What does 4Matic mean on a Mercedes?

what does 4matic mean on mercedes

When choosing a Mercedes of choice, you have to choose the right drivetrain for a memorable driving experience. One of the popular drivetrains that Mercedes features are the 4Matic AWD/4WD systems.

4Matic is the Mercedes jargon for their all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive systems. These systems are found on select car models in different Mercedes classes, such as A, B, C, E, S, G, CLA, CLS, GLE, GLC and more. The system is very efficient in performance as it gives the car more traction on different surfaces.

History of the Mercedes 4Matic system

It’s not surprising that the 4Matic system was first introduced by Daimler’s son, Paul Daimler. He came up with this concept in 1903, where he sketched the first designs of the 4Matic AWD system. However, his concept was not implemented until 1907 when the first AWD car was manufactured.

The car was referred to as the Daimler “Dernberg-Wagen.” In 1951, the system was incorporated in the Unimog, which was an all-terrain vehicle. Later on, in 1972, the all-wheel-drive system was featured in the Gelandewagen, a cross-country SUV. And in 1985, the Mercedes engineers featured it in a new passenger-car. It was finally named 4Matic in 1987.

The 4Matic drivetrain system became very popular when it was featured in the Mercedes-Benz W124-series E-Class. In 2008, Mercedes engineers created a new generation of 4Matic that achieved a weight of below 200 pounds, and then it was first incorporated on the Mercedes CL550 Coupe.

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At the moment, 4Matic is incorporated in many Mercedes-Benz vehicles around the globe. People who live in muddy and snowy areas prefer the 4Matic AWD system because of its ease of driving. While off-roaders love the Mercedes 4Matic 4WD SUVs and trucks. 

What makes a 4Matic all-wheel-drive Mercedes special?

If you love driving off-road, picking a Mercedes with a 4Matic AWD system is vital. This is because it will allow you to drive through different terrains with little resistance. Here are some of the things that make the 4Matic AWD system special:

Engages all four wheels

The 4Matic AWD system maximizes traction by engaging all wheels on your car. Furthermore, the system can detect which wheels need more power and directs it to them. This means that you will not struggle to engage only the front or rear wheels at a time, but all the wheels will be used at once if needed.  

Exceptional control

Another reason why the 4Matic AWD system is special is because of its fantastic grip. Since the 4Matic AWD system is integrated into the vehicle, it responds quickly and adjusts accordingly. On top of that, it’s able to anticipate turns, providing the wheels on the outside of the curve greater power. This prevents the car from sliding off the road.


4-ETS in full means a 4-wheel electronic traction system. This system plays a huge role in the effectiveness of the 4Matic AWD system. The 4-ETS helps to detect the start of wheelspin. Next, it quickly pulses the brake at the slipping wheel, directing torque and power back to the gripping wheel to get you out of trouble.

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Outstanding acceleration

Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with 4Matic system accelerate much smoother and faster in extreme weather conditions than vehicles without this system. Therefore, it makes the work of the driver much easier compared to front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

Improved performance

If you want a better performing vehicle, nothing beats a Mercedes-Benz with the 4Matic drivetrain. Since the system gives the wheels more traction, your vehicle will accelerate faster than a regular driving system. If you want even better performance, you can opt for Mercedes AMG vehicles with a 4Matic system.

FAQ about 4Matic

How does the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic All-Wheel-Drive system work?

The Mercedes 4Matic AWD system works by engaging and powering all four wheels to deliver the best traction. This outstanding system can swiftly and accurately adjust for sudden changes without sacrificing performance. It also works efficiently by distributing the engine’s torque evenly to both the front and rear wheels.

So, when conditions change, the compact and lightweight system immediately notices the situation and identifies which wheel(s) needs power for increased traction. As a result, the system provides the wheel with the much-needed torque. The system is also operated by a 4-wheel electronic traction system.

What is the difference between the 4Matic system and the regular system?

The 4Matic system detects driving conditions and adjusts to ensure there is great traction and grip to cruise on. On the contrary, a regular system directs the engine’s torque to the front and rear wheels for sporty balance and exceptional handling. So, 4Matic is great for all driving conditions.

Do all Mercedes-Benz models feature 4Matic?

No, they don’t. However, several Mercedes models have the 4Matic system available. These include A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, and G-Class. Note that the 4Matic system in the C-Class is found in its sedan, coupe, cabriolet, estate, and CLA.

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On the same note, the 4Matic system in the E-Class is found in its sedan and estate models. For the G-Class, the 4Matic system is in the G wagon, GLA, GLC, GLC Coupe, GLE, GLE Coupe, and GLS. It’s important to know if your vehicle has a 4Matic system as it can be crucial in tough terrains.

Do I have to engage the 4Matic system or is it always on?

Unlike the front or rear-wheel drive vehicles, the 4Matic system is always on. So, you don’t have to engage anything as the system will sense where the grip is lacking or a tight corner and engage the right wheels. So, the system is always ready to get to work.

Bottom line

Now that you understand what 4Matic means on Mercedes vehicles, pick a car that has the right system for your driving conditions. Both 4Matic AWD and 4WD drivetrains perform well in tough conditions. They ensure that you don’t lose traction and your car stays on the road.

But if the conditions are extreme, the 4WD system is the best. Then again, if the weather is always bad, such as icy conditions, the AWD system is the better choice. Note that Mercedes 4WD vehicles are much costlier than AWD vehicles. What’s more, the AWD vehicles use slightly more fuel than their 4WD counterparts.

what does 4matic mean on mercedes

Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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