Moments in time. A history of traction.

Dependability and trust are vital qualities in any relationship, and every vehicle. That’s why Mercedes-Benz has spent more than 100 years developing and improving its 4-wheel and all-wheel drive capabilities. With this impressive legacy as a foundation, 4MATIC vehicles now offer safety, stability and traction that you can rely on to get you to that moment and beyond.

1903

Paul Daimler creates initial designs for an AWD automobile.

1907

Daimler "Dernberg-Wagen" is the first AWD car for everyday use. It also features 4-wheel steering.

1931

The first-ever fully independent 4-wheel suspension is introduced with the Mercedes 170.

1951

Production begins for the Unimog, a 4WD truck for agricultural use. Still in production generations later, it’s ideally suited for farming and construction in rugged terrains.

1972

Development begins for the Gelåndewagen, a cross-country SUV suitable for industrial, municipal and military use. Its comfort and safety appeals to civilians, too.

1978

Introduction of the Antilock Braking System (ABS) lays the foundation for future electronic traction control systems.

1985

Mercedes-Benz engineers introduce a new passenger-car AWD drive system at the Frankfurt Motor Show called 4MATIC.

1987

The W124-series (E-Class) debuts the first 4MATIC models, featuring an electronically lockable differential (ESD).

1997

The M-Class SUV is launched with the first-ever 4-wheel Electronic Traction System (4-ETS) among its many innovations.

1999

4-ETS is added to the E-Class 4MATIC sedans and wagons.

2008

A new generation of 4MATIC achieves a system weight of well under 200 lbs. It appears first on the CL 550 Coupe.

2017

Today’s 4MATIC is available on the majority of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, SUVs and vans in Canada.