Volkswagen are to start rolling out a new ESP system on their hottest models that allows you to fully disable the electronic driver aids.
The new system will be fitted to all Sciroccos and Golf GTIs and Rs built from May, so they should start appearing in showrooms from July. The new ESP set-up is a two-stage system that controls traction control and braking. Pressing the ESP off button once will disable the traction control, while holding it in for more than three seconds will fully disable both traction control and electronic braking systems.
The move is a response to criticism from the motoring press and customers who complained that the driver aids were too sensible and intervened too much, stopping the cars from feeling adjustable and sporty.
However, despite the claims it’s not a complete disabling of aids, the system will re-activate if the brake pedal is pressed in the middle of what the car decides is an emergency. So if the car thinks the driver has lost control and he slams on the brake it will try to pick up the pieces, but if the driver leaves the brake then the system will remain inactive.
The new ESP system is also available on standard Golfs as a no-cost option, but there’s no word about fitting it to the Polo GTI. You never know, we might also see this filtering through to the Seat range.