What’s the difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive?
There are different drivetrains being produced out there today. Most of the vehicles are produced as the front wheel drive system to reduce the production costs as generally the engines placed in the front. Sports cars, on the other hand, are produced as rear wheel drive to prevent torque losses during acceleration.
However, today, four-wheel drive systems are getting more popular over rear wheel drivetrains as they are capable of delivering maximum efficiency, safety, and comfort.
As a four-wheel system tends to better handling than a rear drive system, it delivers more fuel economy.
However, different car manufacturers have their own different improvements on four-wheel systems. For instance, although they have a similar architect on principle, BMW, has four-wheel drive unit called x-drive, which based on more electronic controls than AUDI’s Quattro four-wheel unit, which relies on more mechanical components.
Here we discuss the difference between 4WD and AWD which has different logic in theory. A 4WD uses only the rear wheels during peacetimes, under normal road conditions. However when the things get rough, and all-wheel traction needed, the driver needs to activate the system manually by a button or lever.
On the other hand, AWD, which is mostly used one on modern cars and SUVs today, keeps engaging all the wheels by adjusting the required torque distribution to the required wheels, with required amounts, by a computer-operated system.
During a highway drive, it works as sending most of the power to the rear wheels for maximum fuel efficiency. When the drive conditions changed, such as on a snowy or rainy road, the system adapts itself to the road conditions by an instant distribution of the torque to the wheels simultaneously to deliver maximum handling and performance and prevent spinning.
Here is a detailed video explanation of how the system works.