Is McLaren Being Smart or Cheap by Skipping a Limited-Slip Differential?

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Some say an open differential offers a raw and unadulterated driving experience, but others say it’s unsafe, even dumb.

The average driver probably doesn’t understand how a differential works, what it does, or what a big impact it has on driving dynamics. If you don’t agree, try to explain to someone how the inside wheel spins at a different rate of speed than the outside wheel during a basic turn. Now watch that person get completely confused.

McLaren 570S

But once you grasp the role a differential plays, it’s hard to comprehend why an exotic ride like the McLaren 570S, or even the multi-million-dollar P1, doesn’t have one. After all, these track-slaying machines are at the pinnacle of handling. So in theory, they should have a limited-slip differential.

This video by Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained shows us how the open differential in the McLaren 570S works. He says it does the job “just fine.” But does it? Can a lightweight car with 572 horsepower going to its rear wheels really do “just fine” with an old-school diff?

McLaren employs a complicated braking software that operates the rear brakes to compensate for the lack of a limited-slip differential. Instead of the differential locking when a tire begins to spin, the system activates the right or rear brake caliper to modulate the spinning tire and keep things under control.


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Yes, it does sound like an overly complicated method to supplement tried-and-true tech. And that’s because it is. It leads us to wonder what McLaren’s logic behind this move is, and if such ideology will change in the near future?
Enjoy this in-depth review of the gorgeous 570S. Hopefully, you’ll find out everything you need to know about its silly open diff.

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