Paul Daimler developed the first car with four-wheel drive as
early as 1907. The 4MATIC system in the current Mercedes-Benz
models is based on cutting-edge technology.
Where four comes out on top.
Since automotive engineers first came up with the idea of distributing the engine's power to all four wheels more than a hundred years ago, this drive concept has experienced an eventful history. Initially used only by the military and in heavy-duty tractors and trucks, 4x4 technology did not establish itself in passenger cars until the mid-1960s. Since then, however, it has been riding a growing wave of popularity. The reasons are clear: all-wheel drive vehicles offer improved safety and
stability in critical situations, better traction on ice, snow and wet roads, greater tractive power when pulling a trailer, and better all-terrain credentials - particularly in the case of off-road vehicles - than equivalent passenger car models with conventional drive.
With 4MATIC, Mercedes-Benz has not only developed the most effective permanent all-wheel drive system, but also accumulated the most extensive technical experience in this area.
It was Paul Daimler who, in 1907, produced the world's first all-wheel drive cross-country vehicle
which went on to secure its place in the history books as the "Dernburg car".
Despite making its debut some 32 years ago, the forefather of the off-road vehicle is still in top form and still unbeatable when it comes to off-road conditions.
Facing up to the harshest of conditions.
In the mid-1980s, Mercedes-Benz presented the first-generation 4MATIC system, which could automatically engage front-wheel drive when required. This was followed in the spring of 1997 by permanent 4MATIC, whose success story began at that time in the E-Class. Since then the Mercedes engineers have been continually refining the system, and perfected it in terms of comfort and driving dynamics such that in 2003 the first S-Class to feature 4MATIC made its debut.
S-Class: fuel consumption (combined): 14.3 - 5.7 l/100 km;
CO2 emissions (combined): 334 - 149 g/km*
Since the summer of 2008, the fourth-generation of the all-wheel drive system has also been available in the CL-Class luxury Coupé. Today's four-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz models combine the talents of 4MATIC with the electronic traction system 4ETS. 4MATIC basically consist of a transfer gear integrated into the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, to split the power distribution between the front and rear axles. This takes place permanently, such that the technology is always ready for action – without the usual reaction delay often required by other all-wheel drive systems.
CO2 emissions (combined): 334 - 224 g/km*
In the spring of 2011 the G-Class was once again crowned "Off-Roader of the Year" – for the eighth time in a row.
Just as powerful as their
Permanent all-wheel drive is not just useful in snow, however. In the wet it enhances road grip and reduces the risk of aquaplaning. Those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel on motorways can also benefit from the ability of four-wheel drive technology to reduce the sensitivity of the car to side winds. Apart from additional weight, these benefits have virtually no negative impact. The latest range of Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC models are just as comfortable and powerful as their rear-drive counterparts. They offer the same boot capacity and the same appointment levels.
And because 4MATIC has become more efficient in recent years, fuel consumption has also been reduced to a level which is only 0.2 to 0.6 litre per 100 km higher than the levels achieved by comparable models using conventional drive technology.