Different manufacturers have their own brand names for their all-wheel drive technologies. Audi has quattro, BMW talks xDrive, but for Mercedes-Benz it’s 4MATIC. Instead of sending power just to the two front (or two rear) wheels, 4MATIC delivers the engine’s power to all four via a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission, resulting in better grip and traction. Should any of the four wheels begin to slip, power will automatically shift to the opposite wheel. Even where three out of four wheels are affected the fourth wheel will adjust to support you.
There’s a slight price premium to be paid for 4MATIC and generally, all-wheel drive is marginally less fuel efficient than front or rear-drive only. Against that, intelligent all-wheel drive technologies like 4MATIC can significantly improve your chances of getting to your destination (and back) when there’s snow or ice around. 4MATIC can also be a boon in wet conditions, by preventing wheelspin on low-friction road surfaces. If you live in rural areas, up a hill or in a part of the country that sees a lot of snow, 4MATIC could make the difference between being marooned or carrying on with your normal routine.