The timing of this development is unsurprising, as Mercedes-Benz is poised to launch its first compact car in the US — the CLA-Class — next summer. The model will make use of the same front-wheel drive platform used in the A-Class and B-Class, but this model will come standard with all-wheel drive. As the automaker’s 4MATIC system had never been available in a front-wheel drive model before, the engineers at Mercedes-Benz developed a new system.
This new system integrates the transmission and the rear-axle driveshaft, and it also features a rear electrohydraulically controlled multi-disk clutch, which enables the system to variably distribute torque between both the front and rear axles. At the extreme end of this, the rear axle can handle 90% of the torque, while the front axle can handle 100%. This enables the drive torque to be shifted in accordance with the situation, so that the vehicle may, in a very real way, respond to the driver’s needs.
This provides some added versatility over the standard 4MATIC system, which allows as much as 70% of the vehicle’s torque to be directed to either axle at a given time.
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable difference that the variable torque offers is switchable drive modes, which can be chosen with a single button press on the dash. ECO mode will focus on fuel economy by directing less torque to the rear axle, while the Sport and Manual modes distribute more torque to the rear axle.
The entire staff at Mercedes-Benz of Hoffman Estates is thrilled about the upcoming CLA-Class, as well as the possibilities offered by this new iteration of the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. Chicagoland drivers who want to learn more, or who need to shop for their next new or pre-owned vehicle, can do so by visiting their dealership (http://www.mercedeshoffman.com/