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New Mercedes A45 AMG has 105 years of 4WD on its side

Wed, 15 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0700

With the new Mercedes A45 AMG on the horizon – complete with 4WD – Mercedes chart the history of all wheel drive on their vehicles.

We tend to think of 4WD road cars as a modern innovation, and certainly very few 4WD road cars hit the road in a mainstream way much before the 1980s (the Jensen FF was hardly mainstream before someone points out that was in the 1960s).

But the history of 4WD goes back, certainly in the case of Mercedes, a surprising 105 years when Daimler built the Dernburg-Wagen, a 4WD vehicle that not only got all-wheel drive but all wheel steering too. It also managed ground clearance of 32 centimetres and came with a 6.8 litre 4-pot with a massive 35hp and was capable of carrying five passengers.

Forty-odd years later, Mercedes launched the incredible Unimog – a go anywhere vehicle par excellence – with four wheel drive, front and rear diff locks and the ability to crush Mars.

Perhaps the best know Mercedes 4WD is the G-Class (recently updated and still going strong, just like the Unimog) which was actually developed as a commercial vehicle – not a military one – with the ability to tactile 80 per cent gradients and manage a tilt angle of 54 degrees.

Move on to 1997 and Mercedes’ 4WD cars became more mainstream with the arrival of the ML Class since when 4WD has proliferated across much of Mercedes car and commercial range, and now extends to the new A-Class. And that’s the point of this Mercedes 4WD history.

The Mercedes A45 AMG will get 330bhp and 295lb/ft of torque and put that not inconsiderable power through a seven-speed dual clutch auto ‘box to all four wheels, but with a bias to the back under normal driving for that bit more fun.

So now you know; Mercedes knows what it’s doing with 4WD and the A45 AMG will be a little cracker.

 


By Cars UK