Luca has finally found a solution to the Volkswagen’s errant ECU
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All is well with Heidi, which is a relief since she just went through a 30,000km service. The tyres are shot (that’s to be expected) and the brake pads are down to 30 percent efficiency, but the rest is typically bulletproof Volkswagen reliability. A few issues did rear their ugly heads during a recent track day though.
Although the drive itself was balanced and the handling precise, the hot laps were actually a bit boring, the aftermath of the GTI’s previously discussed German ECU interfering when it really doesn’t need to for the sake of ‘safety’, even when it’s been disconnected unusually. I also found that road tyres on-track are not the best idea, since they tend to overheat quite quickly. To avoid destroying them altogether consequently requires quite a lot of patience rather than out and out lairiness. And in a very, that’s quite appropriate for the Mk. VII Golf GTI.
Don’t get me wrong. As a piece of engineering, my GTI is a work of art. Going through the motions though is done in a very precise correct way: fast, rather than furious. And occasionally, you can find yourself being taken out of control when you’re…well, out of control.
Let me explain. Last month I took Heidi to Musandam, my belief being that a change in scenery might rip some of the German ‘precision’ out of her. And Musandam is the place to do it. It’s a wonderful stretch of winding tarmac, offering elevation changes, on and off camber turns, sharp and medium radius corners and changeable asphalt. It just begs to be driven in anger, and I wasn’t about to let it down. In the GTI, the electric steering is amazing, the body staying flat and true without adhering to understeer. It’s a machine that lets anyone drive fast, but in an incredibly safe way. Trail braking for instance is punished with electronic intervention, and left foot braking will disconnect power for nearly three seconds, the loss of traction instantly cutting the fuel supply. Fast, not furious. And it’s a little frustrating. The Golf GTI then is a dream car for a 40-plus year old man like myself, but it’s like sailing with Alinghi on three quarter sails; like Tiger Woods playing one handed or David Gilmour doing a Justin Bieber remix. It’s a waste.
There is one-way out though, courtesy of a racing ECU that is being sourced from Switzerland. It does mean Heidi will no longer be truly German in the ‘precise’ way, but frankly, I’m willing to take the risk.
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