Mercedes-Benz has the technical capability to deploy an autonomous drift mode for its high-performance AMG models.
That’s right, the German car-maker is considering a donut button – fire and forget.
In essence, owners of these potentially tyre-frying vehicles would be able to hit the drift and/or donut button to engage instant slideways action – hands and feet free.
Mercedes-Benz global vehicle development boss Joerg Bartels told carsales that autonomous drifting is technically possible and could be implemented on future high-performance vehicles.
“An automatic drift mode? Yes,” he said, adding that dual- or quad-motor electric vehicles would be the ideal platform for such functionality.
“Yeah sure. We could do this because we always know what situation the car is in. We have sensors for everything, so we know that.
“You need to have a lot of space for something like this and the only thing is, besides the torque vectoring, you would need drive by wire because you may need to take the steering away [from the driver],” he said.
“Maybe it’s coming,” he shrugged.
Drift modes are nothing new but they’ve been hit-and-miss over the years.
Vehicles like the 2016 Ford Focus RS made it relatively easy while the new 2022 Audi RS 3 drift mode requires a lot of driver skill to perfect – check out our videos in the links to see how they function.
But if Mercedes-Benz and its AMG hot shop pull the trigger on a fully autonomous drift mode, average drivers everywhere will be able to look something like hoon hero Ken Block himself.
The senior Benz executive wouldn’t go so far as to confirm anything tangible was in development at present, but explained that the remarkable G-Turn function available for the upcoming all-electric G-Wagon (aka 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQG), allowing the SUV to pivot on the spot, is an example of how a new era of EV powertrain tech will change the high-performance landscape.
He also admitted that some of the innovative EV features we’ll see over the course of this decade are just for sh*ts and giggles. In particular the G-Turn.
“This is something you would do and show your neighbour but it’s not very helpful on rough conditions or during dynamic driving…” confessed the Benz development chief.
The big and boxy Mercedes-Benz EQG is set to launch in 2024 and will be equipped with four electric motors, one for each wheel (but not hub motors).
Together with specially tailored torque vectoring systems and clever power allocation software, they open up a pandora’s box of novelty dance moves, potentially including perfect, hands-free, tyre-shredding drifts – away from public roads of course.