Stuttgart/Hochgurgl. The current 4×4 family from Mercedes-Benz comprises 76 models. This means that 4×4 technology tailored to the respective vehicle class is always available – from the compact class model family and the vehicles of the C-, E-, S-, and CLS-Class to the comprehensive range of SUVs and cross-country vehicles of the GLA-, GLK-, M-, GL- and G-Class. Features common to all include high reserves of traction and outstanding agility, along with optimum handling safety and energy efficiency. The pinnacle of the all-wheel drive model range is occupied by a host of powerful high-performance models from Mercedes-AMG: the AMG Performance 4MATIC systems deliver driving dynamics on a high level, superlative driving pleasure, and improved acceleration from a standing start.
At the 4MATIC workshop in Hochgurgl, Austria, Mercedes-Benz displayed an excerpt of its broad range of all-wheel drive vehicles this year. The evolution of the all-wheel drive system in recent decades is illustrated in Hochgurgl by a 4×4 milestone: an E-Class Estate of model series 124 from 1989. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system celebrated its world premiere in this model series almost three decades ago at the International Motor Show in 1985.
A significant part of the success of the compact class model family from Mercedes-Benz is due to the 4MATIC versions, which excel with exemplary efficiency despite the improved traction. In the recently revised B-Class the all-wheel drive fun and safety now already starts at 130 g CO2/km for the B 200 CDI 4MATIC. On location in Hochgurgl was the GLA-Class, which is optionally also available with the new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution. In addition, the new CLA Shooting Brake will be complementing the Mercedes-Benz model range when sales commence in January 2015. The newcomer will already be available as a CLA 250 4MATIC and as a top-of-the-line CLA 45 AMG 4MATIC model from the market launch in March.
Also all-new is the V-Class with permanent all-wheel drive. The V 250 BlueTEC 4MATIC comes to the starting line in December 2014. The V-Class features the same all-wheel drive system as the C- and S-Class, which are also the focus of the 4MATIC workshop.
The all-wheel drive system of the compact class family
The members of the new compact class family from Mercedes-Benz such as the CLA- and GLA-Class come optionally equipped with the new generation of the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution.
Among the innovative components of this new 4MATIC system are the power take-off to the rear axle, which is integrated into the 7G-DCT automated dual clutch transmission, and the rear differential with integrated, hydraulically actuated multi-disc clutch. This set-up allows fully variable distribution of the drive torque between the front and rear axles. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight compared with the competition, and high efficiency. As with their front-wheel drive counterparts, all 4MATIC models also boast good energy efficiency.
The new 4MATIC is combined with the 7G-DCT seven-speed automated dual clutch transmission. The power flow to the rear drive train is provided by a compact power take-off unit (PTU) which is fully integrated into the main transmission and supplied with lubricant from the latter’s oil circuit. This configuration gives rise to substantial weight advantages over competitor systems that branch off power by means of an add-on component with its own oil circuit. In conjunction with the friction-minimised tapered roller bearings, the PTU thus achieves an excellent level of efficiency.