マイブログ リスト

2011年2月21日

Lexus CT 200's lateral dampers

Below there is an interesting article about CT 200h's dynamic dampers.


Why CT 200h Chief Engineer Sam Sadakata thought long and hard about one key feature: dynamic dampers.

OBVIOUSLY, HE THOUGHT about size. Obviously, he thought about the hybrid drive. And obviously, he thought about what kind of driver would be itching to own a Lexus CT 200h when it hits dealerships in a few weeks.

But not so obviously, at least until you get a chance to grab a test drive, is that the vehicle’s chief engineer, “Sam” Sadakata, spent a great deal of time thinking about suspension—or, more precisely, how to keep it in check.

By now, you may have heard about the CT 200h’s version of a selectable driving mode system, which allows you to switch the vehicle between Normal, Eco, and EV modes (aka the “blue light” modes), as well as Sport Mode for the accelerator-inclined—this is the “red light” mode that basically allows the driver to fully capitalize on the CT 200h’s combination of zero-rpm torque and ability to zip around like a jack rabbit.

The sporting proposition is partially the doing of a feature Sadakata and his team spent long hours perfecting: a new kind of suspension damper system that’s key to what Sadakata calls the “fun to drive” aspect of his little luxury hybrid.

THE CONCEPT

The relationship between body rigidity and handling is simple and direct. The more rigid a vehicle’s body, the easier it is to control the unwanted variables of suspension and wheel deflection caused by body flex, or the vehicle’s tendency to lean and sway when you attempt to turn it on a dime.

“So as part of the process of delivering a bit of driving fun, we naturally started off by working on increasing body rigidity,” says Sadakata. “But we ran into difficulties.”