Volkswagen’s 4MOTION AWD Technology
Automakers sometimes give unique names to their all-wheel drive (AWD) systems as a way to distinguish them from the pack. Volkswagen cleverly calls theirs 4MOTION, and you may be wondering what sorts of benefits you’d get with this particular system. AWD provides more traction than two-wheel drive, of course, but it’s also more efficient and more responsive than four-wheel drive, which has both axles working constantly, with the same amount of power (or torque) given to each wheel at all times. AWD, with its ability to sense slippage (on sandy, wet, or icy roads), continuously alters the torque to the wheels, sending it to the wheel(s) with the best grip on the drive surface.
What is 4MOTION AWD Technology?
4MOTION is VWs own advanced AWD system that deliberately allocates power to the vehicle’s wheels for the best possible traction varied conditions. Power is distributed between the front and rear axles on a continuously variable basis via a multi-plate clutch. Under normal circumstances, power would be transmitted to the front axle to save energy, effectively making the VW a front-wheel-drive vehicle in that situation. But when a loss of traction is detected by 4MOTION’s sophisticated sensors, the rear axle becomes activated in a fraction of a second to supply traction back there. The distribution of torque to each of the four wheels becomes active before wheelspin occurs, and as a result, there’s really no loss of traction as there is no fixed distribution of power. Instead, power distribution is constantly adjusted to actual driving conditions. In the event that a wheel does slip, though, power will be transmitted to that wheel before actual slippage occurs.
Which VWs Have It?
The 4MOTION system is available for the Arteon, Tiguan, Atlas, and Golf SportWagen models, while it’s standard on the Golf R and Golf Alltrack. The system for each of these vehicles manages power distribution using something called electro-hydraulic coupling and features state-of-the-art systems for anti-lock braking, electronic stability, and traction control. Through each of these, the vehicle’s intelligent sensors are able to constantly interpret and respond to various driving conditions. With the Atlas, a 4MOTION Active Control system lets the driver manually select the mode for dry, rainy, snowy, or rough driving conditions. The Tiguan offers something similar, with the modes being On-Road, Snow, Off-Road, and Off-Road Custom.
Overall Benefits of 4MOTION AWD
Those who are living in New England where the winters can be unforgiving will certainly find that a 4MOTION-equipped VW will maintain the best control when conditions become slick. As mentioned above, unlike many vehicles that use part-time AWD technology, 4MOTION is always engaged. Over the years, 4MOTION has been specially tuned by elite engineers so that their default programming is to send 90 percent of engine power to the front axle and 10 percent to the rear wheels for superior handling akin to that of front-wheel drive vehicles. It also allows for sharper handling overall. For example, with the Arteon, 4MOTION combines with the XDS cross-differential lock for both axles. During cornering, the XDS is able to apply braking pressure to the inside wheels in an effort to slow them down so you can steer the car more effectively. This feature is found on many high-end sports cars because it comes in handy during track driving.