1. 4MATIC optionally available for six-cylinder petrol models
2. Newly developed McPherson front suspension
3. Body level raised by ten millimetres
In the C-Class, 4MATIC is offered as an option for the six-cylinder C 240 and C 320. The C 240 4MATIC (125 kW/170 hp) and C 320 4MATIC (160 kW/218 hp) are available in both Saloon and Estate versions.
The three-link front axle is replaced on the C-Class 4MATIC models with a McPherson axle featuring redesigned lower wishbones of forged steel and forged steering knuckles. The level of the body at the front axle has been raised by ten millimetres, in order to provide greater ground clearance for the 4MATIC models. The precise rack-and-pinion steering system remains largely unchanged, except that the steering gear has been moved further back, which meant that the shape and length of the track rods had to be modified.
At the rear, the C-Class 4MATIC models are fitted with the proven, patented multi-link independent suspension, which continues to provide unsurpassed safety, dynamics and comfort.
The C 230 4MATIC and C 320 4MATIC are built by Mercedes-Benz at its Bremen plant. Right from the bodyshell stage, these models have to be processed separately, since the four-wheel drive system requires various modifications to the body structure. For example:
1. The front side members have been cut away to make room for the front axle shafts. The openings incorporate additional reinforcements.
2. The spring strut brackets have been reinforced and matched to the special 4MATIC spring struts.
3. The integral subframe for the engine, transmission and front axle has a new, 4WD-matched design. The modifications to the integral subframe vis-à-vis the rear-wheel drive models were necessitated by the changed position of the wishbones, the anti-roll bar and the steering, as well as the additional space required for the front axle shafts. On the 4MATIC models the integral subframe is made of sheet steel.
4. A connecting plate supports the rear engine cross-member between the transmission tunnel and the main floor.
E-Class: 4MATIC available from autumn 2003
Four-wheel drive combined for the first time with Sensotronic Brake Control
Eight-cylinder model equipped as standard with AIRMATIC DC air suspension
From autumn this year, full-time four-wheel drive will become available as an option for the new E-Class too, in combination with high-performance six- and eight-cylinder petrol engines. The 4MATIC models will comprise Saloon and Estate ver-sions of the E 240 4MATIC (130 kW/177 hp), the E 320 4MATIC (165 kW/224 hp) and the E 500 4MATIC (225 kW/306 hp).
In addition to perfectly matched ESP® and 4ETS, the four-wheel drive E-Class models offer a further technical highlight: the electro-hydraulic brake system SBC™. Mercedes-Benz is the first automotive brand in the world to offer this system. The driver's brake commands are transmitted electronically to a powerful microprocessor, which simultaneously processes the ESP® system's sensor-derived data about the current operating status of the vehicle and then calculates the ideal amount of braking pressure to be applied to each wheel. This takes place with split-second speed and, thanks to the high-pressure reservoir, more quickly and precisely than with a conventional brake system.
The system recognizes a quick switch by the driver from the accelerator to the brake pedal as an early indication of an emergency situation and with the aid of the high-pressure reservoir automatically increases the pressure in the brake lines, while at the same time the brake pads are moved up to the brake discs so that they can get a tight grip the moment the driver steps on the brake pedal. The result is shorter stopping distances in an emergency braking situation.
Another feature of SBC™ is variable brake pressure distribution, which offers greater safety when braking on corners, while the system's highly dynamic and precise operation also enhances the performance of Brake Assist, the Electronic Stability Program ESP® and 4MATIC. The braking pulses can thus be even more finely controlled and rapidly applied.
Self-leveling air suspension standard on Estate models
The 4MATIC Estate models of the new E-Class are equipped as standard with a full air suspension system, which replaces the previous hydropneumatic system. This system is load-adaptive and self-leveling, which means that spring travel at the rear axle always remains the same regardless of load, thus ensuring maximum ride comfort at all times.
The full air suspension system AIRMATIC DC, which continuously adapts both the springing and the damping rate at the front and rear axles to the current operating situation, is optionally available for all 4MATIC models.
4MATIC necessitated elaborate modifications to the bodyshell and front axle of the E-Class:
The front side members and the reinforcements in the pedal floor area have been redesigned.
The side members have been cut away to make room for the front axle shafts. In the area of the transmission tunnel, some sheet metal segments have been redesigned: the 4MATIC models feature a connecting plate supporting the rear engine cross-member between the transmission tunnel and the main floor and side member reinforcements in the area of the rear connecting point of the integral subframe.
At the front axle, the anti-roll bar, the steering and the front engine mount have been relocated. The four-link front axle has been replaced on the 4MATIC models with a dual-wishbone system. The integral subframe is made of sheet steel.
The level of the body has been raised by ten millimeters in order to provide more ground clearance on the 4MATIC versions of the new E-Class.
Outstanding stability and traction with 4MATIC
AIRMATIC air suspension for top-class ride comfort
New front suspension with dual wishbones and anti-roll bar
Since autumn 2002, 4MATIC full-time four-wheel drive has been available for certain six and eight-cylinder versions of the S-Class. These are the S 350 with further improved V6 engine developing 180 kW/245 hp (available with 4MATIC from January 2003), the S 430 (205 kW/279 hp) with high-torque eight-cylinder engine and the S 500 (225 kW/306 hp) with powerful and refined V8 engine.
The ride comfort of these 4MATIC saloons is up to the customary high standards of the S-Class, thanks in particular to the AIRMATIC air suspension, which is standard on the four-wheel drive models too. As on the C-Class, to cater for four-wheel drive it was necessary to redesign the front axle, replacing the four-link system with a dual-wishbone axle with 4WD-matched kinematics. The precise rack-and-pinion steering system remains largely unchanged, except that the steering gear has been moved further back. At the rear, the S-Class 4MATIC models are fitted with the proven, patented multi-link independent suspension.
Changes to the body of the 4MATIC models are principally focused on the front end and on the main floor in the area of the transmission tunnel:
The front side members have been cut away to make room for the front axle shafts. The openings incorporate additional reinforcements.
The integral subframe, on which the engine, transmission and front axle are mounted, has been modified to provide clearance for the axle shafts. The steering gear is fitted at the rear.
The transmission tunnel has been enlarged to accommodate the transfer case and the front axle shafts.
The level of the body at the front and rear axle has been raised by five millimetres in order to provide more ground clearance.
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport