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4MATIC all-wheel drive: Engageable or permanent – all-wheel drive for any surface

Oct 30, 2017
Stuttgart / Chile

Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive, which is available on the X 220 d 4MATIC and X 250 d 4MATIC diesel models, masters many types of terrain. With it, the front wheels can be engaged or disengaged by electric means depending on the surface. From mid-2018 Mercedes-Benz will also make its pickup available with permanent all-wheel drive. This ensures that the X-Class delivers excellent performance and traction, even at top speed on roads. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will only be offered in conjunction with the six-cylinder engine. Off-road, both 4MATIC variants benefit from the same superior assertiveness thanks to the low-range gearing and optional differential lock on the rear axle.

Featuring long spring travel and ground clearance of up to 222 millimetres, the suspension is the means by which the all-wheel drive system transmits all its power to the ground. Whether with the engageable or permanent version of 4MATIC all-wheel drive – the X-Class effortlessly climbs gradients of up to 45 degrees, goes through water of depths up to 60 centimetres and masterfully copes with tilt angles of almost 50 degrees.

Impressive off-road capabilities

Fording depth

up to 600 mm

Ground clearance

Front axle 202 mm

Rear axle 222 mm for suspension with raised ground clearance

Angle of



up to 29°/24°

up to 30°/25° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Maximum tilt

up to 49.8°

up to 49° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Ramp breakover angle

up to 20.4°

up to 22° for suspension with raised ground clearance

Maximum gradeability

up to 100%

Engageable 4MATIC all-wheel drive – maximum traction off-road

Engageable all-wheel drive can be activated using a rotary switch while driving at speeds up to 100 km/h. When this happens, the dog clutch closes and the drive force is distributed to the front and rear axles at a fixed ratio of 50:50. There is a choice of two all-wheel drive programs: 4H for easy off-road driving and the low-range 4L mode for challenging terrain such as sand or deep mud. The reduction gear unit provided as standard then switches on and increases the gear ratio from 1:1 to 1:2.7. As a result, torque increases and therewith tractive force. As an optional extra, a 100-percent differential lock is available for the rear axle. This is activated by a separate switch in the lower control panel.

Permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive – superior on a wide range of surfaces

The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive system in conjunction with the V6 diesel engine will become available mid-2018. It will give the X-Class's handling a superior, clearly defined edge – for instance in wintry road conditions. In addition, it enables better moving off and accelerating, especially on bad road surfaces or in unfavourable weather conditions. The permanent all-wheel drive system features a two-stage transfer case, which is flange-mounted to the 7G-TRONIC PLUS main transmission. It is fitted with a central differential of planetary design which distributes the drive force between the front and rear axle with a fixed torque distribution of 40:60 percent. Optimum traction is assured by a continuously adjustable longitudinal differential in the transfer case, in the form of an electromechanical multiplate clutch. This ensures that the traction potential of all four wheels is fully realised on demanding terrain.

There are three different all-wheel-drive modes: 4MAT for increased vehicle dynamics, 4H for improved traction off-road. 4L mode (low range) is also selectable, with a reduction gearing of 1:2.9. In addition, a 100-percent differential lock is available for the rear axle if desired. The combination of a controlled longitudinal differential lock (0–100 percent), rear-axle differential and reduction gear delivers good performance both on and off-road.

Downhill Speed Regulation – comfortably mastering any gradient

All the all-wheel drive models come with DSR Downhill Speed Regulation on board as standard. On steep gradients, it applies the brakes to keep the vehicle at a constant defined speed of eight km/h in the 4MAT and 4H all-wheel drive modes and five km/h in 4L mode. When the driver presses the accelerator or brake pedal, DSR switches to passive mode. As soon as the pedal is released and the speed falls below 35 km/h with 4MAT and 4H, or 25 km/h with 4L, it reactivates. At higher speeds, DSR switches into standby mode. It can be switched on and off by a switch in the lower control panel on the centre console.

The Hill Start Assist system is also part of the standard equipment – including all models with rear-wheel drive. It ensures that the process of moving off on uphill gradients can be carried out very comfortably. Brake pressure is maintained for around two seconds after releasing the brake pedal. This enables stress-free transfer of the foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal without allowing the vehicle to roll backwards. The Hill Start Assist system is active even on gentle gradients. It is not activated when moving off on level ground, downhill, or if the handbrake is engaged.