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From GM:

TORSEN System Will Help Get SSR Power to the Road
Chevy SSR drivers will know they can count on a great GM small block V8 to motivate those big rear wheels. In addition, SSR will have a true performance car-proven system to make sure that power gets to the road with great traction and control.

The SSR will feature a TORSEN Traction Differential on the rear axle. The TORSEN differential distributes the engine's power to the wheel with the most traction, reacting instantly before any wheel slip can occur. The TORSEN system for the SSR is a close relative to the rear differential developed for the Chevrolet Camaro and is the technology of choice for numerous racing teams.

"The TORSEN differential will work seamlessly with the standard traction control system to give the SSR strong performance in driving manuevers such as aggressive acceleration and cornering and the wide variety of road conditions," says Ted Robertson, Chief Engineer for the Chevy SSR.

The Chevy SSR will feature an engine-based electronic traction control to manage the level of power, while the Torsen differential provides an extra measure of traction with its precise distribution of power. The rear axle ratio for the SSR will be 3.73:1.

An axle differential is located on the rear (rear wheel drive) or front axles (front wheel drive), and distributes the engine's power to the wheels. Most are passive in design, relying on clutches and the inertia of wheel-spin to engage and transfer power to the wheel with the most traction. TORSEN units employ a gearing system that reacts faster. An advanced gearing system senses torque or force feedback from a wheel that is about to slip or skid, and shifts most of the engine's power away - prior to wheel slip - to the wheel with the most traction.

The torque distributing effect of the TORSEN differential is a constant, proportional to the torque on the axle. With minimum torque on the axle, differentiation occurs freely as with an open differential making it easier to maneuver when both rear wheels are on a slippery surface. When operating the vehicle with unequal traction under the rear wheels, the TORSEN differential will apply about 65-70 percent of the total axle torque to the wheel with the greater traction.

The SSR's handling characteristics will benefit from the TORSEN differential, as well. In a cornering manuever, the differential will bias torque to the outside wheel after the inside wheel becomes saturated with torque and begins to slip. The result is smooth handling, strong traction and quicker and safer lane changes.

The TORSEN system is manufactured by Zexel TORSEN of Rochester, N.Y., a subsidiary of Robert Bosch, Inc.
 
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