Mercedes-Benz is offering the latest generation of the 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system for the E‑Class, which is even more efficient, even lighter and even more compact than the all-wheel-drive technology fitted previously.

E-Class Estate

These advantages over the outgoing model translate into superior traction and fuel economy. Fuel consumption, for instance, is a mere between 0.2 and 0.6 litres more per hundred kilometres than on a comparable model with conventional drive.

There are five models in the E-Class 4MATIC range:

The latest-generation 4MATIC only adds 50 to 70 kilograms of extra weight (depending on model) and boasts a compact design that now takes up less space. As a result, no modifications to the bodyshell are required and it does not encroach on the front-passenger footwell. What’s more, the compact design helps to improve noise and vibration levels.

Transfer case integrated in 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission
The 4MATIC transfer case, featuring a planetary centre differential and a pair of bevel gears acting as a lateral output to the front axle, is integrated into the standard-specification 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The centre differential produces the 45:55 torque split between the front and rear axles that has the aforementioned positive impact on handling stability and traction. Further highlights of the powertrain include the lateral output to the front axle as well as the rear universal joint that is integrated into the power take-off’s output gear. This space-optimised design enables the front axle propshaft to be run very close to the transmission without having to modify the bodyshell in any way.

The higher efficiency of the 4MATIC drive system compared to the predecessor models is largely down to the omission of the gear stage for the transfer case’s power take-off as well as an improved oil supply, since the integral design means that transmission and transfer case share the same oil circuit. This sophisticated 4MATIC technology together with the weight saving result in a substantial reduction in fuel consumption.

ADAPTIVE BRAKE: state-of-the-art brake control system ensures shortest stopping distances – even in wintry road conditions
The ADAPTIVE BRAKE control system incorporates the basic anti-lock braking system (ABS), acceleration skid control (ASR) and yaw control functions. ABS and ASR record and control the driving dynamics along the vehicle’s longitudinal axis, while the yaw control looks after the lateral dynamics. If ADAPTIVE BRAKE diagnoses critical driving situations, precision application of the brakes and control of drive torque is used to maintain or restore traction and directional stability as far as is physically possible.

New additional braking functions make the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system even safer and more convenient. Hill-Start Assist prevents the vehicle from rolling in the opposite direction to that intended by the driver. The set of functions also includes brake priming: should the driver suddenly release the accelerator, the system prepares for possible panic braking by pressing the brake pads lightly against the brake discs. If the brakes are indeed applied with full force, the instantaneous build-up of pressure when the brake pedal is pressed shortens the stopping distance by a significant amount. Thanks to ADAPTIVE BRAKE’s ability to produce even the smallest brake pressures with great precision, it is possible to remove the film of water which forms on the brake discs in wet conditions by gently applying the brakes for a brief time. This shortens the brakes‘ response time when driving in the wet, thus reducing the stopping distance even further. This function is triggered automatically once a certain number of windscreen wiper cycles has been reached and the driver has not applied the brakes in the meantime.

The E-Class also comes with standard-fit adaptive brake lights. This system alerts the traffic behind to emergency braking by causing the brake lights to flash at high vehicle deceleration rates and, in the case of an emergency stop from a speed of over 70 km/h, automatically switching on the hazard warning lights once the vehicle comes to a halt.

As well as a tyre pressure loss warning system, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) also includes a vehicle/trailer stabilisation function as standard, which can defuse critical handling situations when towing a trailer at an incipient stage by applying the brakes as required. The permitted towing capacity is 2100 kilograms (braked).

Mercedes-Benz boasts over a century of experience with all-wheel drive
There is a reason why Mercedes engineers are so skilled in the development of groundbreaking all-wheel-drive concepts. The history of all-wheel drive at Mercedes-Benz dates all the way back to 1903, when Paul Daimler, the son of the company’s founder, established the basic principles for constructing vehicles with all-wheel drive. Since then, the accepted maxim has been that all-wheel drive is the best technology for making quicker and safer progress under the most adverse conditions. Over the course of the years it has been successfully employed in a variety of Mercedes-Benz models, including both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Some models, such as the G-Class and the Unimog, have attained legendary status all over the world. But all-wheel drive has its benefits in everyday operation on asphalt roads too, as demonstrated by the 4MATIC saloons from Mercedes-Benz. The innovative drive concept received its saloon premiere in the W 124 E-Class model series back in 1987. The 4ETS system made its debut aboard the M-Class in 1997, although development started back in 1993. Mercedes-Benz has therefore amassed a wealth of experience with these electronic control systems – more in fact than any other car manufacturer.

Source: Daimler AG