Mazda has updated its Mazda3 compact sedan and hatchback for 2017 with a technology the automaker calls G-Vectoring Control.
Mazda says G-Vectoring Control, or GVC, varies "engine torque in response to steering inputs in order to provide integrated control of lateral and longitudinal acceleration forces and optimize the vertical load on each wheel for smooth and efficient vehicle motion."
That's how Mazda's engineers describe it; in simpler terms, it means that when the driver turns the steering wheel, the software-based system briefly reduces engine power. That transfers weight onto the front wheels (think of the sensation of being thrust forward in your seat when you step on the brakes) which increases grip. Once that happens, full power is restored to the engine and you carry on your merry way.
At the heart of the system is a technique taught in performance driving schools that encourages a light tap of the brakes before entering a high-speed turn on a racetrack: by helping to "settle" the car's front end, you improve the suspension and tires' ability to make the car do what you expect.
The technique may have been born in racing, but Mazda's point here is more to keep the car's occupants more comfortable by smoothing "acceleration forces acting upon vehicle occupants" and reducing torso sway.
Mazda says GVC also improves stability and traction on wet, snowy and unpaved roads, and was conceived to improve performance no matter what kind of driving you do, citing situations ranging from low-speed urban commutes to emergency maneuvers. Our guess is that in most situations, GVC's influence is going to be pretty subtle, to the point the average driver won't notice it, no matter the driving style. Mazda says the system will be active any time the car is moving, and the driver won't be able to turn it off.
They 2017 Mazda3 will be the first car to get GVC when it arrives in dealerships later this year, followed by the Mazda6 before the system makes its way into the rest of the brand's vehicles.