Shortly after the Europe-wide market launch of the C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has announced a further technical refinement in the new model series, namely 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive. This further enhanced system will be available for order and delivery in the six-cylinder C 280, C 350 and C 320 CDI models from the summer of 2007. With a total of 49 4MATIC models, Mercedes-Benz will then have the widest all-wheel-drive range among all premium brands.
The latest-generation Mercedes all-wheel-drive system improves on the previous 4MATIC with greater efficiency, a lower weight and more compact dimensions. These advantages are reflected in a more favourable fuel consumption and even better traction: the new C 280 4MATIC with its 170 kW/231 hp six-cylinder engine consumes 9.6 litres of premium petrol per 100 kilometres, and is therefore more economical than its predecessor by 0.2 litres. For the first time in the C-Class, a diesel model with all-wheel drive also becomes available now: the new C 320 CDI 4MATIC has an output of 165 kW/224 hp and consumes 7.7 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres.
The 4MATIC saloons have the same, extensive safety and comfort features as the rear-wheel drive models. The AGILITY CONTROL package with selective damper control is standard equipment, as are seven airbags, crash-responsive head restraints, automatic climate control and light-alloy wheels. The seven-speed automatic transmission7G-TRONIC, which Mercedes-Benz has developed further specifically for the all-wheel-drive models, is also on board.
The 4MATIC system is permanently active, and therefore operates with no lag time, assisting the driver in unfavourable weather conditions such as rain, ice or snow, and enabling him to manage critical situations with confidence. The centrepiece of the Mercedes all-wheel-drive system is a transfer case with a centre differential, which is integrated into the seven-speed automatic transmission. From here the torque is distributed to the front and rear axles in a 45 :55 split. A newly developed multi-disc clutch on the centre differential transfers the engine power to all four wheels with a basic locking force of 50 newton metres between the front and rear axles, which means that the new C-Class moves off even more easily on slippery road surfaces, and has even more stable handling than the preceding 4MATIC models.
As a standard feature, Mercedes-Benz combines this permanent all-wheel-drive system with the Electronic Stability Program ESP® and the traction system 4ETS, which selectively brakes wheels at the onset of spin and increases the torque at the wheels which still have good traction. The system uses sensor signals to meter the automatic braking impulses which improve traction on slippery surfaces and increase stability during critical driving manoeuvres. As a result, 4ETS achieves the same effect as conventional differential locks while offering appreciably more comfort than other all-wheel-drive cars.
The 4MATIC models in the new C-Class at a glance:
at 1600-2800 rpm
at 2500-5000 rpm
at 2400-5000 rpm
With a total of 49 4MATIC variants in seven model series, Mercedes-Benz will shortly have the widest range of all-wheel-drive cars in the premium segment.