So here’s a controversial theory: adaptive dampers with different selectable modes are the biggest waste of money for anyone choosing a new car.
It is possible to buy cars that offer a combination of sharp handling, comfortable ride and good body control without resorting to expensive and unnecessary adjustable suspension settings.
The Ford Focus, for example, in standard form is offers an ideal balance of all three.
There are plenty of other cars that also feel good in all of these areas.
However, a large number of cars on sale have had some of their chassis development carried out at the legendary Nordschleife in Germany.
The race circuit, often open to the public, has contributed to the set-up of numerous production cars.
I was amazed to learn on the media launch of the Land Rover Discovery 3 in 2004, that some of the four million miles of development carried out for that vehicle were laps of the Nurburgring.
As ludicrous as using the word ‘sport’ as the name of equipment grades of cars, car manufacturers now assume that we need our vehicles to set a respectable time around the ’Ring in our quieter moments.
Maybe after dropping the children off at school, we’ve got time to fit in a quick track day before arriving at work.
And in order to facilitate your Vauxhall insignia feeling pin-sharp around Adenauer Forst, car manufacturers will sell you this system that will adapt from tackling urban speed humps to hugging the Karussell before taking Sir Jackie Stewart’s advice and aiming for the tallest tree on the exit.
Some cars, no matter how hard the chassis engineers try, have an imperfect ride. Therefore car manufacturers might feel they need to give customers the option of tailoring elements of the car’s on-road behaviour to compensate for shortcomings in certain conditions.
And because car manufacturers are so competitive, they can’t bear a rival to offer something they have no answer to.
Then as mainstream car manufacturers try to combat losing sales to premium cars, they join in.
There is no reason for the Ford Mondeo to offer any kind of adaptive damping control. On 16 or 17-inch wheels, the car had possibly the finest ride and handling balance of any car of its size.
These pieces of kit can set you back £1,000 or more on a new car. Is it money well spent? No. It will not have any serious impact on the car’s resale value. In fact a used car buyer might be put off by it, considering it something that might go wrong and be expensive to fix.
And unless you spend several weekends a year participating in track days (surely more appropriate for sports cars than family cars), you might feel you haven’t had your money’s worth.