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What Is 4Matic in a Mercedes? Pros, Cons & FAQ

mercedes a class a200 car

If you’re new to the Mercedes world, it can be confusing when people start throwing around Mercedes-specific lingo. One great example of a term that simply doesn’t apply to any non-Mercedes vehicle is 4Matic. However, if you’re driving a modern Mercedes vehicle, it does have a 4Matic system.

But what does that even mean, and why does Mercedes put it on all their vehicles? 4Matic is Mercedes version of all-wheel drive that they install on their cars. It’s a great feature in Mercedes vehicles, and to help you understand what it is and what it does, we came up with this guide to break everything down for you in easy-to-understand terms.

divider 4 How Does It Work?

4Matic is essentially Mercedes’ version of all-wheel drive. But while that’s a great basic understanding of 4Matic, it doesn’t quite cover how it’s different. But to understand that, we need to understand how all-wheel drive works in the first place.

All-wheel drive vehicles have three differentials to deliver power to the wheels. There’s a differential on both the front and rear axles and in the middle of the vehicle that splits and diverts the right amount of power to each axle.

4Matic works the same way, except it uses technology to actively monitor each wheel, and it uses these readings to determine how much power to diver to each axle at any given moment. This added benefit ensures 4Matic vehicles get even better traction when a specific wheel starts to slip.

Essentially, 4Matic vehicles recognize when a specific wheel starts to lose traction, and then it makes the necessary adjustments to the power delivery to get your vehicle back on track.

mercedes gls
Photo Credit By: ArtisticOperations, Pixabay

What Are the Different Types of 4Matic?

Mercedes-Benz has two types of 4Matic systems you should know about. The First time is their 4Matic Variable All-Wheel Drive system. This system doesn’t use the 4Matic technology all the time, but if the vehicle detects less-than-ideal road conditions, it’ll switch to an all-wheel drive system.

The 4Matic Variable system allows the driver to get all the advantages of an all-wheel drive system when they need it but maintain the optimal fuel efficiency of the vehicle when they don’t. With a variable 4Matic system, you do not need to manually activate the system to turn it on.

The second type of 4Matic system is the 4Matic Permanent All-Wheel Drive system. As the name implies, it runs with an all-wheel drive system all the time. However, while the system is always on, it will change the power output to each wheel to adjust for different driving conditions.

Finally, both the variable and permanent systems can run with an AMG Performance 4Matic system. They work the same way, but they provide a performance boost for a little extra power and control when you need it most.

Where Is It Used?

4Matic is a Mercedes-Benz exclusive feature, and as such, you can only find this feature in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Mercedes first released the feature in 1987, but since then, it’s undergone a lot of technological changes.

Not only that, but it’s become more and more popular, and today you can find 4Matic in almost every Mercedes vehicle. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gasoline, diesel, hybrid, or electric vehicle, if it’s a Mercedes, it probably has 4Matic.

The only difference you need to keep an eye out for is whether the vehicle has a variable or permanent 4Matic system and whether it has the performance version.

mercedes benz gle
Photo Credit By: jan3933, Pixabay

Advantages of 4Matic

Compared to a traditional all-wheel drive system, the Mercedes 4Matic system’s advantages come from the advanced technologies in the system. 4Matic works by constantly monitoring the speed of each wheel, and if it notices one of them losing traction and starting to slip, it adjusts.

These adjustments work to give your vehicle the best possible traction regardless of road conditions. Not only does 4Matic work when you’re trying to accelerate, but it also works while you’re braking. It’s a great safety feature that helps keep your vehicle on the road no matter what’s going on.

Disadvantages of 4Matic

Compared to other all-wheel drive vehicles, there’s really no disadvantage to a 4Matic vehicle. However, compared to traditional front-wheel or rear-wheel drive vehicles, vehicles with a permanent 4Matic system will have a slight drop in fuel efficiency.

But with all the other features Mercedes uses, they more than make up for the slight drop in fuel efficiency on their permanent 4Matic systems.

divider 1 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

4Matic can seem like a pretty complicated system when you’re first figuring it out, and it’s not unusual to have a few questions. We understand, and it’s why we wanted to address some of the most frequently asked questions for you here.

Are 4Matic and All-Wheel Drive the Same Thing?

While 4Matic and all-wheel drive are extremely similar, they’re not the same thing. All-wheel drive delivers consistent power to all four wheels, and that power output doesn’t change with road conditions. 4Matic adjusts to the exact conditions your vehicle is experiencing, giving you a more reliable response than traditional all-wheel drive.

mercedes benz e class
Photo Credit By: Capritography, Pixabay

Does 4Matic Help With Snow?

Yes! 4Matic helps you drive your Mercedes in the snow much the same way a four-wheel drive system would work. As soon as one wheel starts to slip, it adjusts the power output to help you regain traction and keep moving.

Can You Turn 4Matic Off?

No. If you have a variable 4Matic system, it will turn on and off on its own, and if you have a permanent 4Matic system, it is always on while you’re driving.

Mercedes Benz S Class on autumn leaves
Image Credit: Pexels, Pixabay

A Quick Reference Guide

Vehicles With Variable 4Matic Vehicles With Permanent 4Matic
CLA Coupe C-Class Sedan
GLA SUV E-Class Sedan
S-Class Sedan
C-Class Coupe
CLS Coupe
GLE Coupe

car and road divider Conclusion

When you get behind the wheel of a Mercedes, you’re getting top-of-the-line technology inside the cab, under the hood, and even under the vehicle! Mercedes doesn’t cut corners with their lineup, even if it’s in an area you might not notice right away.

4Matic is a great example of this. While they could simply equip all of their vehicles with all-wheel drive, their 4Matic system takes things to the next level. It’s constantly monitoring your performance and adjusting outputs to help you get the most out of your vehicle. In short, it’s Mercedes in a nutshell.

Featured Image Credit: Mikes-Photography, Pixabay


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