The first all-wheel-drive car for everyday use was built by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) in 1907. The “Dernburg-Wagen” even featured all-wheel steering. It was named after the then Secretary of State of the Colonial Office, Bernhard Dernburg, who clocked up a high mileage in the vehicle in Africa in 1908.
In fact the all-wheel-drive history of the company began slightly earlier, in 1903, when Paul Daimler laid the foundations for this technology with his first initial design. The first all-wheel-drive vehicle appeared in 1904; it was quickly followed by others. Since then, the watchword has been that all-wheel drive is the best technology when it comes to traction and safe, assured progress. Over the decades it has been successfully used in all kinds of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, both passenger cars and commercial vehicles, and from vans to heavy-duty trucks. Some of these models, for example the G-Class or the Unimog, have gained a legendary worldwide reputation, and are to be found virtually everywhere on earth. All-wheel drive also scores heavily in day-to-day driving on normal roads, however, as the Mercedes-Benz saloons with 4MATIC demonstrate.
Source: Daimler AG