Did you know Mercedes-Benz has been working on all-wheel drive for over 100 years? We didn't. But we recently took a trip out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to spend some time with Mercedes' model lineup, and here's what we learned about its 4Matic all-wheel drive system:
Mercedes' first vehicle with all-wheel drive was the Dernburg Wagen in 1907. It was meant for off-roading in Africa and weighed approximately 3.6 tons. A lot has changed since that time and the first Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive system to be called 4Matic debuted in 1987.
The first-generation 4Matic system weighs approximately 300 pounds and was an on-demand system—meaning power went to the rear wheels at all times and when the rear wheels slipped, the system would engage and send power to the front axle. The 4Matic system is currently in its fourth generation and weighs a mere 150 pounds; that's half of what the original system weighed. It is a full-time system where power is being sent to all four wheels at all times.
While power is typically split with 45 percent going to the front and 55 percent to the rear, it can be split up to 30 percent in one direction and 70 percent in another, both ways.
The system is actually integrated into the seven-speed transmission casing, which makes for a lighter, more efficient overall system. This also reduces NVH which equates to a better overall customer experience.
Mercedes tells us that the take rate for the 4Matic option on its vehicles is 35 percent to 45 percent across its model range, with nearly half of all E Class sedans optioned with it.
At this point, every Mercedes-Benz passenger car outside of the SLK, SLS, and SL,features the option of 4Matic all-wheel drive.
For more information on Mercedes' 4Matic system, make sure you watch our video.