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Audi A4 (B9) 2016-2022 Owner's Manual: Electronic Stabilization Control


Electronic Stabilization Control (ESC) supports driver safety. It reduces the risk of slipping and improves driving stability. ESC detects critical situations, such as if the vehicle is oversteering or understeering, or if the wheels are spinning.

The brakes are applied or the motor torque is reduced in order to stabilize the vehicle.

The following stabilization functions are integrated into the ESC, among others:

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS prevents the wheels from locking when braking.

The vehicle can still be steered even during hard braking. Apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Do not pump the pedal.

A pulsing in the brake pedal indicates that the system is acting to stabilize the vehicle.

Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR)

ASR reduces drive power when the wheels begin spinning and adapts the power to the road conditions.

This will increase the driving stability.

Electronic Differential Lock (EDL)

The EDL applies the brakes to wheels that are slipping and transfers the drive power to the other wheels. This function is not available at higher speeds.

In extreme cases, EDL automatically switches off to keep the brake on the braked wheel from overheating.

The vehicle is still functioning correctly.

EDL will switch on again automatically when conditions have returned to normal.

Selective wheel torque control

Selective wheel torque control is used when driving on curves. Braking is targeted toward the wheels on the inside of the curve as needed. This allows more precise driving in curves.

Power steering

The ESC can also support vehicle stability through steering.



The ABS and ASR only function correctly when all four wheels have a similar wear condition.

Different tire sizes can lead to a reduction in motor power.


The button (or , depending on the model) for controlling the ESC is located in the center console, in front of the selector lever. The ESC is automatically switched on when the ignition is switched on.

Limiting ESC

In some situations, it may make sense to limit the stabilizing function of the ESC so that the wheels can spin, for example to rock a vehicle to free it when it is stuck or to drive with snow chains. The ESC can also be limited to provide more sporty driving characteristics with fewer stabilizing corrective actions.

When ESC is limited, allroad models switch to Offroad mode. All other model versions switch to Sport mode. Sport mode is particularly suited for driving on an even road surface. Offroad mode is designed for uneven terrain or loose ground.

Switching off ESC

For a more active control of the vehicle where the stabilizing functions of the ESC cannot intervene, the ESC can be switched off.




The following messages may appear depending on the vehicle equipment:

Stabilization control (ESC/ ABS): malfunction! See owner's manual

There is a malfunction in the ABS or EDL. This also causes the ESC to malfunction. The brakes still function with their normal power, but ABS is not active.

Drive to an authorized Audi dealer or authorized Audi Service Facility immediately to have the malfunction corrected.

Other indicator lights

If blinks while driving, the ESC is actively regulating.

Operating noises may occur. If the indicator light stays on, the ESC has been switched off due to system needs. The indicator light turns off when the system is fully functional.

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