Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?
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    Bertha D Blues's Avatar
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    Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    I’m trying to determine the differences between Touring and Sport modes. What am I missing here? I’ve searched forums for descriptions of what sport mode does. I’ve read things like: improved throttle response, increased steering effort, MRC stiffness (I don’t have MRC), aggressive high-RPM sound, different transmission shift logic and PAL. Some contributors to these forums seem to feel the difference but I don’t; and believe me, I’ve tried.

    I’m an engineer. Testing and product evaluations are things I do on a regular basis. I’m accustomed to using calibrated testing equipment but if I had to bring out the accelerometers or force gauges to tell the differences between modes, then what’s the point. In my tests of what I listed above, I’ve found:

    Improved throttle response – Part and full-throttle reaction are the same.

    Increased steering effort – Using one finger against the steering wheel spoke, the force required is unchanged. (This was at lower speeds where it was safe. I wasn’t about to try that at highway speeds.)

    High RPM sound – Really, who wrote that? Unless intake runners change length or mufflers cut out…

    Transmission shift logic – At 60 mph cruise a 50% throttle input caused a downshift from 6th to 3rd with the same shift feel. Same for wide-open-throttle at 60. From a standing start and WOT shift rpm and firmness was unchanged.

    PAL – This has never downshifted no matter how hard I drove into or through a curve.

    I would appreciate anyone’s input. Bert

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    Sir CussFreq is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    It's definitely not a placebo. I can certainly feel the difference in steering (steering's nice and tight to begin with, but it does stiffen up a bit further), and when I switch from Tour to Sport on the feeder here by my house, I can really feel the difference in the suspension (I have MRC). Suddenly I can feel every bump in the road.

    As for PAL, it's not going to downshift if you're accelerating. It downshifts as you're braking and keeps you in the powerband. You can feel the downshifts just by cruising to a stop, but I guess it's more aggressive when you throw in some steering (I'm at 1500 miles - can test more after the break-in period). I even throw it in neutral just to avoid the downshifts when I'm approaching certain turns in my commute.

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    Atswatcher is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    It is possible you need the performance trim and above to have more aggressive sport mode ECU tuning.

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atswatcher View Post
    It is possible you need the performance trim and above to have more aggressive sport mode ECU tuning.
    No, I have a 2.0 Standard and you get it

    ----------

    If you drive relatively calmly, the only difference between Sport and Tour that I've seen is there is less slippage in the torque converter in Sport (the revs climb fairly linearly with speed) and it will downshift an extra gear vs. Touring at the same throttle effort. I agree the steering feels basically the same.

    The thing I've noticed is that there are two things that make the car transform in Sport mode, two aggressive acceleration events within a reasonable period of time (like from one corner of a race track to another), OR one acceleration event that involved high lateral Gs. I can summon the demon from my car in sport mode in either way and it's pretty reliable. I think heavy braking also tickles the algorithm somehow. If you back off and drive normally again it seems to reset after about 5 seconds or so.

    I don't have MRC either but the steering feel does change at higher speeds in Sport vs. Touring. I think you are right it's exactly the same at around 30mph. But at higher speeds there's no doubt it firms up for me.


    Sport Mode is definitely not a placebo, but it doesn't fully come out of the box until you drive like you want it out. Riding around in traffic or city streets will probably never activate it unless you feel like getting arrested.

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Yplus, do you feel the difference? Do I need to come to a stop before changing modes? I must be missing something.

    ----------

    Thanks Yplus. Someone on a CTS forum posted that, as a test, you should drive 40 mph then give it 60-80% throttle for less than one second and back off. Then repeat three times. It is supposed to wake the system up somehow. I might give it a try. I may not be driving hard enough. Bert

    Well that didn't do anything other than discourage me so don't waste your time trying. Bert

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    Drive it like you stole it.....you will feel the difference.
    Yplus and Yplus like this.

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    as far as I understand it sport mode changes the MRC shocks to a stiffer setting and if you have an automatic transmission it will hold the gears longer than normal
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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Thanks Chris. My transmission definitely doesn't hold gears longer in sport mode. I goes to the highest gear to get under 2,000 rpm as soon as possible. There's no downshift difference either. I think that mine isn't working.

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    In the CTS, in addition to holding gears longer, during aggressive driving it will blip the throttle when downshifting and also hold the gear when coming out of the turn. Some people who weren't expecting it said it felt like the transmission was slipping or failed to shift.

    As for firmer steering, in the CTS that occurs when you put the Stability/Traction control in competition mode.

    I would assume that the ATS is comparable or a bit more advanced than the current gen CTS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bertha D Blues
    Thanks Chris. My transmission definitely doesn't hold gears longer in sport mode. I goes to the highest gear to get under 2,000 rpm as soon as possible. There's no downshift difference either. I think that mine isn't working.
    I am a rather straight laced driver... But in my 2.0T premium AWD automatic it DEFINITELY holds gears longer. This is really noticeable even to me and surely more so to anyone more experienced with performance cars.

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    It all depends on throttle position. You let off some and it should up shift.
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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by gohawks63 View Post
    As for firmer steering, in the CTS that occurs when you put the Stability/Traction control in competition mode.

    I would assume that the ATS is comparable or a bit more advanced than the current gen CTS.
    Hmmmm, I need to try that....although is snowing today, so probably not the best day to try it...

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    I get nothing out of sport mode no matter how many tests I do. I tested PAL again this morning on a 15 mph posted curve. I entered at 70, braking hard through the turn and exited at 50. The trans never left 6th gear. I've tested this hard enough to know that if I push it any farther, Onstar will be calling to see if I'm ok.

    I admitted to my wife (I'm too embarassed to admit this to my friends) that I regret buying this ATS. Bert

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bertha D Blues View Post
    I get nothing out of sport mode no matter how many tests I do. I tested PAL again this morning on a 15 mph posted curve. I entered at 70, braking hard through the turn and exited at 50. The trans never left 6th gear. I've tested this hard enough to know that if I push it any farther, Onstar will be calling to see if I'm ok.

    I admitted to my wife (I'm too embarassed to admit this to my friends) that I regret buying this ATS. Bert
    Bert, did you accelerate hard towards that turn before braking, and did you accelerate hard coming out? If you did and it stayed in 6th, then something is defective with your tranny/electronics. Don't regret it, it's a great car, maybe you have an electronics issue.

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    Re: Is “Sport Mode” a placebo? Marketing tool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yplus View Post
    Bert, did you accelerate hard towards that turn before braking, and did you accelerate hard coming out? If you did and it stayed in 6th, then something is defective with your tranny/electronics. Don't regret it, it's a great car, maybe you have an electronics issue.
    Yplus, Yeah, I did that. It was bogged down in 6th when I accelerated out of the turn until it downshifted to, I think, 3rd.

    My regrets are more due to an unrelated problem that I’ve had since new, over 2,000 miles now. A Cadillac engineer told my service rep that they don’t have a fix for it. It could be months, a year or more before a solution is found. In the meantime, I’m underwater on my loan so I’m stuck with this POS for a while.

    I’ve only bought new cars since 1974. This is my first GM car and the first that I’ve regretted buying. Um, sorry for unloading on you guys. Bert

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