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4MATIC All-wheel Drive

All-season competence. All-road confidence.

From a menacing winter storm to a challenging corner, 4MATIC all-wheel drive makes the most of available traction by precisely engaging all four wheels. More than letting all four tires do the work equally, 4MATIC features a number of advanced, and quick-thinking innovations to empower each wheel individually as conditions change. So whether you're starting out on a slippery patch, encountering a sudden change in the weather, or even rounding a dry curve, 4MATIC helps you put your best foot forward.

Discover more about 4MATIC all-wheel drive

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Greater control, gripping results

Each wheel fully engaged. Every element fully integrated.

4MATIC is far more than an all-wheel drive mechanism added to a two-wheel drive vehicle. It's fully integrated not just with the drivetrain but the many safety and driving assistance systems of a Mercedes-Benz. Under normal conditions, the compact, lightweight system channels the engine's torque to the front and rear wheels through a center differential, for sporty balance and agile handling. When traction demands change, 4MATIC reacts instantly and expertly to maximize control. By sending power to the wheels that can use it best, it helps you feel a rewarding sense of confidence in any season.  (Disclaimer)

No system, regardless of how advanced, can overcome the laws of physics or correct careless driving. Please always wear your seat belt. Performance is limited by available traction, which snow, ice and other conditions can affect. Always drive carefully, consistent with conditions. Best performance in snow is obtained with winter tires.

4-ETS turns slip into grip, and grip into go.

The 4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS) is an innovation pioneered by Mercedes-Benz that helps send power to gripping wheels if other wheels slip. Using the same wheel-speed sensors as the Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP®), 4-ETS can detect the onset of wheelspin and rapidly pulse the brake at the slipping wheel. This sends torque back to the gripping wheel, which can apply the engine's power to the road. Working automatically on all four wheels, 4-ETS can help get you going even if only one wheel has grip.

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Elegantly simple: the core components of 4MATIC

A transfer case, integrated within the 7-speed automatic transmission, feeds power to the front axles. A limited-slip center differential provides balanced power between the front and rear axles.And the 4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS) uses sensors already in the vehicle for its Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP®),to precisely manage the torque demands of each wheel.

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At home in the harshest conditions.

The advanced 4MATIC all-wheel drive is ready for any type of weather. Now available on virtually every model we make, 4MATIC enables more confident driving during some of winter's harshest days.

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  • 4Matic_2.jpgBy braking a slipping wheel, power is sent to gripping wheels.1
  • 4Matic_3.jpg4MATIC seamlessly optimizes the torque to each wheel.2
  • 4Matic_1.jpg4MATIC helps limit wheelspin and put power to the pavement.3
  • 4Matic_4.jpgSmooth, lightweight 4MATIC enhances balance and efficiency.4
  • 4Matic_5.jpgSUVs feature Downhill Speed Regulation for precise footwork.5

By braking a slipping wheel, power is sent to gripping wheels.

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Changing seasons, challenging roads

From winter's fury to summertime fun.

While 4MATIC shines when the sun doesn't, its lightweight design and quick reflexes enhance the handling of a Mercedes-Benz in any season. From a snow-slicked road to a sweeping, dry curve, 4MATIC helps optimize how each wheel turns torque and traction into confidence and control.  (Disclaimer)

No system, regardless of how advanced, can overcome the laws of physics or correct careless driving. Please always wear your seat belt. Performance is limited by available traction, which snow, ice and other conditions can affect. Always drive carefully, consistent with conditions. Best performance in snow is obtained with winter tires.

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Fact and Friction

The basics of 4MATIC all-wheel drive

Four points of contact

Virtually every element of braking, steering and accelerating is carried out through the four patches where your tires meet the road. The friction between the tires and road surface turns grip into go. But the laws of physics limit the total force (lateral plus longitudinal) that a tire can manage, especially as road conditions change. 4MATIC is designed to achieve the best balance of these forces in every situation.[*4]

Weight distribution

When you brake, it shifts the vehicle's weight toward the front wheels, making them work harder. Acceleration shifts it rearward, while cornering transfers it toward the tires on the outside of a turn. In addition, the road conditions can affect how each wheel grips at any time. 4MATIC responds to all of these factors at once, optimizing the torque at each wheel to the conditions.

Wheel speeds

When driving in a straight line, all four wheels normally rotate at the same rate. Rounding a corner, however, forces the two outside wheels to travel a longer path than the inside wheels. That means the left and right wheels must be able to rotate at different speeds. 4MATIC continually monitors the speed of each wheel to know when it's turning at the proper speed, or not, in every situation.

Mixed-friction surfaces

On a dry, paved road, the traction available to all four tires is generally the same. But a puddle, a patch of ice, or even a loose gravel shoulder can vary the grip of each wheel, all at once. 4MATIC uses a combination of individual brakes and reduction of excess engine output to balance to help send the optimal amount of torque to each wheel.

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An all-wheel drive legacy

Over a century of experience, all over the world.

Having invented the car, the truck and the motorcycle before the turn of the 20th century, it's probably no surprise that Gottlieb Daimler's son Paul, a mechanical engineer himself, first sketched the design for an all-wheel drive (AWD) system in 1903. From this first idea, to such off-road legends as the G-Class and Unimog, to the first 4MATIC sedans 25 years ago, the story of AWD and Mercedes-Benz is indeed a gripping one.

A TIMELINE OF TRACTION
1903 Paul Daimler creates initial designs for an AWD automobile.
1907 Daimler "Dernberg-Wagen" is the first AWD car for everyday use. It also features 4-wheel steering.
1951 Production begins for the Unimog, a 4WD truck initially for agricultural use. Still in production generations later, its go-anywhere capability makes it ideally suited for farming and construction in the most rugged terrains.
1972 Development begins for the Gelåndewagen, a cross-country SUV with the capability for industrial, municipal and military use, along with the comfort and safety for everyday civilian enjoyment.
1978 Introduction of the Antilock Braking System (ABS) lays the foundation for future electronic traction control systems.
1979 Production of the Gelåndewagen, or "G-Model" begins in Graz, Austria, where it remains handcrafted, and known as the G-Class, to this day.
1985 Mercedes-Benz engineers introduce a new passenger-car AWD drive system at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is called 4MATIC.
1987 The W124-series (E-Class) debuts the first 4MATIC models, featuring an electronically lockable differential (ESD).
1997 The M-Class SUV is launched with the first-ever 4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS) among its many innovations.
1999 4-ETS is added to the E-Class 4MATIC sedans and wagons.
2008 A new generation of 4MATIC achieves a system weight of well under 200 lbs. It appears first on the CL550 Coupe.
2012 Today's 4MATIC is available on more than a dozen Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and SUVs in the US, and nearly 50 models around the world, from cars to SUVs to vans, with gasoline, diesel and even hybrid power.

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* Excludes all options, taxes, title registration, $925 transportation charge and dealer preparation fees.

† Stated rates of acceleration are based upon manufacturer's track results and may vary depending on model, environmental and road surface conditions, driving style, elevation and vehicle load.

‡ With optional trailer hitch. Read Operator's Manual before towing. In some states, aftermarket trailer brakes are required. See dealer for details.

4. No system, regardless of how advanced, can overcome the laws of physics or correct careless driving. Please always wear your seat belt. Performance is limited by available traction, which snow, ice and other conditions can affect. Always drive carefully, consistent with conditions. Best performance in snow is obtained with winter tires.