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S means Sport Mode on a car. The S knob or button on your car does not stand for speed, as many people believe. On S mode, your car tends to behave differently compared to drive mode also known as D mode. Sports mode is also known as Dynamic mode in car models like Land rover.

Your car throttle response increases by maintaining a higher RPM because more fuel is injected into the cylinders when the car is on S mode. The gear will also stay engaged a while longer before shifting.

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what does s mean on a car

S mode dates back to the early years of car manufacturing. The gas pedal was connected directly to the throttle using a cable. This meant the vehicle used more fuel without achieving much speed increases even after accelerating due to the direct correlation of the throttle and gas pedal.

This means if you pressed the accelerator down 20% then the throttle would only open 20% and if you pressed it all the way down only then would the throttle open all the way.

Several years down the line engineers would develop a better throttle map by manipulating the linkages. Modern cars pushed quite a huge amount of gas at the first peddle press.

This improved the acceleration and throttle response to a degree. For instance, if you pressed the peddle down 10%, the throttle would open about 20%.

In the 1980s the electronic throttle control was fast gaining traction. This eliminated the direct link using a cable, instead, a computer known today as an ECU or ECM used to detect when and how far down the gas pedal was pressed. The computer then sends signals to an electric motor to open the throttle and let fuel into the engine’s combustion chamber

Soon after engineers realized that they could push the limit on the accelerator and throttle relationship through computer programing, they developed a more aggressive accelerator/ throttle map and that is how sport mode was born.

Although you might use more fuel with sport mode, it makes your car feel sportier and offers better road handling using launch control technology.

Sports mode makes your acceleration faster, maintain a high RPM, tighter feel on the steering and a stiffer suspension. The engine might rev a little more producing a sporty sound.

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Landau bars are metallic ornaments used to identify a foldable roof structure on vehicles or a landau carriage.

Landau, Germany, is where the first convertible carriages were invented. These carriages had a fabric top that people could lower and raise. This carriage was named Landau after Landau city.

Early coachbuilders made the horse-drawn carriages before being adopted into the automotive industry. The automotive industry adopted the landaulet body style. This meant a cover on the front seat was installed, and the rear of the vehicle’s body was open.

Later on, in 1950, the Cabrio coach was introduced by car manufactures like Volkswagen and Mercedes . The Cabrio coach was a semi convertible.

The roof fabric retracted to the back, and the structure mounting the fabric remained. Nash motor too adopt this model calling it the Rambler landau, subsequently introducing the Nash Rambler Landau in 1951.

Car manufacturers in the early 1900s adopted the name Landau to identify vehicles with closed body types with a foldable rear. S shaped landau joints were used for this purpose.

In United States, car manufactures started using fabrics like leather on the quarter part of the rear roof to make them look like convertibles. They would use S-shaped Landau bars. The S-shaped landau bars were no longer used to open and close fabric tops only.

They became decorative ornaments too. An example of this was the 1964 Ford Thunderbird.

Fast forward to today’s automatic car era, S-shaped Landau bars are still used for the same purposes.

They are most common on funeral hearses, especially in the US. You will find them installed on car windows or doors. They can pretty much be installed anywhere on the car.

For aesthetic purposes, the S-shaped landau bars have evolved from just metallic bars. These days you can find well-polished shiny S-shaped bars made from different materials, like stainless steel, vinyl and others will go as far as installing gold landau bars.

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Wrap Up

What Does S Mean On A Car? The short answer is sport mode.

Although sport mode makes your car feel sportier, it does not increase horsepower. Your car efficiency will improve by increasing acceleration, but at what cost? You might end up using more fuel and your visit to the tire center more frequent. However, sports mode is becoming very popular among enthusiasts.

Taking your car for repair? Don’t forget to ask for your loaner car. Read what does SE mean on a car here.

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