Popular But Wrong 2: Difference between 4x4 and AWD

To start with, there is no Mercedes Car model called Mercedes 4matic. This is another popular but
wrong impression that is so common to be ignored.

4matic is Mercedes' trademark name for its All Wheel Drive(AWD) Technology that comes as an option across several of its car brands from the C class through S class to SUVs and crossovers. Now, what is All Wheel Drive (AWD), and how does it differ from  Four Wheel Drive (4WD) and Four by Fours (4x4).

For an Intro, your car has an engine that sends power to the wheels to spin them. That"s how the car moves. Now, which set of wheels the engine turns for the car to move is what determines whether the car is a Front Wheel Drive, Rear (or back) Wheel Drive, Four by Four (4x4)(also called Four Wheel Drive) or All Wheel Drive (AWD). The most common among this are the Front Wheel Drive and the Rear Wheel Drive.
Front Wheel Drive
Just as the names imply, when the engine can only spin the set of wheels in front of the car, the car is a front wheel drive. And when it can only spin the two wheels at the back, it is a rear wheel drive.
But for 4x4 and AWD, the thing is a little different. One important thing to note about both 4x4 and AWD is that the vehicle has the ability to send its engine power to all four wheels (both the two at the front and the two at the back). To put the main difference between them as simple as possible, for 4x4s, the engine is constantly spinning all for wheels at all time, while for AWDs the engine has the ability to spin any combination of the wheels as it deems necessary to achieve maximum traction. That is, it can chose to spin one wheel from the front and one from the back if its determines that the other wheel from the front and the other from the back has lost traction (grip) as possible when you are on a bad road or when some liquid is spilled on a paved road.
Rear Wheel Drive
Though use of some technologies like Limited Slip Differential (LSD) and its variable have greatly narrowed the line between the 4x4 and the AWD cars, the AWD system gives better handling for high performance cars.

Some major car manufacturers have different trademark names they call their AWD sytems while others such as Toyota and Honda simply stick with the AWD badge and then improve that with another technology, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen notably has chosen other names to call them.
Mercedes Benz named hers 4matic, Audi named hers Quattro and the VW group (which Audi is also part of) sometimes call her 4motion


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