4MATIC vs 4MATIC Plus – difference, pros, and cons

Mercedes 4MATIC is a Mercedes-branded AWD system that comes in a couple of different variations depending on the type of the car and the usage scenario. Every Mercedes car is a little bit different which means that the system can take a few different forms depending on the car in question.

However, the greatest differences lie between AMG models, SUVs, and regular Mercedes consumer cars. AMG models offer a predominantly rear-biased 4MATIC system in order to make the car more agile, more responsive, and more exciting to drive. This also includes the 4MATIC+ system found in range-topping AMG cars like the AMG GT 4-door or the E63 S AMG.

Mercedes SUVs offer a more balanced AWD system that is tuned for traction across all four wheels without emphasizing a specific style of driving. More regular Mercedes models offer 4MATIC systems that are tuned towards comfort and cohesiveness which means that you should not feel a slip even if it occurs.

The 4MATIC+ system is a lot more advanced and is currently the most advanced and ground-breaking AMG-tuned 4MATIC system because it can respond in traction differences in a matter of a few milliseconds, but it does cost more to fix.

Mercedes 4MATIC system in a regular everyday Mercedes car – Pros and Cons

The most basic and balanced 4MATIC system is offered in cars like the Mercedes C300. This system is a base-level system that includes the lowest level of integration because it does not come with 600hp+ engines and is not intended for off-road use.

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This system offers a constant 50/50 torque split between the front and rear axle which means that this system constantly works in a 50:50 torque split state. Whenever the system senses a loss of traction on either the front wheels or the rear wheels, the torque is split adequately in order to provide traction.

Most Mercedes models use this system which means that parts for this system should be the most accessible and cheapest. This system is tuned towards comfort and ease of use which means that it should be the most predictable and less interfering out of all 4MATIC systems.

Drawbacks of these systems are more or less the same as with all the other AWD systems and those are increased costs, increased weight, and decreased fuel efficiency.

Mercedes 4MATIC system in the Mercedes GLE and GLS SUVs – Pros and Cons

SUVs are primarily designed to be utilitarian which means that they should be able to traverse all kinds of terrain without experiencing loss of traction. This means that these systems need to be more responsive and able to send all of the power to either the front or the rear axle.

These systems are called Mercedes 4MATIC fully-variable systems which are designed to respond to complete lack of traction in certain off-roading situations. SUVs like the GLS come with specific GLS features such as the “Bounce” feature which is designed to free you if you get stuck in snow or mud.

These systems tend to carry heavier cars which means that they need to sustain more stress on a daily basis. If the system senses constant slippage, it can send 100% of torque to the axle/wheel with the most grip.

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The drawbacks of this 4MATIC system are the same as with all the other systems which means that it costs a lot to buy and to fix, decreases your already poor SUV economy, and makes the car even heavier.

 Mercedes 4MATIC+ system in Mercedes range-topping AMG performance models – Pros and Cons

The Mercedes 4MATIC+ system is only reserved for the most powerful and fiercest AMG models like the Mercedes E 63 S AMG and the Mercedes GT63 S AMG 4-door. Both of these come with more than 600hp horsepower which makes them extremely fast and capable.

With so much power on tap, Mercedes decided to make these cars AWD. A few years ago, both BMW and Mercedes used to offer their range-topping performance sedans as RWD vehicles, but with 600+hp this became a bit dangerous, especially considering that these cars tend to weigh as much as a moderately sized hotel.

As such, Mercedes came out with 4MATIC+, a system that enables you to completely decouple the front axle and make the car 100% RWD when you want to explore the limits of the car and yourself. However, the rest of the time the system is in sport AWD mode which ensures optimal traction and incredibly fast response times.

This system is the most expensive out of them all and is also the rarest. It affects fuel efficiency, but these AMG models are not designed to be efficient nor cheap to own.

FAQ Section

Is the Mercedes 4MATIC system necessary?

If the Mercedes model you are interested in comes with the 4MATIC system from the factory then this question is more or less irrelevant because you can’t get that car without it. However, for those models that don’t come with 4MATIC out of the factory, it’s safe to say that it is not necessary to opt for it in 99% of situations.

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Most people believe that an AWD system is the most important piece of technology for safe winter driving, but in reality, a set of proper winter rubber is much more important.

Does the 4MATIC system make a Mercedes safer?

The Mercedes 4MATIC system does make the car safer because the car is able to adapt to a loss of traction and thus regain traction quickly. However, many people believe that if you completely lose traction in an AWD car you are hardly ever going to regain it.

That is true for older four-wheel-drive systems but newer AWD systems don’t suffer from those problems. AWD cars are safer, and that’s a fact.

Are AWD cars better performance cars?

It depends on what you value the most out of a performance car. If you want the car to be as fast as possible with the best acceleration times, an AWD system is necessary. However, if you want the car to be lighter and more agile with more feedback, an RWD system is the better option.

Either way, AWD systems are becoming more and more advanced these days in order to make them better in every situation.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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