Re: All-wood steering wheel - yay or nay? (Chris V)
Though I agree with the dry principles of polished wood being grippy...I think the subject at hand would be the safety of such a polished wood steering wheel when a person has a sweaty palm, or maybe just took a sip of that perspiring big gulp 44ozer, and reaches up to the wheel with their wet hand to make an emergency maneuver. Ever dragged a wet hand across that same piece of glass? Wet that eraser before putting it to the wood, and it will go like Kristi Yamaguchi.
The same goes for those all metal pedals...fine grip when dry, but jump in your car on a rainy day and hit those pedals...you can't keep your foot on it. Even with rubber-coated pedals, if you get in your car after a car wash, and you have rubber soled shoes, you can't hit the pedals.
So I think that is the primary reason the all-wood steering wheels fell out of favor in most vehicles. Newer luxury cars bagan introducing partial wood and leather wheels...and the people who are not properly trained at driving may still put their hands on the wood portion of those wheels when driving - however the partial wood wheels were specifically designed with leather in the proper hand positions for driving, and the wood merely decorating the mostly unused portion of the wheel rim.
Now - I would think a company as advanced as Audi would take driving control in into consideration, and make an all-wood wheel which had some form of grippy surface at the rear of the rim, so a wand wrapped around the rim could still grip in wet or dry conditions. It would not be hard to put a coating or clear applique over the driving positions and all around the back of the rim which would have a rough surface for grip.
Anyway, I do like the look of the rim, having come from a sports-car backround in which most cars in our garage had all wood steering wheels. And I personally think wood looks both rich and sporting if done tastefully - since wood and sports cars go back to the 20s together. I have wood in my car, and I like it...and I would not mind a half wood wheel in my car now, Iif I could find one with the factory VW center airbag.