering angle, acceleration, wheel slip and G-force. It has various modes for different scenarios such as a slalom mode.

Dynamic Performance Control by BMWEdit

The BMW torque vectoring system is called Dynamic Performance Control.

Quattro with torque vectoring by AudiEdit

Audi produced a torque vectoring system capable of varying the torque received by any wheel of the vehicle: quattro with torque vectoring. This allows each wheel to receive independent torque amounts to increase the overall performance of the vehicle.

SLS AMG Electric Drive by MercedesEdit

In 2012, Mercedes introduced the SLS AMG Electric Drive. Mercedes engineers were able to make the system work with a higher traction torque level on the outer wheels than on the inner wheels during cornering, in order to tighten the turning radius.[16][17]

Super Handling All-Wheel Drive by AcuraEdit

Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) can transfer power between front and rear and vary the amount of torque transmitted to each rear wheel. The front wheels, however, do not receive different amounts of torque.[18]

Rear wheels are also over spun by a slight percentage compared to front wheels. This implies some constant slippage of the clutches in the rear differential while driving in straight line. The reason behind this system is to allow the external rear wheel to apply a yaw moment to the car chassis while cornering.

Intelligent Variable Torque Management Four-wheel drive (i-VTM4) by HondaEdit

Honda’s i-VTM4 and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system also have a torque-vectoring function that can apportion torque to the left or right rear wheels to aid in cornering.[19][20]

All 2017–present Honda Ridgelines with AWD will utilize Honda’s i-VTM4™ torque vectoring AWD technology.[21]

Ford Focus RS Drift ModeEdit

The Ford Focus mk III RS GKN Driveline All-Wheel Drive includes a Drift Mode, intended to make drifting easier by transmitting more torque (up to 45%) to the outside rear wheel in a turn, with a total of 70% to the rear axle.[22][23]

All Wheel Torque Vectoring System (RAWTV) by RimacEdit

The Rimac All Wheel Torque Vectoring (AWTV) uses one drive motor per wheel allowing braking or acceleration torque to each wheel to be controlled independently. This system replaces ABS, TCS and ESP making the vehicle more agile, responsive.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ireson, Nelson (Dec 28, 2010). "The 2012 Ford Focus Gets Torque Vectoring, We're Not Thrilled". Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  2. ^ "Torque Vectoring and Active Differential". 2009-11-22. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  3. ^ "Torque Vectoring" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Torque Vectoring: The Hyper-Smart, Fuel-Efficient Future of All-Wheel Drive". Popular Mechanics. 2009-10-01. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  5. ^ Davies, Alex (2014-10-10). "The Model D Is Tesla's Most Powerful Car Ever, Plus Autopilot". Retrieved 2014-10-11. Musk said the added efficiency is thanks to the electronic system that will shift power between the front and rear motors from one millisecond to the next, so each is always operating at its most efficient point.
  6. ^ De Novellis, L.; Sorniotti, A.; Gruber, P.; Orus, J.; Rodríguez, J.M.; Theunissen, J.; De Smet, J. (2015). "Direct Yaw Moment Control Actuated through Electric Drivetrains and Friction Brakes: Theoretical Design and Experimental Assessment". Mechatronics. 26: 1–15. doi:10.1016/j.mechatronics.2014.12.003.
  7. ^ Goggia, T., Sorniotti, A., De Novellis, L., Ferrara, A., Gruber, P., Theunissen, J., Steenbeke, D., Knauder, B., Zehetner, J. 'Integral Sliding Mode for the Torque-Vectoring Control of Fully Electric Vehicles: Theoretical Design and Experimental Assessment', IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, 2014 (
  8. ^ Graf M. 'Methode zur Erstellung und Absicherung einer modellbasierten Sollvorgabe für Fahrdynamikregelsysteme', Technical University of Munich, 2014(
  9. ^ De Novellis, L., Sorniotti, A., Gruber, P. 'Wheel Torque Distribution Criteria for Electric Vehicles With Torque-Vectoring Differentials', IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, vol.63 (4), pp. 1593-1602, 2013(
  10. ^ Chen, Y., Wang, J. 'Fast and Global Optimal Energy-Efficient Control Allocation With Applications to Over-Actuated Electric Ground Vehicles', IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol.20 (5), pp. 1202-1211, 2012(
  11. ^ Mitsubishi Technical Features: Active Yaw Control Archived April 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Mitsubishi Motors UK website.
  12. ^ a b "What is Active Yaw Control (AYC)?", Mitsubishi Lancer Register FAQ.
  13. ^ "Latest MMC Technologies and Future Goals" Archived May 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Mitsubishi Motors website.
  14. ^ "Development of Super AYC" Archived November 12, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Yuichi Ushiroda, Kaoru Sawase, Naoki Takahashi, Keiji Suzuki & Kunihiro Manabe, Mitsubishi Motors website.
  15. ^ "Mitsubishi Concept Cars" Archived 2007-02-05 at the Wayback Machine, MMNA website.
  16. ^ "Harris Helps Us Understand Negative Torque with Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell Test". 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  17. ^ "Mercedes SLS Electric Drive (2013) sets new Nürburgring lap record". 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  18. ^ "2012 Acura TL | Features | Performance". Retrieved 2012-03-12.
  19. ^ "2016 Honda Pilot;". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  20. ^ "Honda Develops World's First Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive Available this fall in the Acura RL (North America) and the Legend (Japan)". 2004-04-01. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
  21. ^ "All-Wheel-Drive 2017 Honda Ridgeline Outsmarts Bad Road". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  22. ^ "Ford Focus RS drift | GKN technology 2016 | GKN Grou". Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  23. ^ "Audi Sport boss slams Drift Mode". Retrieved 2018-04-28.