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Our Five Favourite All-Wheel Drive Systems

All-wheel drive (AWD) has become increasingly popular in recent years, as car manufacturers develop the concept of four-wheel drive to better suit cars mainly used on the road. With AWD, power is delivered to all four wheels of your car, which gives you increased grip. This is particularly useful in the wet, but it gives you improved performance in all driving conditions, and on different surfaces. So, which carmaker has the best AWD system? 

1. Audi quattro

Probably the most famous AWD system out there, Audi have been developing their quattro formula since its debut in 1980. The system has been refined through motorsport engineering, helping it to deliver top performance in extreme conditions. This includes driving on ice and snow, where quattro delivers power to each individual wheel as and when it’s needed. The system is always engaged, and constant analysis of each wheel’s grip on slippery roads means 100% of the power can be sent to the front or rear wheels. There are slightly different versions of quattro across the Audi range - the mid-engined R8 requires a different configuration, for example - but each variation is highly sophisticated and uses advanced electronic control systems to keep you safer and more in control on the road. 

2. Jaguar Intelligent Driveline Dynamics

Jaguar has diversified in terms of the vehicles they offer, so their Intelligent Driveline Dynamics (IDD) is available across the British carmaker’s range. Whether you’re behind the wheel of a luxurious XF saloon, an F-Pace SUV or the sporty F-Type, IDD has a trump card up its sleeve. The pioneering system is predictive, not only reacting when grip is lost, but calculating if it’s about to be lost. When that happens, IDD transfers extra torque to the wheels with the best traction, allowing you to maintain control.

3. BMW xDrive

BMW’s xDrive system is another top-drawer example of AWD, using intelligent Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) sensors to monitor each wheel for the slightest loss of grip. When detected, an electronically controlled multi-disc clutch diverts power to the set of wheels with the best traction. Whether that’s the front or rear, it helps to pull you forward in the best possible way, and is quicker than hydraulically-operated systems. Having AWD permanently engaged usually raises the level of emissions a car produces, but BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies minimise this, along with the manufacturer’s TwinPower Turbo engines. 

4. Mercedes 4MATIC

Just like other AWD systems, Mercedes’ 4MATIC automatically adjusts to give you the best traction when you’re driving across different surfaces and through different conditions. When traction is lost from any of the four wheels, power is automatically sent to the opposite wheel, and 4MATIC still sends power to the fourth wheel if the other three are losing grip. The Mercedes system works in tandem with other functions such as antilock braking, electronic stability and traction control, to deliver the optimum performance to each wheel at all times. 


Being part of the same company, Volkswagen’s AWD offering has benefitted from the knowledge gained through Audi’s quattro system over the years. 4MOTION also works alongside other electronic safety systems, reacting to any loss of grip within milliseconds thanks to control units linked to your car’s dynamic sensors, engine management system and gearbox. This gives you an almost instant response to correct any problems that arise, giving you greater performance through corners or during manoeuvres. 

If you’re looking for a new or used car with plenty of AWD prowess, browse the range today.