Car care

What does 4Matic mean? What’s special about this Mercedes system?

4Matic is a full-time four-wheel drive system (AWD – All-wheel Driving) developed by Mercedes-Benz automobile company. The name 4Matic is derived from a combination of 4-wheel and automatic drive systems . 4Matic was first introduced by Mercedes in 1987 on the 4-door W124 (E Class) car. Currently, most Mercedes-Benz models use this drive system.

What does 4Matic mean? What's special about this Mercedes system?
What does 4Matic mean? What’s special about this Mercedes system?

Structure and operating principle of 4Matic

The structure of the 4 Matic system includes:

  • The power distribution box located inside the transmission helps transmit power to the wheels
  • The center anti-slip differential helps adjust and balance traction between the front and rear axles
  • Four-wheel electronic traction control system (4-ETS) helps manage and accurately distribute torque to each wheel in different operating conditions. This system will use the same sensors of the ABS anti-lock braking system , ESP electronic balance …


Operating principle of 4Matic:

The 4Matic all-wheel drive system usually operates based on a 45:55 torque distribution between the front and rear axles. Multi-disc center differential limited-slip with locking torque of 50 Nm provides high traction power.

Initially, when the vehicle accelerates, the change in load on the rear axle will be exploited to provide additional torque to the rear axle. Then the torque between the front and rear axle can be flexibly changed with a ratio of 30:70 or 70:30 depending on road surface conditions.

The 4Matic system does not operate independently but is linked with many other automotive safety systems such as: ESP electronic lever system, 4-ETS traction control system , ASR anti-slip system…


In some road conditions, the 4Matic system can automatically detect and prevent the vehicle from skidding. At this time, the electronic traction control system intervenes to adjust to achieve the maximum acceleration to minimize the phenomenon of wheel slippage, ensuring stability when moving.

On slippery and winding roads, the system will adjust the engine torque on the outside wheel to decrease so that the tire has more grip. In case the ASR anti-slip system cannot restore vehicle stability, the ESP electronic stability system will intervene by applying the brakes.



Types of 4Matic systems

4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system

The 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system (4Matic Permanent all‑wheel drive) helps flexibly divide the power of the front and rear axles in a ratio of 45:55 or 50:50. In case the vehicle is detected showing signs of skidding, power will be transmitted to the slower rotating axle. This helps improve traction and vehicle stability.

This is the most commonly used drive system on Mercedes cars today. Some Mercedes car models use this system: Mercedes C-Class , Mercedes E-Class , Mercedes S-Class Mercedes CLS, Mercedes GLC , Mercedes GLE…

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4Matic variable four-wheel drive system

The 4Matic variable all-wheel drive system allows power to be completely variable with the front or rear axle based on actual operating conditions. When moving normally, the front axle will drive. In difficult situations, power will be transmitted to the rear axle and automatically cut off if no longer needed.

Some Mercedes car models use this system: Mercedes B-Class, Mercedes GLA, Mercedes CLA…

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AMG performance 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system

The AMG Performance 4Matic permanent all‑wheel drive system (AMG Performance 4MATIC permanent all‑wheel drive) is a drive system that distributes power between the front and rear axles in a ratio of 33:67 to help the vehicle accelerate quickly. right from start. In case of necessity, to ensure safety, the system will bring all four wheels to maximum traction capacity.

2020 Mercedes Benz 4MATIC System

Some Mercedes car models use this system: Mercedes GLC 43, Mercedes GLE 43…

AMG performance 4Matic variable all-wheel drive system

The AMG Performance 4Matic Variable all-wheel drive system (AMG Performance 4Matic Variable all-wheel drive) operates similarly to the variable four-wheel drive system but in the rear axle is integrated multi-plate clutch with control unit. AMG’s special electronic hydraulic control. This drive system provides the ideal combination of agility, performance and traction.

Some Mercedes car models use this system: Mercedes CLA 45, Mercedes GLA 45…

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Advantages of Mercedes’ 4Matic system

The 4Matic drive system brings many great benefits in terms of safety, performance and economy.

High safety

Mercedes’ 4Matic drive system helps all four wheels receive torque from the engine. Especially depending on the actual operating situation, the torque transmission ratio to the front and rear axle will flexibly change to best suit.

4matic 1 1113600

4Matic does not operate independently but combines with many other safety technologies such as: electronic balance, traction control, anti-slip… The system will automatically activate and adjust to adapt the vehicle to each surface condition. different roads. This helps the vehicle operate stably and safely in many difficult situations such as: driving on corners , driving on slippery roads , driving in the rain , driving on steep mountain passes , bad roads…

Improved operating performance and fuel consumption

Two-wheel drive systems often take up more space and are heavier than single-wheel drive. However, with Mercedes’ 4Matic, the system has a compact design, light weight, and smarter layout.

2020 AMG E COUPE CR 2 4 DR

This helps significantly reduce the overall weight of the vehicle. Thanks to that, the car can achieve stronger performance, providing better fuel economy. According to data from the manufacturer, with the same car model, the version using the 4Matic drive system has fuel consumption equivalent to the rear-wheel drive version.

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