Bounces banished by braininess

Today, chassis and ride engineers tend to call them dampers rather than shock absorbers, but their function hasn’t changed: They’re designed to smooth out sudden, violent deflections from heaves in the road that can judder a car off its driver’s selected line through a corner, right into opposing traffic in extreme cases. Shortening the eyeblink interval from when a chassis absorbs a bump to when it settles back down and steers the car has been an obsession with automotive engineers for pretty much as long as automobiles have been around. Cadillac, and others, have developed technologies over the past couple of decades that have married sensors and computers to mechanical chassis components to form a type of active suspension, one that actually pushes back against road imperfections rather than muddling for a way to smooth them out after the jolt. Cadillac has just unveiled its fourth generation of this discipline.

Cadillac calls its system Magnetic Ride Control, which doesn’t in any way amount to exaggeration. MagneRide 4.0 utilizes accelerometers at each wheel that measure and update changes in the road surface 1,000 times per second, four times quicker than Cadillac’s previous ride technology. The shocks – dampers, if you prefer – are filled with magnetorheological fluid that reacts to rapid changes in electrical inputs, via friction-reducing fluid formulation, which are controlled by a network of electromagnetics. The shock absorbers can thus adjust instantly between their rebound and compression cycles, aided by temperature-sensitive damper-control mapping and magnetic flux control, as the system’s inertial measurement unit constantly and instantly processes other loadings from heavy braking or abrupt cornering. MagneRide 4.0 will be offered both standard and optionally, depending on model, on the 2021 CT4-V, CT5-V, CT5 Sport and Escalade models.

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