I did not say it JUST (only) runs one gear lower in S. It also shifts quicker on downshifts and holds lower gears longer during acceleration. But ONE of the things S does (at least on mine) is it tends to run around one gear lower than when in D.I don't think it just runs one gear lower than D. But as you say when I need it I use it, however I rarely use triptronic, and when I do I often forget to change gear!
I agree, I use the TIP a lot when going down hills, especially on winding roads. Last thing I want to do is to chew up my brake pads prematurely.I use TIP more then I use sport. TIP I use mainly for driving down our steep canyons here and saving the brakes to allow the motor to brake for me. I have over 70K on my TDI and still on the original rear pads. Just changed the front pads last year when I turned over 60K. I think there is a lot to be said about using TIP to help slow the car down.
Finally someone who agrees with me. From now on its D on interstates, parking lots and neighborhoods and maybe bumper to bumper traffic. S all other times!I use sport mode everywhere except interstates. The throttle tap to downshift works much better in sport mode than drive. On my 2011 I got 110,000 miles out of my brakes. I let the engine do most of my slowing for corners and slowing down.