A fundamental requirement of any car is that it should be able to maintain grip on whatever surface it is being driven on. The more grip the car has, the higher its limits of both traction and cornering.

A car with a very high limit can be driven quickly, if that’s what you want to do. But this isn’t all about performance. You also want a high limit at normal speeds so you can retain control in emergency situations.

Most motorists don’t think much about grip unless they suddenly find they don’t have enough of it. It’s a fascinating subject, though, which we’ll try to explain here in simple but useful terms.

Start slideshow

Read more from David Finlay