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Can you REALLY tell a difference in Sport Mode?

  • Yes, positively

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  • Yes, maybe

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  • Not sure

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  • I don't think so

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Can you really tell a difference in Sport mode? I pick up on a subtle difference in transmission shift points, but only notice if I shift to S when driving. I wonder if Sport mode is more marketing hype than anything much really happening?
 

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Hi CG. I definitely notice a difference in ride stiffness, shift points, steering assist, etc, in my MKZ.

Good luck.
 

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Hi CG. I definitely notice a difference in ride stiffness, shift points, steering assist, etc, in my MKZ.

Good luck.
Yes, same with my 2018 FFS. I think some of it depends on how you're driving, too; in normal commuting, most folks are probably not pushing the car hard enough to really feel a great difference between the modes in many situations. But if you push the car hard you'll definitely feel a difference. To @ColoradoGuy I would recommend this test, though, which is one I've recommended to others as well and was what first led me to appreciate the difference between the modes with regard to the suspension part: Find a long, straight stretch of not-smooth (but not terribly bumpy either) highway, and switch between the sport and drive modes while you're driving it. You should feel a noticeable difference. The Steering, same thing, when you get an opportunity to turn. There's definitely a more "connected" feel in sport mode.
 
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Absolutely. To quantify it: 12.7716 sec @ 109.36 mph in regular drive mode and 12.5044 sec @ 110.48 mph in sport mode in back to back runs.
 

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Can you really tell a difference in Sport mode? I pick up on a subtle difference in transmission shift points, but only notice if I shift to S when driving. I wonder if Sport mode is more marketing hype than anything much really happening?
I had another thought on this as well:

If you have a seismograph, you could run the same test I mentioned earlier (on the straight stretch of road, in both Sport and Drive modes) and graph the vibration on the charts.

However, because of the probability math involved with regard to sample variance, you'd want to increase the sample size considerably; so you'd need to do multiple passes.

Ideally, I think you'd want the stretch of road to be non-smooth but not so rough as to exceed the threshold of detection for your seismograph.

Further, to minimize active effects of the test itself polluting the results, you'd want to interleave the test runs with Drive and Sport modes alternately, as opposed to just running, say, 10 runs of Drive, then 10 runs of Sport.

You would want to do this, if possible, on a road not traveled by others during the test sequences to minimize external factors introducing noise to the test inputs.

I'd be open to other ideas but I think that should give you a pretty good visual representation using hard data with regard to the suspension performance changes by mode.
 

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Actually I like the approach @Shawnski just mentioned better. It's more fun. :cool:
 

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The photo that Engineer posted is accurate.

With respect to the powertain, Sport mode activation switches the transmission shift schedule to Sport mode and also changed the pedal mapping to Sport mode. So when you open the throttle beyond say 20%, the actual opening request is greater than 20%. If you have an Explorer with the Terrain Management System, it does the same thing as Sand mode and Sport mode (makes the throttle very sensitive). The Sport mode shift schedule sets the WOT shift points a bit higher or easier to reach based on throttle position and also keeps the RPMs a bit higher during downshifts. Sport mode also engages rev matched automatic downshifts - so as you are braking into a corner hot, the engine automatically rev matches your downshifts to keep the RPMs higher so you can punch out of the apex in the right powerband without having to shift around. I haven't found a way to access this portion of the tune - it must be in a reserved area. My SHO and Explorer don't have this function in Sport mode. Driver Demand, Spark, Fueling, etc... all remain the same whether you're in Drive or Sport mode - which means you don't get more power in Sport mode.

In the Explorer's Snow mode, the shift schedule is changed to upshift as early as possible and the throttle mapping is less sensitive. This is great if you're driving on a road in covered snow. If you're trying to launch in the snow, or merge onto a slushy road from a stop and need to change 3 or 4 lanes right away with slush in between the lanes, Sand mode actually comes in handy as it makes the throttle ultra sensitive, disables traction control, and uses essentially the Sport mode shift schedule. You can dig yourself out right away and let the AWD mechanically do the work. But Ford conveniently did not equip the Fusion Sport or SHO with the Terrain Management System - although Ford left the lines of code in the SHO if I recall correctly. Ford even used a Sport/Terrain for driver demand on the SHO - so when you shifted into Sport mode, it actually switched Driver demand tables so you could run two "tunes" in essence.

With my SHO, I ran a less-than-stock boost level tune for Drive to maximize fuel economy, and then ran the "just sending it" tune in Sport mode. This isn't directly available/possible for the Fusion Sport or my Explorer, but one of my current experiments is to tweak the pedal mapping so that in Drive, it doesn't use the full driver demand table. Then in Sport mode pedal mapping, it would access the full driver demand table for greater-than-stock boost

Just be glad we have a Sport mode, because the GM cars/SUVs with the same 6F55/8F55 equivalent transmission (6T70/6T80/9Txx) transmissions don't even have Sport mode. Instead they have manual mode which just lets you shift around with the button or paddles. There is a Performance Shift mode that in order to activate, you must drive aggressively, brake hard/enter a corner hot, and then it engages mysteriously. To me, the end result feels like Ford's sport mode where it keeps the RPMs high and the throttle is more sensitive. It sounds like I am making this up but that's what happens on the Malibu and Camaro (not sure if they changed this for later MYs or different trims).
 

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I don’t notice the ride quality much at the drag strip - I’m too busy and there’s no time for contemplation! Haha! I can attest to the benefit of the trans downshifting to aid in braking while in Sport mode because I’m able to take the first turnout every pass. The track appreciates it too; when they are trying to get 200+ street cars down the track, having chuckleheads in 15 second cars coast the extra half mile to the last turnout because they don’t want to wear out their brakes doubles the time it takes to make each run! It also sucks when you’re sitting in staging, stewing in anxiety while someone is taking a sight-seeing tour of the sand trap!
 

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There's this stretch of road with several gentle bumps so at 45 mph, the car will bob up and down. So I did a comparison for Comfort, Normal, and Sport mode.

In my honest opinion, all three modes don't really change the compression mode of the shocks/struts. The impact of hitting the bumps felt the same. The rebound is where things changed. In Comfort mode, the car bobbed up and down continuously for about a few seconds after the last bump. So it rode like a 1980s Caddy, very soft and floaty.

In Normal mode, that bobbing recovered a bit faster. In Sport mode, the bobbing stopped after the last bump. It rode a bit more firmly/stable.
While cornering on fast swooping curves, Sport mode reduces the amount of body roll/lean. In Comfort mode, that body roll/lean can be a bit more than normal.

We aren't talking about the difference between Monroe Sensacraps and magnetorheological shocks here, just slight differences.

I leave it in Comfort mode because I like the floaty feeling. I have to admit, my Explorer XLT has this floaty feeling and on uneven roads, you could almost get sea sick if you are prone to it. LOL
 

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I’ve got 112k+ on the car and replaced the rear shocks once at 100k. I drive in Sport mode so much that the little “S” light in my dash burned out at 65k. I used to drive air-ride Crown Vics - close to 750k miles in them - and I had a 1991 Tbird SC with electronic adjustable suspension. This Fusion is hands down the best balance between handling and comfort IMO. I’m not a great driver who can drive a car at 9/10ths, not even 7/10ths maybe, so I don’t need razor sharp handling. But I drive in the worst kinds of weather on every conceivable type of road, often with passengers, and this car just gets it done!
 

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My Crown Vic with air suspension from the HPP started leaking slowly after about 15 years. Those were just air springs for the rear mainly for load leveling and not handling. The shocks on the Crown Vic are relatively easy to change except for the pre03 inboard shocks. HD Bilsteins were the way to go but I eventually switched to Edelbrock IAS.
 

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Can you really tell a difference in Sport mode? I pick up on a subtle difference in transmission shift points, but only notice if I shift to S when driving. I wonder if Sport mode is more marketing hype than anything much really happening?
Sort mode makes the car much more responsive normal is OK but sport just moves the car to make it much quicker.
 

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I absolutely notice a difference. My route consists of some nice curvy highway for 10 miles before 20 miles of Interstate to get to work. I drive the same route daily, mostly in Normal. So when switching to sport and hitting the curves I immediately notice the difference in handling / engine response / trans behavior.
 

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I drive in S 90% of the time; to me it’s a different car completely. It feels so much more eager and you don’t feel the weight of the the car in the pedal.

I need to get FORScan for the IPC CCD select hack 😔
 

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I drive in S 90% of the time; to me it’s a different car completely. It feels so much more eager and you don’t feel the weight of the the car in the pedal.

I need to get FORScan for the IPC CCD select hack 😔
Is yours a 17 @65dustin ? If it's not you'll want to do the MKZ cluster as well to get that IPC-selectable CCD feature to work.

I just wish there was a way to alter the ignition timing map or that sort of thing based on Sport mode. That would rock. That and transmission pressure, and a few other things would be pretty cool.
 
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@Engineer yes sir, it’s a 17

I want the MKZ cluster as well (just for the noises) but I just dropped $400 on the level 3 tails and I can’t justify it right now 🥺
 
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@Engineer yes sir, it’s a 17

I want the MKZ cluster as well (just for the noises) but I just dropped $400 on the level 3 tails and I can’t justify it right now 🥺
I'm a little jealous, I've been thinking about the level 3 tails myself. Already did the LED reverse lights but I do like the look of the level 3 tails and might do that myself.
 

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In my humble opinion, the level 3’s make it look strikingly similar to a previous generation Jaguar XF/XE and takes it to an entirely new level.

I regularly see Titaniums on 75 in FL and get filled with a jealous rage at, in fact, how much better they look. Can your imagine our cars with the SE projector headlights 🤬

I’m one of those “stock is better” nuts who will max out a DX trim lol
 
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