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4Matic Explained

The marketing term for an all-wheel drive system created by Mercedes-Benz is 4Matic (stylized as 4MATIC). It is intended to improve traction in slick circumstances. Mercedes-AMG unveiled the 2017 E 63 S sedan together with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ version of the system, which is focused on performance.



The Mercedes-Benz G-Class was made in Austria by Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which is now known as Magna Steyr. Together, the two companies created the four-wheel-drive system.

This technology is almost often seen in Mercedes-Benz vehicles that have an automatic transmission as the standard transmission. In 1987, the W124 series (E Class) saloons (four-door) and estate (station wagon) automobiles had the first iteration of the 4Matic system. It was offered with 6-cylinder gasoline (gasoline) and diesel engines with displacements of 2.6 L and 3.0 L.

Initial Generation

First-generation 4Matic systems used locking center and rear differentials to increase traction in slick weather. The system was intricately controlled electronically and automatically engaged four-wheel drive (4WD). Two clutches are located in the center differential, sometimes referred to as the transfer case. There are three operating modes available thanks to the hydraulically enabled clutches: 2WD (mode 0), where the back axle receives 100% of the available torque while the front axle is decoupled; and two 4WD modes.

modes with a 35/65 front/rear axle torque split (mode 1) or a 50/50 front/rear axle torque split are available (mode 2). If rear wheel slip is still present while the transfer case 50/50 4WD mode 2 is activated, the rear differential lock, formerly known as ASD on Mercedes-Benz vehicles, can also be locked (mode 3). There is no front differential lock because of stability and safety issues. When to intervene, the 4Matic system takes data from the three channel ABS system and a steering wheel angle sensor. If the ABS service brakes are applied, 4WD immediately disengages. The W124 system does not naturally control the engine's throttle. The 4Matic system was produced in two W124 variants: the first method (1986–1991) made use of a mechanical pressure.

The 4Matic system was produced in two variations for the W124: the first (1986–1991 system) utilized a mechanical pressure test lever to hydraulically deactivate the system, while the second (1992–1993) system version used an electrical test switch to cut power to the system. When in test mode, the later system variation permits continuing use of the fitted rear shock self-leveling system (SLS). The multi-plate clutch central differentials were initially plagued by reliability issues and prone to failure; they were decommissioned in 1993.


In 1998/1999, the W210 series reintroduced the 4Matic second generation. The automobiles, which could only be driven in left-hand drive, were once more made at the Austrian Magna-Steyr plant. A full-time 4-wheel drive system with three open differentials up front, in the middle, and in the back was used by the second version of the 4Matic. Using ETS, traction control is accomplished (Electronic Traction System). This uses additional valves in conjunction with the ABS system to monitor and then partially brake any wheel that loses traction. The Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV also uses this much simpler technology.


Since 2008, some 4Matic variants have had genuine AWD, where the system is constantly engaged. The technology is effective at any speed because to sophisticated engine management and ABS technologies that regulate the amount of torque supplied to each wheel.


Mercedes unveiled the 4Matic+ 4WD system in 2016. The front or rear axles can each get all of the available engine torque with this method. The E63 S AMG model of the fifth-generation E-Class has an additional setting that detaches the front axle from the drivetrain, effectively converting it to a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Following the publicity generated by the eponymous setting initially used in the third-generation Ford Focus RS, this has been dubbed "Drift Mode."

The A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, E-Class, G-Class, S-Class sedan and coupé (formerly CL), GLA-Class, GLB-Class, GLC-Class (formerly GLK), GLE-Class (formerly ML), GLS-Class (formerly GL), GT CLA-Class, CLS-Class, Vito and Viano (North American name; Metris), and Sprinter 4x4 are currently equipped with the second and third generation 4MATIC systems The engine and automated stability controls are among these more recent features.

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